Using Buzz Groups and Syndicates in Training Programmes

Buzz Groups

A buzz group can allow an individual to retain anonymity in the group, since the spokesman of the buzz group will express the view of group instead of individual. However an individual can also express a personal view if he/she wishes do so. There can be use of the buzz group method with as few as six, sending into two buzz groups of three people. This approach was used following the first activity of a training programme  in which it is necessary to encourage the participants to involve themselves in open discussion at an early stage.

During the full group discussion that followed, comments were made on group and individual performance that would have been much less early if the full group had entered discussion immediately after the activity. In fact, the immediate full group discussion approach had been the norm until that particular course and buzz groups were introduced because of the group inhibitions experienced.


Grouping the participants of different background usually forms the syndicates. A syndicate may consist of six or seven participants. By following this method there can be efficient performance of work in small groups to achieve required purpose in time. In this method there is correct implementation & much more learning. The essence of this method is that participants learn from each other and contribute their own experience to the maximum extent. This method is suitable for training and development of executives with considerable experience.

The participants are divided into different groups consisting of about ten participants. These groups are called syndicates. Each syndicate functions as a team to represent various functional and interest areas. The syndicates are given assignments to be finished with a report. By rotation each member of the syndicate becomes the leader. Each syndicate is placed under a member of the training staff. The report submitted by one syndicate is circulated to other syndicates for critical evaluation. The chairman of each syndicate is required to present the view of his team on the task assigned to them at a joint session of all the groups.

Advantages: The advantage of this method is that the analysis & ideas are tested in the small groups for their validity before they are presented before the whole class. For the practicing managers this method is helpful to have new concepts, techniques & information. Working in syndicate involves interaction over an extended period of time and living together. If the syndicate is not strutured properly it lead to lot of waste and cause frustration. The role of directive staff by this method is very crucial. This method enables to participants to acquire proper perspective on the related job in relation to the activities in other areas. The availability of outside exports can help supplement the work in syndicates.

Disadvantages: The negligence of the directing staff may convert the syndicate method to an exercise in futility. Due to improper structure of syndicate, there may be wastage of time and frustration for the participants. This method may lead to dispute due to difference in opinion of the participants.

Role of Trainer: In this method the role of a trainer is not to participate directly in the group his role is quiet inactive during the training session where he is resource person. He may decide on the group composition, the topics to be assigned to the group and to give attention towards the confused participants. The syndicate method includes the division of course members into a number of smaller groups called syndicates for the purpose of considering a case study for the problem solving activity. Each group is given the same problem to solve. Alternatively each group may be given different problem. The trainer acts as the adjudicator in case of difference between the groups. Another approach is to balance the different views expressed to a common conclusion.