Teaching-professor [hr]
VR Kadam
Maintenance Manager
Pg Student

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Hi All, I would be very grateful if someone could tell me about the concept of a 'Fish Bowl Intervention' and where is it generally used??? Thankyou, Neha CR
From India, Bangalore
Hi Neha,

I found some information regarding the Fish Bowl Technique. Hope this will help you.


VR Kadam

The Fish Bowl Technique

What's it for?

The fishbowl exercise is a technique for discussing difficult and controversial issues between two groups of people who may be in disagreement. It overcomes barriers to communication such as pressure to conform from peers, ‘professional detachment’ and intimidation.

Who can use it?

The fishbowl can be used by staff and residents that wish to communicate in depth. No special skills are necessary, but there are some general guidelines and principles that will enhance and improve results.

How to use it

The fishbowl involves between 10 and 20 people. A circle of chairs is arranged in the centre of a room with chairs arranged around the outside. A facilitator, (someone fairly neutral if possible), splits the group into two roughly equal ‘teams’ that apparently share the same views or are recognisable as ‘peers’ (e.g. residents, staff). One ‘team’ sits in the centre (the fishbowl) and one team around the outside. The people in the fishbowl will be involved in the discussion and cannot involve anybody around the outside in the discussion (though they may, of course, refer to them). The people around the outside are ‘privileged listeners’. The people around the outside cannot speak until they are invited into the middle by the facilitator. The facilitator starts the discussion by providing a contentious statement for the ‘fishbowl’ to comment on. The statement will relate to a subject of concern for the group. e.g.

• ‘Why shouldn’t we have visitors after 10.00pm?’

• ‘They treat us like children...’

• ‘They don’t respect our space...’

As an alternative the contentious statement can be a subject of current concern for society, one which is likely to polarise the ‘fishbowl’.e.g.

• ‘Smoking should be banned everywhere…’

• ‘Beggars should be locked up...’

The discussion continues until it appears that nothing new is being said. The facilitator may interject from time to time to stir up the discussion and involve everybody in the fishbowl in the discussion but, in general, less intervention the better.

Then the listeners swap places with the ‘fishbowlers’ and continue the discussion adding their views to the discussion. The teams may swap half a dozen or more times until the subject is exhausted.

An alternative method is to bring individuals into the ‘fishbowl’ who then sum up the discussion so far as they see it. The discussion then continues with the new participant.

When the fishbowl discussion is exhausted the participants then join together in a more conventional discussion having established a pattern of ‘talking’ and ‘listening’ in an equitable way.

From India, Mumbai
dear, A fishbowl is a group seating and talking configuration in which there is an inner circle of chairs for people who talk and an outside circle of observers and non-interactors.The fishbowl allows invited participants to talk in natural uninterrupted way while the host members listen and learn...It comes under organization mirror interventions which is a set of activities in which a host group gets feedback as to how it is perceived and regarded by the guest group.This is used mainly to improve relationships and increase intergroup work effectiveness.Organizations use this intervention when they are facing difficulties that are work related and require feedback in a short period of time.
From India, Bangalore
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