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1998 JERUSALEM

Burkard Sievers Karnac Books 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’.

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2001 PARIS

Burkard Sievers Karnac Books 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.

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CHAPTER SIX Role dialogue: Organizational Role Analysis with pairs from the same organization

Susan Long Karnac Books ePub

Susan Long, John Newton, and Jane Chapman

This chapter describes a new way of working with the method of Organizational Role Analysis (ORA). Whereas traditionally ORA has involved work between an individual client and a consultant, this chapter documents work between a consultant and two role holders within the same organization. The method was developed as part of a collaborative action research project in correctional services in Australia. It was developed when the researchers were grappling with finding a way for the organization to work with what appeared to be a quite rigid compartmentaliza-tion and splitting of roles. Given a proposed reorganization of task in relation to offenders, (viz. the introduction of case management) it was imperative that many roles within the service should communicate and work together across traditional boundaries. New ways of taking up the task had to be found through experience. New working relations were implied, but the question arose as to how these might be developed when the culture usually led to “like” speaking with “like” and reinforcing old solutions to old ways of seeing problems.

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CHAPTER FOUR Organizational Role Analysis and consultation: the organization as inner object

Susan Long Karnac Books ePub

Burkard Sievers and Ullrich Beumer

This chapter presents and explains Organizational Role Analysis as a concept of psychoanalytically orientated indi-T vidual consultancy. Role consultation examines the complex interactive processes between the person and the organization in the context of professional role. A case study is used to illustrate and elucidate the concept. In individual consultancy the organization is understood as an inner object, awareness of which can help the client to better understand his or her professional role and to differentiate between fantasy reality and illusion.

The concept

Organizational role consultation, or role analysis, is a form of consultation for role holders in organizations. It has been developed in the tradition of the Group Relations Conferences sponsored by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London since the late 1950s (cf. e. g., Auer-Hunzinger & Sievers, 1991, Lawrence, this volume; Reed, 1976, Weigand & Sievers, 1985). The focus of Organizational Role Analysis is to gain insight into the way in which the professional role of the client is shaped by the organization and the role holder himself or herself, consciously and unconsciously.

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2005 BALTIMORE

Burkard Sievers Karnac Books 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.

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