Contents Vol. 21.2

Articles

 

 “Why do I have to do this?”: institutions, integrity, and citizenship

Edward R. Shapiro

Abstract

For any individual, to identify with the needs of society is a developmental accomplishment; it is a marker of active citizenship, the capacity to lead from below. In this article, Dr Shapiro outlines a pathway to the role of citizen, focusing on the impact of social systems—families and institutions—on identity.

 

 

Contributions of psychogeography to understanding unconscious dimensions of lived workplace experience

Howard F. Stein and Seth Allcorn

 

Abstract

This article explores the contribution that the concept of psychogeography can offer to organisational research, theory, consulting, leadership, management, and employees. Through several stories/storytelling coupled with psychodynamic interpretations, it examines and illustrates how people in workplace organisations invest space and artefacts with unconscious personal and group significance; how space and objects serve as powerful metaphors as well as utilitarian, task-based tools. Organisational space and objects are often used to serve as symbols of strong and powerful leaders. Ordinary workplace phenomena such as buildings, entrances, doors, desks, conference rooms and tables, and pictures turn out to possess enormous psychogeographic significance in what Michael Diamond calls the “unconscious life of organisations”. Projection-driven psychogeographic transference and its traps are discussed and illustrated. The article concludes with a discussion of the usefulness of a psychogeographic perspective in understanding and working with ordinary organisational leadership–management–employee relationships, task performance, research, and consulting.

 

 

Promoting mentalizing in organisations through learning operative groups

Giovanni Di Stefano

 

Abstract

Current and pressing scientific and technological changes are producing drastic transformations within organisations, creating anxiety and uncertainty and inhibiting the reflective function of the workers who experience conditions of senselessness and estrangement from their work. This article presents a case study from learning operative group training sessions aimed to promote the identity work through the (re)activation of the reflective function towards the definition of new shared meanings. As part of a broader organisational development process, group training sessions based on learning operative groups were arranged in order to offer participants a group reflective space in which each of them could share her or his thoughts and feelings. Organisational changes require workers to face the challenge of constantly developing new professional skills, thereby threatening personal identity and separating it from the professional function and leading to a situation of “identity ambiguity” which becomes difficult to maintain. The learning operative group setting allowed a critical reflection within the organisational development process and promoted mutual trust, empathy, and perspective taking, that, in turn, fed reflective practices in support of individual identities.

 

 

Accessing the psychodynamics of organisations through applied organisational poetry

Howard F. Stein and Seth Allcorn

 

Abstract

This article explores the contribution applied poetry can make to psychodynamically informed qualitative inquiry into the lived experience of workplaces. “What it is like to work here.” The authors propose that, as a different way of knowing, applied poetry complements traditional research methods. The authors explain what applied organisational poetry is, how it “works”, how it fosters self-reflection within the researcher/consultant, and how it functions as a metaphoric “tuning fork” that resonates with clients, interviewees, and group members who share an attuned awareness in their lives awakened in the poems. The authors offer three illustrations of the poet co-author’s applied organisational poems and how, as qualitative research data, they contribute to psychodynamically informed interpretation and intervention in workplaces. The article concludes with a story or “case example” of what the approach discussed here “looks like” in the lived world of an organisational intervention.

 

 

Trust issues in the development of group relations in China, 2014 to 2018: analysis and interpretation of key events

Xiaohua Lu and Seth Harkins

 

Abstract

This article explores key events in the Beijing Group Relations Conferences 2014, 2016, and 2018 through key events regarding multiple leadership roles and lenses. This study analyses these key events utilising trust theory, and concludes that the development of group relations in China is based on the development of trust on multiple levels within a temporary experiential learning organisation in which the primary task is the study of authority, leadership, membership and covert/overt processes in groups and organisations. These events are described, analysed, and interpreted to illustrate how trust evolved in three group relations conferences and its implications for the development of group relations in China and other cultures unfamiliar with these in the Tavistock tradition.

 

Soundings

 

International Listening Posts global report summary: the world at the dawn of 2021

Irene O’Byrne-Maguire, Ulrike Beland, Rob Stuart, Bryan Maguire, Kamila Wujec, Dimitrios Vonofakos

 

Abstract

From 2019, the novel coronavirus or “Covid-19” spread around the globe, bringing death and disruption. On or around 8 January 2021 thirty-six Listening Posts were conducted in twenty-three countries: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, India (11 regions in one combined report), Ireland, Israel, Italy (4 LPs), Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America. This global report synthesises twenty-two local reports, extracts general themes and patterns, and offers connections and interpretations. For the first time International Listening Posts were conducted online.

 

 

Book Reviews

 

Death and the City: On Loss, Mourning, and Melancholia at Work by Susan Kahn. London: Karnac, 2017, 200 pages.

Reviewed by Claudia Nagel

 

Global Leadership Perspectives: Insights and Analysis by Simon Western and Éric-Jean Garcia. London: Sage, 2018, 326 pages. Reviewed by Susan Kahn