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Relatedness in a Global Economy

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Massive social changes have brought prosperity to many groups and nations. Technological developments continue to facilitate the transformation of our lives. More employees are working in teams connected technologically throughout the world. Many have participated in some times disconnected discussions involving managers on different continents. How we understand the dynamics of such virtual environments are challenges for workers and managers. Institutional transformation often involves a process of continuous change, which is both exciting and challenging and calls for flexbility on the part of the employees and executives.Given the speed of communication, it is often hard to think about complex issues which influence decision-making. Organizational consultants, by applying systems-theory, offer CEOs, managers and workers a space to think about and understand complex global issues. This book combines psychodynamic, small group and social systems theories in addressing consultations in various countries. The authors, from India, Australia, England and the United States, provide rich case material as well as theoretical background in explicating current consultations. It will appeal to executive coaches, organizational consultants, NGOs, specialists in finances and management, human relations and those interested in third world development.

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CHAPTER ONE: Applying systems psychodynamics in an organizational consultation

ePub

Edward B. Klein

Systems psychodynamics is an evolving area of theory and practice. This chapter illustrating systems psychodynamics applied to organizational consultation is divided into two parts:

1 theory development and history;

2 application of systems psychodynamics to a brief consultation in a utopian company.

My own consultation approach involves a psychodynamic developmental perspective on social systems and how people take up their roles in organizations. In keeping with Gould (2001), I view systems theory as focusing on company structure, authority individuals have in their roles, division of labor, primary task and sentient (social) relations among employees, and how the boundaries around these concepts are managed. The term psychodynamics refers to individual experiences such as resistance to change, transference to and fantasy about leaders, interpersonal or object relations, and unconscious group and organizational dynamics. Like Armstrong (1995), I try to maintain a balance between the internal psychoanalytic and the external systems perspectives. Also, in keeping with Armstrong (2000), I think that emotions in organizations are not necessarily a sign of psychopathology but rather a potentially important indication of intelligence in institutional functioning.

 

CHAPTER TWO: Whose globe is it, anyway?

ePub

Rosemary Viswanath and Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay

It is said that a generation ago when astronauts first beamed pictures of the earth back home, the image of a life-sustaining planet floating in infinite space inspired social movements to work to save the world from environmental destruction. Today, that stunning portrait of the earth has also become the icon for what seems its unenviable destiny: globalization.

What is globalization? And whose globe is it, anyway?

“The most common or core sense of economic globalization refers to the observation that in recent years a quickly rising share of economic activity in the world seems to be taking place between people who live in different countries (rather than the same country)” (PREM/World Bank, 2000).1 The philosophical basis on which this edifice stands has at its core the orthodox economic (Ambirajan, 2000) reasoning of the neoclassical variety, which believes in the following fundamental principles:

1 The way economies behave is dependent on the actions of individual economic agents who make decisions independently.

 

CHAPTER THREE: The dance of globalization: learning, thinking and balance

ePub

Kenwyn K. Smith

For the past decade, I have spent 12 weeks of each year involved in the executive education of senior managers. In these intensive programs, yearly I meet with about 400 men and women from over 50 nations. Three things stand out about this experience:

1 They all work for organizations which strive to think globally while acting locally.

2 To be successful, they must be perpetually learning about innovation and change.

3 These men and women find it increasingly difficult to maintain a balanced and integrated life where family, work, community, recreation and nurturing of the body, mind, heart, and spirit are viewed as essential.

In other parts of my work life, I have had the privilege of visiting or learning about a variety of places and perspectives not usually in global businesses’ field of vision. These experiences make it clear that:

1 effective global thinking relies on local learning practices;

2 the corporate focus on innovation and change forces communities to be invested in preserving their local culture and traditions; and

 

CHAPTER FOUR: Coping with unpredictability and conflict: managing in a global economy

ePub

Lionel F. Stapley

In this chapter, the roles of executives and managers will be explored as they relate to the organizational dynamics of their institutions when operating in a global economy. The chapter is based on the reported experiences of a manager in the steel industry in Britain who was involved in the movement of the company from a family owned, wholly British company, to being part of an international concern operating from three different countries. This particular manager’s self-described experiences will be detailed under a number of specific problem areas that he has identified. This will be followed by a discussion and analysis of the way that members of the organization respond to the difficulties presented. In doing so, I shall conceptualize the company as a process of human behavior that is both social and psychological at the same time. Where appropriate, I shall use examples of casework carried out with consultancy clients while working in a systems psychodynamic frame.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: Management’s fear of market demands: a psychodynamic exploration

ePub

James Dalgleish and Susan Long

This chapter examines a social dynamic whereby managers and executives experience the Market (meaning here the international financial market) as a confusing and punishing object. This being so, a further defensive process is set up whereby the phantasy of a rational and knowable market is established. Moreover, this phantasy then allows for a special relationship-in-the-mind with the market. Many problems and tensions arise within the enterprise when this phantasy holds sway.

