Medium 9781855756076

Psychoanalytic Studies of Organizations

Views: 902
Ratings: (0)

This book samples the groundbreaking work that has been developed over the last twenty-five years by psychoanalysts, writers and practitioners associated with the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Studies of Organizations (ISPSO). What characterises this collection of original papers is an attempt to look at organizations, groups, teams and organizational role holders using psychoanalytic, systemic and psychodynamic perspectives that collectively eschew superficial, linear, prescriptive and mechanistic views of both the system and the individual within. These papers, delivered as presentations to the Society during the Annual Symposia of the ISPSO - from its inception in 1983 to date - collectively form an important commentary on the changing societal dynamics and current preoccupations facing contemporary organizations, their leaders and their workforce. As such, these papers are representative of many that have contributed to - and documented - the development of the thought and praxis from a psychoanalytic perspective and systems thinking over the last quarter of century.

List price: $28.99

Your Price: $23.19

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

13 Slices

Format Buy Remix

1985 NEW YORK

ePub

Michael A. Diamond

In the analysis of the social character of bureaucracy, one must examine the psychodynamics of obsessional neurosis in the individual and ritualistic practices in the bureaucracy. Much of organization theory either implicitly or explicitly characterizes bureaucratic activity as ritualistic. Such behavior results from obsessional thinking and compulsive action in the individual aimed at defending the self from anxiety over losing control. Ritualistic individual behavior serves to contain anxiety stemming from the uncanny experience of momentary loss in self/object boundaries and identity. This may occur in the organizational recruit at the moment of entry into the bureaucracy where one acts to deny reality by “undoing” the self-alienation that has occurred (signal anxiety) and “isolating” its affects (Freud, 1959a). Managing self/object boundaries and controlling ambivalent feelings emerges as primary motivating actions in the newcomer. Consequently, the new organizational member finds his defensive and regressive actions consistent with ritualistic tendencies and bureaucratic practices. The psychoanalysis of ritualistic behavior elucidates the human construction of and adherence to a bureaucratic form of organization as the outcome of the obsessional neurotic’s actions in securing himself against anxiety about losing control over the impulses of the id.

 

1986 NEW YORK

ePub

James Krantz & Thomas N. Gilmore

This article explores a maladaptive response organizations are making to the great uncertainty and turbulence they face. The authors describe the ways in which management and leadership are split apart, with one aspect idealized and the other devalued, as a “social defense” against confronting the adaptive demands of contemporary operating environments. Two variants of this social defense are examined: “managerialism” which looks to the magic of technique and “heroism” which focuses on the heroic leader. Responding effectively to current conditions requires linking what has come to be viewed as leadership, the visionary and mission setting aspects of executive action, with management, the apparatuses and tools for achieving organizational purposes.

Contemporary organizations are undergoing an unprecedented level of change and turmoil. New technologies, fresh competitive challenges, and a changing world economic order pressure managers to adapt and innovate, resulting in the now commonplace mergers and acquisitions, cutbacks and downsizing efforts, strategic alliances, and spin-offs which, in turn, all amplify comp lexity d ramatically.The popular press, management specialists, and organization theorists all speak to the need for organizations to innovate deeply (Kanter, 1983; Peters & Waterman, 1982; Lawrence & Dyer, 1983; Tushman, Newman, & Romanelli, 1987) and to the requirements of leading such enterprises (Bennis & Nannus, 1985; Leavitt, 1986). Visionary, creative leadership has become essential in contemporary organizations.

 

1987 NEW YORK

ePub

Harold Bridger

The fish only realises that it lives in water when it is already on the bank.”

Old French saying

A basic principle of groups … how any given person was reconciling personal ambitions, hopes and fears with the requirements exacted by the group for its success.”

W.R. Bion

The main emphasis today is that people want to arrive without the experience of getting there.”

Daniel Boorstin

As this paper is intended to provide a basis for discussion I am writing in a form which represents more closely the fluid state of mythinking and working situations and not a definitive closely argued position.

