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How can I use SYMLOG? What is SYMLOG Certification?
How can I use SYMLOG? What is SYMLOG Certification?

SYMLOG is available directly from the SYMLOG Consulting Group and through an international network of Certified SYMLOG Consultants.

Each of these consultants has completed the SYMLOG Certification Program and has demonstrated a working knowledge of SYMLOG theory and methods.

However, not all consultants have had as much experience as others or specialize in particular applications. Please contact us for a listing of experienced specialists available.

For further information please contact The SYMLOG Consulting Group.

Does SYMLOG address issues of diversity, cross-cultural applications or conflict resolution?
Does SYMLOG address issues of diversity, cross-cultural applications or conflict resolution?

SYMLOG is an exceptionally powerful method for working with diverse groups.

Diversity comes in many forms, e.g., race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs, work experience, professional affiliation, et cetera. Such differences can be divisive in many situations. At a deeper level, every group can be seen as diverse in terms of interpersonal dynamics. Every individual is unique and has his or her own value orientation, which may polarize or conflict with that of others in the group even if other factors like sex, race, ethnicity, or professional affiliation are all very similar.

If the objective is to help integrate and unify diverse groups to work well and effectively together then SYMLOG is an ideal method.

SYMLOG has been translated and used in seventeen languages in over sixty countries. It is especially well suited for use in cross-cultural settings involving different languages, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, and occupations. Since it is a values-based approach to improvement and increased effectiveness, it cuts through superficial differences and addresses deeper (and universal) concerns which tend to unify or polarize individuals, groups, and organizations.

SYMLOG helps people discover their commonality and learn to work more effectively together.

What are some brief examples of how SYMLOG has been used and by whom?
What are some brief examples of how SYMLOG has been used and by whom?

SYMLOG has been used in a remarkable variety of situations, for example, as:

• an ongoing method for leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership
• a feedback system to strengthen the performance of Olympic Teams in Europe
• the method of choice to train over 1000 Team Leaders within Microsoft® Corporation
• a method to demonstrate why superior U.S. Navy Commands are, in fact, superior
• an approach used by mediators to reconcile political differences in South Africa
• a method for reducing human error and increasing safety in nuclear plants in various countries

In addition, SYMLOG has been used to conduct production improvement programs and to enhance leadership and teamwork in Mercedes Benz in South Africa, BASF and IBM in Germany, and Microsoft in China.

It has also been used to:

• help privatize public organizations in Thailand
• conduct research on effective management in Japan
• screen candidates for the Naval Academy in Portugal
• educate MBA students in Australia and the Philippines
• relate Competency Models to effective leadership in Europe
• produce effective teamwork in Siemens in The Netherlands
• produce more effective leaders in a Casino/Resort in Malaysia
• reveal a profile for effective leadership in the U.S. Marine Corps
• train federal executives for senior leadership positions in Canada
• build effective teamwork in Police Departments in the United States
• identify a profile of effective cross-cultural team leaders in the European Union
• improve leadership and management performance in the oil industry in Venezuela
• improve the bottom line performance of teams in the Citibank Corporation worldwide
• display in graphical form the basis of Katzenbach and Smith's The Wisdom of Teams
• illustrate the intuitive appeal of Margaret Wheatley's Leadership and the New Science
• develop a profile related to Stephen Covey's Principle Centered Leadership and Seven Habits of Effective People
• formulate a profile of effective leadership for the ASEAN region including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

What are the benefits of using SYMLOG?
What are the benefits of using SYMLOG?

The primary advantage in using SYMLOG is its compactness and ease of use. The primary benefit of SYMLOG is the immediate relevance and clarity of the information provided in the feedback. The feedback is precise, targeted, and accurate. Since the method is so sound, it provides confidence in the validity and reliability of the feedback.

If the goal in using SYMLOG is to improve individual, team, and/or organizational effectiveness participants can (1) decide what and how to change their behavior, and (2) know the consequences of not changing. SYMLOG feedback provides a comprehensive written and graphic assessment of the current state of value conflicts and gives a detailed guide as to what improvements are required to increase effectiveness. Practical benefits include the following.

