24 Slices
Medium 9781855758162

CHAPTER TWO: Tolerating discrimination: discriminating tolerance

Laurence J Gould Karnac Books ePub

Farhad Dalal

The problem

Over the past few decades, large sums of money and much time and effort have been dedicated to the task of dismantling the structures and processes of inequality. And, although many changes in society have indeed come about because of these efforts, it is also the case that, to a large degree, racism, sexism, and the like continue to flourish. For example, recent statistics show that, despite these enormous efforts, pay differentials between men and women have actually widened in the last few years. Other sets of official statistics show that in the five years from 2004–2009 there has been a 70% increase in the numbers of Black and Asians stopped and searched on the streets of Great Britain. At the same time public, private, and voluntary bodies publish “Race Equality Schemes” and make proud public pronouncements in Equal Opportunity statements that they subscribe to the values of inclusivity, non-discriminatory practice, and so forth. There is quite a gap between what institutions say they are doing and what is actually happening.

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Medium 9781855759794

6: Building an institution for experiential learning

Laurence J Gould Karnac Books ePub

Susan Long

“When I’m silent in the group, it’s like I’m a sponge. Things come into me and they feel very heavy. I left the first week here feeling like I had been run over by a steamroller. Last week I spoke a lot and I left feeling light… . My speaking seems to put up a barrier that holds the heaviness out… . I don’t want to be questioned. It’s just that that is my experience.” (Said by a “Tavistock” style study group member in response to another, who had asked if she wanted help to speak out in the group).

I talk to myself, and I remember what I said and perhaps the emotional content that went with it. The “I” of this moment is present in the “me” of the next moment. There again, I cannot turn around quick enough to catch myself. I become a “me” insofar as I remember what I said … It is because of the “I” that we say that we are never fully aware of what we are, that we surprise ourselves by our own action.

Mead, 1934, p. 174

In this chapter I examine the possibility of institutions where learning from experience is valued and engaged. I won’t be discussing a blueprint for developing such an institution; I simply don’t have one. In any case, different institutions and different work organizations will have different experiences from which to learn. Providing a blueprint would be akin to providing a ten-step guide to writing a creative novel or giving the command: “be spontaneous!” One cannot systematically plan for such a process because learning is often about being surprised by the experience. Something new happens, or one is able to see things in a new light. Learning from experience is achieved by the “I” in process rather than the “me”, which is established after the experience, to make sense of it, or to deal with it in some other way.

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Medium 9781855754416

6. Dilemmas of Organizational Change: A Systems Psychodynamic Perspective

Laurence J Gould Karnac Books ePub

6

JAMES KRANTZ

This chapter focuses on efforts to bring about major changes in the way that organizations function. These efforts, which often involve altering many facets of organization including structures, policies, procedures, technologies, role design, and cultural patterns are increasingly common as organizations adapt to accelerating rates of change in markets, technologies, and competitive pressures. While such changes may be necessitated by turbulent operating environments, they are also profoundly disruptive both to the organizations and to the people functioning within them.

If ineffective, the impact of such change can be disabling, even disastrous, to the ongoing viability of the enterprise and devastating to its members. Indeed, since Miller and Rice (1967) recognized the management of innovation as a crucial part of management, great attention has been directed to, and an entire field has arisen around, the management of change. My intention here is to explore issues of change management from a systems psychodynamic perspective and, in doing so, to consider the reciprocal impact of psychic and systemic factors on the ability of organizations to implement new approaches.

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2. The Exercise of Authority in a Dependent Context

Laurence J Gould Karnac Books ePub

2

WESLEY CARR

To be dependent is the natural human condition. No one chooses to be born and no one can be born without a mother.1 In most eras to recognize such obvious dependence and its lifelong impact and psychological significance was normal and more personally and socially acceptable than is allowed in late twentieth century Western societies. With its emphasis on interrelationship and connections, the Enlightenment made dependence an issue. It was one among many topics in human behaviour that was categorized and explored. Now, in so-called postmodern times, the emphasis is shifting to a preoccupation with the self and its perceptions. Any connection with another person or object, therefore, becomes suspect. As a result dependence, which always involves connection, is confused with addiction and no difference is discerned between, for example, relying on a tradition, seeking the approval of others, or using alcohol or drugs. Even what is natural is assumed, often unconsciously, to be a malign state (Kegan 1995). The political use of such phrases as “the dependency culture” has enlarged the scope of the theme. Dependence has moved from being assumed to being analyzed and finally to being regarded as an undesirable facet of life. It is, therefore, widely believed, implicitly and explicitly, that any shift from dependency to autonomy is both desirable and an achievement.

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9. The Leader, the Unconscious, and the Management of the Organisation

Laurence J Gould Karnac Books ePub

9

ANTON OBHOLZER

Leadership would be easy to achieve and manage if it weren’t for the uncomfortable reality that without followership there could be no leadership except perhaps of a delusional sort. What is more, for the organisation to be creative it requires followership to be an active process of participation in the life of the common venture, encompassing all concerned, and this in itself carries with it a degree of discomfort.

By definition there is thus an inherent tension between leadership and followership. This chapter is an attempt to address the complexity of this interface, to place the relationship in the context of the overall containing organisation, and to investigate some of the factors that make for and facilitate a creative versus a stuck workforce and workplace. My overall approach is heavily influenced by a model of understanding and managing organisations that draws on an applied psychoanalytic and Tavistock group relations approach.

I want to note at this point that in many models of leadership and of management, working at understanding one’s experience and the experience of others in connection with management and management competence do not necessarily go together. Further, that the sort of personal work and institutional introspection that goes with the approach to be described here is seen as unnecessary, gratuitous navel gazing. I believe this latter view to be profoundly shortsighted.

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