I have always felt, and attempted to demonstrate, that psychoanalytic knowledge and psycho-analytic experience (as analysand and as analyst) can be of immense and significant value in the consultative practice of enabling organizations and communities to review themselves, adapt to change and continue maintaining their own further development (i.e., action-research). This conviction has increased and intensified as organizations and communities have become more open to their environments and those environments have become more uncertain, complex and turbulent than ever before. [1]

 

1988 NEW YORK

ePub

Laurence J. Gould, Ph.D.

It may be said that within psychoanalysis the application to o rg anizational life began with Freud’s (1921) consideration of the Church and Army. In this connection Freud linked certain dynamic aspects of these organizations to his earlier hypotheses regarding the o rigins of social process and social structure—namely, the primal horde (1913). While Freud never directly followed this line of thought f urther, except generally in his later sociological works (1927, 1930, 1939), there is, by now, a rapidly growing and impressive body of literature on psychoanalytic conceptions of organizational behavior (e.g., Baum, 1987, Bion, 1961; Hirschhorn, 1988; Jacques, 1951, 1955; Kernberg, 1979; 1984; Kets de Vries, 1984; Kets de Vries and Miller, 1984; Lawrence, 1979; Levinson, 1972; Menzies, 1960, 1988, 1989; Miller, 1976; Miller and Gwynne, 1972; Miller and Rice, 1967; Rice, 1958; Trist and Murray, 1990; Zaleznik, 1967, 1984). However, despite this rich and abundant interest, little work has been reported with respect to developing techniques and methodologies for the practice of organizational consultation which derive from these conceptions. The reasons are numerous and can be briefly adumbrated.Psychoanalytic organizational psychology is still in its infancy c ompared to clinical psychoanalysis. Further, many of those i nterested in applying psychoanalytic viewpoints to their or ganizational consultation work are not clinicians, much less psychoa nalysts. Hence, such practitioners usually have little knowledge of, or direct experience with the sorts of technical issues, questions and dile mmas that are at the heart of psychoanalytic treatment. Equally, most p racticing psychoanalysts do not do organizational consultation work, and indeed the majority have little experience working with groups of any sort, to say nothing of large formal organizations. In consequence, the different backgrounds and experiences of psychoanalytically trained clinicians, and organizational practitioners, have a counterpart in the almost non-existent area of psychoanalytic practice and technique in group and organizational work settings.

 

1990 MONTREAL

ePub

Isabel Menzies Lyth

Ibegin with a statement by a wise and perspicacious psychoanalyst, Otto Fenichel (1946). He stated that social institutions arise through the efforts of individuals to satisfy their needs, but the institutions then become external realities comparatively independent of the individuals that affect the personality structure of the individuals, temporarily or permanently. Fenichel was using the term‘institution’ in a wide sense to include customs, practices and the culture of society as well as the organisations in which we consultants work. I shall be using the term mainly in the latter sense.

Institutions have an extraordinary capacity to sustain their most important characteristics over long periods of time even when significant changes have taken place in the environment, in the demands on them and in the resources available to meet those demands. Individuals who initiate the institution or who join it later must somehow adapt themselves to‘fit’ since their chance of basically changing the institution is not great, although not non-existent, and consultancy may help. The main process through which the individual’s adaptation takes place is by introjective identification, one of the major ways by which children develop and form their personalities. The possibility of change by introjective identification remainsthroughout life, even for mature adults. On entering an institution, an individual must take in and identify with the main characteristics of the institution if he is to stay there. If he cannot, and so does not become sufficiently like the institution and the other members, he will find himself under overt or covert pressure to leave. He may find the effort and the effects of trying to adapt himself too stressful and leave of his own accord.

 

1995 LONDON

ePub

W. Gordon Lawrence

‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.’

—Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act IV, Sc. 1, 156–58.

‘I will get Peter Quince to
write a ballad of this dream.
It shall be call’d “Bottom’s
Dream,” because it hath no bottom.’

—Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
Act IV, Sc. 1, 220–22.