For Leadership Development, SYMLOG enables individuals to:

• Recognize the intended and unintended consequences of their behavior by receiving feedback about their impact on the people with whom they work and interact
• Learn and practice how to significantly improve their leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal effectiveness
• Substantially improve personal performance with each member of their group or team

For Teamwork Development, SYMLOG enables group members to:

• Gain a working understanding of their group's dynamics, areas of existing and potential conflict, and the importance of individual differences as sources of strength in the group
• Develop a shared vision and comprehensive strategy for integrating individual strengths, resolving conflicts, fostering teamwork, and increasing productivity
• Focus on the data and changing the present configuration of the data, rather than the more threatening and counterproductive activity of focusing on changing each other
• See the structural and system forces influencing behavior rather than focusing on personality as the only or prime determinant
• Form a shared "picture" of the relationships within a group allowing the group to change the way it works together to be more effective

For Organizations, SYMLOG enables senior executives and managers to:

• Discover how their organizational culture, policies, procedures, and reward systems contribute to, or interfere with, their organization's overall effectiveness
• Surface and deal directly with the organizational issues that interfere with collaboration and teamwork
• Generate and align organizational strategies to meet future needs and desired goals
• Determine changes needed to increase individual commitment, blend management needs with effective group performance, and focus corporate action on continuous improvement
• Take quick and repeated measures of the shifting culture of an organization in periods of rapid change and precisely guide the application and results of training efforts to reinforce the corporate mission

What are the major applications for SYMLOG?
What are the major applications for SYMLOG?

SYMLOG is currently being used in over thirty countries in twelve languages. It is used in a wide variety of applications including:

• Coaching
Leadership Training and Development
Team Building/Teamwork Effectiveness
Organization Development
• Assessment of Organizational Cultures and Teams
• Cross-functional Team Development
• Leading and Managing Diverse Work Forces
• Re-engineering / Organizational Transformation
• Cross-cultural Work Force Integration
• Strategic Planning
• Program Evaluation
• Market Research and Customer Relations
• Management/Leadership Selection and Assessment
• Merger Integration

What is the research base for SYMLOG and what publications are available?
What is the research base for SYMLOG and what publications are available?

We now have over 1,000,000 SYMLOG profiles in our research data bank. Most of these profiles are from work done in North America and conducted in the English language. However, the research base is continually enriched from work underway in seventeen languages in over sixty countries.

Most current research focuses on effective leadership, teamwork, and organization development. However, a very broad range of research is ongoing and may be of interest to you. Please click here to see an annotated bibliography of publications.

Other publications can be ordered from the SYMLOG Consulting Group. Please see our available publications under the "Products" menu above for more information.

What is the SYMLOG Consulting Group?
What is the SYMLOG Consulting Group?

The SYMLOG Consulting Group (SCG) is an organization devoted to the ongoing development and use of SYMLOG in applied and academic settings. Currently located in San Diego, California, it has offices/representatives covering thirty countries, on six continents.

At least fifty percent of its resources are devoted to maintaining a worldwide cross-cultural research and development capability. This research guides the development of materials and methods for applications and ensures that the most up-to-date designs are available to SYMLOG Practitioners and to those with whom they work.

SCG was formed in 1983 by Robert J. Koenigs and Margaret A. Cowen in direct relationship with the author and inventor of SYMLOG, Robert Freed Bales, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University. Dr. Koenigs worked closely with Professor Bales as a faculty member at Harvard and was among the first professionals to use SYMLOG in applied settings outside of the laboratory where it was developed. Dr. Cowen has been an integral part of the transition from laboratory to practical applications and is responsible for many of the foundation pieces which make up the SYMLOG system today.

SCG maintains a professional staff to coordinate and provide support services to an international network of Certified SYMLOG Consultants. Please feel free to contact us at anytime. For contact information, click here.

What does 'Multiple Levels' mean and why does this make SYMLOG so unique and powerful?
What does 'Multiple Levels' mean and why does this make SYMLOG so unique and powerful?

The "Multiple Levels" contained in the SYMLOG acronym (A SYstem for the Multiple Level Observation of Groups) is one of its greatest strengths. Much like a microscope (which can focus at different levels of magnification), SYMLOG allows the user to shift focus regarding different "levels" of interest. For example, it applies to observed behavior (verbal and non-verbal levels) and values shown (or desired by) individuals, groups, organizations, and societies. Hence, SYMLOG is unique in that it provides one instrument which can focus only on one specific "level" of interest, or if required, simultaneously focus on several " levels" of interest. But, why is this important?

Consider, for example, leadership training. Almost all leadership training programs focus on the individual leader and try to improve the individual to be more effective. However, it is very clear that this individual leader is working in a context of a real group of other people. The dynamics of this real group and the relationships among the members has a profound influence on the behavior and effectiveness of the leader. SYMLOG allows for a simultaneous analysis of the group situation which can help guide the individual leadership development. But even this is not fully satisfactory.

