Meetings in organisations are a common object of popular frustration. They are often run by managers who picked up their meeting skills from their superiors a generation previously, thus perpetuating obsolescent practices unsuited to today’s world of work. This paper reports on a research-based intervention effort to improve organisational meetings. It reconceptualises classical meeting management, offering instead the practice of ‘meeting facilitation’: a more active and supportive approach, in which the manager-as-facilitator guides and directs conversations in meetings towards a positive goal. To test this reconceptualisation in a live experiment intended to improve real meetings, we conducted brief training of 103 managers in meeting facilitation in two organisations in Denmark. A pre- and post-intervention survey of a thousand employees who regularly participated in these managers’ meetings showed that in the employees’ judgement, there were significant improvements in their managers’ competencies in both new meeting facilitation and classical meeting management, whereas other meeting outcomes resisted change.
International Journal of Management Practice, 2014, Vol 7, Issue 1, p. 70-87