When I worked at the Tavistock Institute there was no frame of reference with which to incorporate dreams into thinking about action research and consultancy. Nevertheless there were experiences that caused me to start to think. In 1975, for instance, I was interviewing managers as part of an action research study ofmanagement development in companies in Britain. One manager volunteered that he had a repeated dream, which was that he had to come to work each day through a graveyard. No matter which route he took he always had to pass through a cemetery. The associations we had in the interview were that his particular company was going to enter into a financial crisis that could be terminal. He felt depressed because most of his colleagues were denying this probability. It led me, subsequently, to think about the mortality of individual managers and the place of the idealization of careers in the lives of individuals. As important was the fantasy that the business enterprise was immortal in that it would exist forever in the future. This seemed to be a shared fantasy which role holders projected into the business‘in the mind’, irrespective of the current trading and commercial realities. Whatever uncertainties they had of the future were projected into the business, which acted as a‘container’, and they could introject, in turn, certainty.

 

1996 NEW YORK

ePub

Howard F. Stein *

Experiential realities of downsizing, reductions in force, restructuring, outsourcing, and cognate terms are often at wide variance with their touted and expected promises of increased productivity, profit, rationality, realism, efficiency, teamwork, and role interchangeability. Vignettes cited suggest that downsizing is not primarily about economics or business but, instead, myth and ritual. Downsizing is explored as a symbolic form and action, rationalized and masked by euphemism. Downsizing implements devastating planned social change, one that takes the form of sacrifice to purchase organizational life via symbolic death. Downsizing is experienced as a metaphoric Holocaust, one driven by the need to perform sacrifice (a) to separate bad from good parts of oneself and (b) to secure organizational rebirth through the expulsion of death. The link between the popular 1993 movie Schindler’s List and organizational themes in the language of the Holocaust is explored and takes us to the heart of the conscious and unconscious emotional experience and meaning of downsizing.

 

1997 PHILADELPHIA

ePub

Larry Hirschhorn

In the Tavistock tradition, we understand an organization by first identifying its primary task. We ask, what is this organization set up to do, how is it organized to accomplish this objective, and what unconscious dynamics limit or distort it members’ ability to do their work? This approach, while powerful, does not help us understand organizations that live at strategic junctures in their life cycles. In these situations, the task is to choose a task. We need a conceptual framework to help us understand the psychodynamics of organizing and deciding in these situations. The following article develops the concept of the “primary risk” to explain how organizations behave in these situations. It links the primary risk to the psychoanalytic idea of ambivalence and the Gestalt idea of the figure/ground relationship. It draws on case material to illuminate its concepts.

Organizations increasingly face significant strategic dilemmas; yet thinkers and practitioners in the psychoanalytic theory of organizations, particularly those like myself who have been deeply influencedby the Tavistock tradition, have not kept apace. The Tavistock tradition, of organizational diagnosis and consulting particularly as it was articulated by A. Kenneth Rice and Eric Miller (Miller & Rice, 1990), was developed in response to problems of organizational design, functioning and relationships of authority, rather than to issues of strategy. The consultant working within this tradition would typically ask the following set of questions.

 

1998 JERUSALEM

ePub

David Armstrong

‘Psychic retreats’ was first presented at the 1998 Symposium of ISPSO, in Jerusalem. The theme of the Symposium was:‘Drawing Boundaries and Crossing Bridges—Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Alliances, Relationships and Relatedness between Groups, Organisations and Cultures’.

The paper was based on a reading of John Steiner’s psychoanalytic formulation of‘psychic retreats’, as these may emerge in clinical work with patients. It traces the ways in which Steiner’s concept of the‘internal organisation’ and its genesis can be echoed within experiences of organisational life and the conditions which inform this. A provisional distinction is drawn between the enactment and the in-actment of internal mental states, which I now see as central to the distinction between individual and social‘pathology’.

In a postscript to the paper, written but not presented at the time, I speculate on the idea of a‘psychic retreat in reverse’, in which organisational meaning is both denied and evaded through a‘privileging of the self’.

 

2001 PARIS

ePub

Robert French and Peter Simpson

Charles Harvey

Our aim in this chapter is to suggest how the idea of‘ negative capability’ may contribute to an understanding of the creative leader. We begin by exploring the origins of the term negative capability and its meaning in the creative arts and in psychoanalysis. We then assess its value as a concept in relation to leadership. Creative leadership is called for at the edge between certainty and uncertainty, both a necessary and a difficult place to work in the current context of organizational life. Whereas, positive capabilities direct leaders and followers toward particular forms of action rooted in knowing, negative capability is the ability to resist dispersing into inappropriate knowing and action. We suggest that appropriate combinations of positive capabilities and negative capability can generate and sustain a‘working space’ or‘capacity’ for creative thought at this edge between knowing and not knowing. Creative leaders are characterised by their ability to generate such spaces not merely for themselves but also for others within the organization. Some of the problems for organizational leaders in working with negative capability are raised and explored.