The idea of the Market is commonplace despite its being quite astonishing. It is astonishing in the sense that we can think there is a substantive unity even in quite circumscribed markets. It is astounding insofar as the idea of a complex and dynamically changing system as an international market becomes reified with human and measurable characteristics. Even more astounding is the way in which this reified entity becomes an object endowed with characteristics of volition, intent, emotion, cognitive capacity, and power.

 

CHAPTER SIX: Global identity and the superordinate task

ePub

Larry W. Penwell

Introduction

History is replete with examples of war and other forms of inter-group competition. There are a number of examples of inter-group collaboration. As terms like globalization, the global economy, and the new world order become part of our vocabulary, it is important to look at the processes that underlie the current wish to “think globally”, and to examine some of the fundamental dynamics that may facilitate or hinder that goal.

In this chapter, I explore facets of the human experience that support the likely evolution of some form of human global organizational structure beyond those currently existing. That structure appears to be emerging in various ways, around a variety of tasks, creating networks of people who share common tasks, work methods, and, most importantly, identities that supercede national boundaries. I also suggest various forms of resistance to the formation of a global identity and highlight factors that will dramatically slow the progress of this next level of human organization. I start with an exploration of the very human, very natural, process of organizing. Group dynamics form one of the fundamental cornerstones of our experience as a species and will continue to play a significant role in the move toward global identity. Our individual identities are constructed in the context of the group, and play a significant role in our sense of which groups are part of “us” and which groups are not. As Bion (1961) noted, every human group innately understands every other human group. As part of naturally occurring group processes, each group defines who is and who is not a member. Thus inter-group dynamics are always present, often emerging as inter-group competition or conflict, and, too often, escalate to suspicion, prejudice, stereotyping, hatred, and war. Given our long history with inter-group conflict of all forms, the emergence of a global identity or a new world order seems improbable. However, there are historical examples suggesting that, given the right economic circumstances and sufficient time, the emergence of an organizational structure that could properly be termed a world order is not only possible, but perhaps probable.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: C’est la vie: creating a French family business to serve the global information society

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Faith Gabelnick

Life in the family does define and limit our freedom, but it also offers untapped potential for personal happiness and fulfilment.

[Minuchin & Nichols, 1993]

Introduction

As the world becomes more intricately interconnected, families and business enterprises created by family members reflect the challenges and changes in this world. Understanding of family business may now entail addressing not only the internal family system identities but also the impact of national and international identities and systems on how the business is created and endures. Relatedness is thus expressed and challenged not only within the family unit, but also is enacted and worked through a network of association in the global community.

This case study is based on interviews with an entrepreneur in his mid-30s who truly lives and works in the global community. I have known this man for over a decade and have watched the evolution of the story recounted herein. However, even though the case study reflects close knowledge of the family and the business, the overall situation described also points to enduring questions about family ties and love relationships that can entangle as well as facilitate productive adult work. This story is offered with love and compassion for all families who struggle to work together in family businesses and to make a better future for themselves and for society.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: The complexity of leadership: the complexity of the organizational self

ePub

Marc Maltz and Kenneth Witt

Overview

Leadership is understandably under attack today. Whether in corporate, nonprofit, political or other organizations, leadership is being examined as never before. But, is it being fully explored, understood, and worked with? The authors believe not. Yes, there has been much written about the psychology of leadership, particularly with regard to the need for, and excess of, narcissism in the leadership role. There has also been much written about contributing systemic and cultural factors at both the organizational and social levels. But, the dilemmas of the leadership role are enormous and existing frameworks for understanding those dilemmas are limited. Similarly, the answers or solutions to those dilemmas extend well beyond the structures of fiscal responsibility currently being discussed and legally imposed.

The essential limitation of most attempts to understand and explain leadership and organizational behavior is that they utilize primarily modern frameworks to attempt to understand increasingly postmodern phenomena. A central element of the postmodern perspective is the embracing of complexity and appreciation of inherent ambiguity and uncertainty, which has earth-shaking implications for most contemporary notions of leadership that value certainty, consistency, and predictability.

 

CHAPTER NINE: [Re]thinking leadership in a global economy

ePub

Amy L. Fraher

Introduction

For most of us living in the Western world, life has changed markedly over the past few decades. Some of these changes have been of a technical nature, such as the ubiquitous presence of electronics and computers found in all facets of our lives. Other perhaps less visible changes include advances in the biotechnical field such as DNA analysis, cloning, explorations of the human genome, and agricultural “pharming” techniques (Rifkin, 1997). Many of these phenomena were once, in the not-so-distant past, restricted to James Bond movies and the imagination of science fiction writers. Today, they have become commonplace.

In addition to these developments, changes have occurred in the global marketplace perhaps as ubiquitous as computers and as insidious as advances in the biotechnical field. Termed globalization, these changes have been influenced most directly by the spread of Western capitalism and the growth of organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the World Bank.

 

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