Every group is situated in a context of other groups which make up an organization which is part of a broader society. The norms and culture of the organization dramatically influences group behavior which also influences individual behavior. In other words, and in this example, leadership occurs in the context of: (level 1) the individual who works in (level 2) a group which is part of (level 3) an organization with its own component parts, which is embedded in (level 4) a larger society. Each of these four "levels" is part of an interdependent "system" of relationships which influences, in this case, leadership development. Unlike any other instrument available worldwide, SYMLOG makes it possible to assess these "multiple levels" and guide development activities with a "picture" of the whole system at one time. When used appropriately, this information is invaluable for improving individual, group, and organizational effectiveness.

How much does it cost to use SYMLOG?
How much does it cost to use SYMLOG?

Costs are tied directly to the price of computer-generated reports and vary depending on the circumstances (e.g., what data is collected and what reports are ordered).

The SYMLOG Consulting Group has standard packages for use with Individual Leadership Development, Teambuilding, and Organization Culture Assessment which contain standard pricing.

In general, costs for these packages are held to a minimum and tend to be moderately priced in line with other professional assessment and feedback instruments. Feedback to a team generally varies considerably depending on the amount (if any) of personal feedback that is included along with the overall team assessment. These costs are kept low because they involve only thoroughly tested and proven materials and designs which can be used "off the shelf" and require no custom modifications. The feedback is sufficient in scope and depth to sustain review over a period of several days if desired. Repeated measures are generally less expensive and volume discounts are available.

It is possible to customize SYMLOG applications for particular settings and situations. These custom programs require professional design and are somewhat more expensive. Custom programs are handled on a case-by-case basis. All applications require the involvement of a Certified SYMLOG Consultant whose daily or contract fees vary depending on specialties and expertise and other program elements.

Has the 'MEP' (size and/or location) changed even slightly over the last 5 or 10 years?
Has the 'internationalization' of the population of SYMLOG raters altered the definition of 'MEP'?
Has the 'MEP' (size and/or location) changed even slightly over the last 5 or 10 years?
Has the 'internationalization' of the population of SYMLOG raters altered the definition of 'MEP'?

The SYMLOG "Most Effective Profile" (MEP) is a universal standard used to estimate the perceived and actual effectiveness of leaders, members, teams, and organizational cultures worldwide. As hard as we have searched, the empirical findings associated with this profile have not changed significantly in twenty five years.

When we began the original research in 1983 we did not have an MEP. We asked the first 180 people in our very heterogeneous sample about their view. At that point, we had the empirical MEP from 180 people. Of course, we were not too confident with this measure and continued to collect data.

In 1987 we had expanded the number of observations to about 4000 people from many cultures and countries. What we found is that we needed to adjust the normative profile on the bargraph by at most 1 or 2 x's given the new information. None of these few slight adjustments were of statistical significance.

By 1990 (and then again in 1995 and 2005) we again searched our data banks in order to make needed adjustments. As it turns out, our original sample of 180 was extraordinarily prescient because we have not found any empirical evidence which indicates a need to make further adjustments.

In other words, there is a remarkable stability in the original findings. As hard as we try to update for time, space, race, country, political situation, type of industry, et cetera, the findings remain the same:

What are the findings? The SYMLOG MEP is an extremely robust standard for an estimate of "Most Effective Profile" as people interact and work together.

What are some of the organizations that have contributed to SYMLOG research?
What are some of the organizations that have contributed to SYMLOG research?

Apollo Group --USA

Asian Institute of Management --ASEAN nations

Beijing Management Institute --China

Ben Gurion University --Israel

Center for Creative Leadership --USA, Belgium

Center for the Health Professions --USA

CIBC Leadership Centre --Canada

Communications Counsellors --Indonesia

Cornell University --USA

Corpoven, S.A. --Venezuela

German Armed Forces University --Germany

Goldsmiths' College, University of London --UK

Harvard University --USA

Hochschule für Verwaltungswissenschaften --Germany

Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa --Portugal

Jagiellonian University --Poland

Japan Management School --Japan

Leadership Development Center --USA

London Business School --UK

MBA Bandung --Indonesia

McBer and Company --USA

Naval Personnel Research Development Center --USA

Niagara Institute --Canada

NTL Institute --USA

Overlap Consultores en Marketing y Formación --Spain

Penn State University --USA

Research Institute for Olympic Sports --Finland/CIC

Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut der Bundeswehr --Germany

Stratagem --South Africa

TAI, International --Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela

Tel Aviv University --Israel

Tokyo International University --Japan

United States International University --USA

Universita Cattolica --Italy

Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi --Italy

Universität des Saarlandes --Germany

Universität Konstanz --Germany

University of California, Los Angeles --USA

University of Connecticut School of Social Work --USA

University of Michigan --USA

University of Oslo --Norway

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SYMLOG vs. other models
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  • SYMLOG and Blake and Mouton Leadership Grid
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