 

2002 MELBOURNE

ePub

Burkard Sievers

“Trust is a double-edged sword. It can open opportunities of mutual productive work and at the same time, can be a sophisticated trap, in which the partners of trust are captured.”

Amitzi and Schonberg, 2000

“Trust is a peculiar quality. It can’t be bought. It can’t be downloaded. It can’t be instant … . It can only accumulate very slowly, over multiple interactions. But it can disappear in a blink.”

Kelly, 1999

“A crisis of trust cannot be overcome by a blind rush to place more trust.”

O’Neill, 2002

“On September 11, 2001 … Americans realized the fragility of trust. … Our trust was shaken again only a couple of months later with the stunning collapse of Enron.”

Kramer, 2002

The importance of trust is heavily emphasized in contem porary organization theory and management practice. Although I am convinced that trust is a good thing and a necessary constituent of the social fabric, I am interested in understanding the social (and political) thinking underlying the current academic and non-academic view of trust. My working hypothesis is that management attempts to engineer trust reflect an underlying denial of the loss of hope regarding both the relatedness between organizational members and the value and meaning of organizations. The experience of non-relatedness and lack of trust cannot be acknowledged by management, therefore the loss of hope has to be hidden behind the propagation of the importance of trust (and relatedness). The denial of the loss of hope is an expression of psychotic thinking concomitant with the inability to see reality and to mourn loss. The engineered propagation of trust thus becomes a substitute for trust itself.

 

2005 BALTIMORE

ePub

Susan Long

The book and subsequent film‘The Corporation’ (Bakan 2005) took as its theme 1) the idea of the corporation created as a legal entity similar to an individual in the Law and 2) following this, the evaluation of the behaviour of corporations against descriptions of psychopathic syndromes in the DSM IV. The conclusion was: many corporations are psychopathic. Not surprisingly, organisational theorists and consultants are interested nowadays in the emotional and irrational aspects of organisational life. Increasingly, it seems the discourse surrounding organisations includes the idea of madness as well as badness.

But the distinctions between mad and bad have long been problematic for those attempting to deal with extreme or abnormal behaviour; such as the institutions of psychiatry and prisons (nowadays, corrections). Despite the controversies surrounding the work of French social historian Michel Foucault,1 he did offer many compelling arguments about the historical development of the shifting boundary between medicine, psychiatry and the law (Foucault 2003; 1963). That this boundary is problematic is not in doubt. The modern psychiatric diagnosis of‘personality disorder’ encompasses itsdifficulties. With issues of behavioral disturbance, narcissism and anti-social behaviour taking center stage, many of those falling within this diagnosis populate the world’s prison systems and might be described as suffering from symptoms like‘a lack of remorse’.2 One might ask about the line between symptoms and character; suffering and accountability. Moreover, with the advent of new-styled therapeutic courts on the one hand and cognitive-behaviour modification on the other, it seems we have judges as social workers and psychiatrists as behavioural custodians; the boundaries between aspects of their roles become ever more complex and interdependent.

 

2007 STOCKHOLM

ePub

Gilles Amado

Contrary to the transitional object, the notion of potential space, which is at the core of the transitional process described by D. W. Winnicott, has always been difficult to integrate within the psychoanalytic theory and practice because it is neither an object nor an agency.1 Moreover, potential space does not appear as a completely stable and independent notion as it is named sometimes “transitional space”, “intermediate area”, “third area” for example. Still, potential space may be the most important idea in Winnicott’s work. In the French version of his last book, Playing and Reality, “potential space” is even mentioned as the subtitle.

It may seem somehow awkward that organisational clinicians pay attention to such a notion because it is originally intended to explore the first period of psychic life and mother-infant relationship. Still, if we do so, it is because we know today that such a space is at the source of true living and creativity and has, therefore, deep implications for people, organizations and societies.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000020402
Isbn
9781780493749
File size
786 KB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata