Facilitators are neutrals who help a group work together more effectively. They may work with small groups within an organization, or with representatives of different organizations who are working together in a collaborative or consensus-building process. The facilitator may be internal or external (that is, brought in from an outside organization). Either way, he or she must be acceptable to all members of the group. Facilitators are process leaders only -- they have no decision-making authority, nor do they contribute to the substance of the discussion. The facilitator's job is to:

  • lead the group process;
  • help improve the group's communication,
  • help them examine and solve problems, and
  • help them make decisions.[1]

Good facilitators can help groups stay on task, be more creative, efficient, and productive than they would be without such help.

For more information on what facilitators do, see the more extensive article on facilitation in the "intervention" section of the knowledge base. 

By Brad Spangler

Brad Spangler is an Associate at Resolve in Washington, D.C. His primary area of interest is public policy dispute resolution. Brad Spangler is a contributor to Beyond Intractability which is an online “encyclopedia” compiling easy-to-understand essays on almost 400 topics which explain the dynamics of conflict along with available options for promoting more constructive approaches.