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Book part
Publication date: 18 August 2017

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Breaking the Zero-Sum Game
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-186-7

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2014

Sandra G.L. Schruijer and Petru L. Curseu

– The paper aims to describe and understand the gap between the psychodynamic literature on groups and the social psychological perspective on group dynamics.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to describe and understand the gap between the psychodynamic literature on groups and the social psychological perspective on group dynamics.

Design/methodology/approach

As Wilfred Bion is the most influential group dynamics representative of the psychodynamic tradition the authors performed a citation analysis of Bion's work to find out whether it influenced the social psychological research on group dynamics. They compared three domains of literature: therapy/clinical, management/organization studies and social psychology. Moreover, they depict (by drawing on interviews with European pioneers in social psychology) the historical context in which European social psychology developed to explain the gap between the psychodynamic and social psychological approaches in the study of group dynamics.

Findings

The results clearly indicate the existence of a gap between the social psychological and psychodynamic perspectives on group dynamics. Moreover, the authors show that Bion did influence scholars studying or working with real-life groups and is cited more by American than European scholars. The attempt to build a legitimate scientific identity for social psychology provides a context for understanding of the neglect of the psychodynamic tradition.

Research limitations/implications

The authors conclude by exploring ways in which the psychodynamic tradition may fertilize the social psychological tradition in studying groups.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first to address the discrepancy between the social psychological and psychodynamic perspectives in the study of group dynamics.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Abstract

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Breaking the Zero-Sum Game
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-186-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2001

Robert French

Explores how psychoanalytic thinking can contribute to the management of the conflicting emotions stimulated by change. Suggests that successful change management depends…

Abstract

Explores how psychoanalytic thinking can contribute to the management of the conflicting emotions stimulated by change. Suggests that successful change management depends on a combination of “positive” and “negative” capabilities. The positive capabilities involve the management of the substantive content of any change initiative, the change process itself, and the roles and procedures required by both of these. However, even when these three “technical” aspects are well managed, change always arouses anxiety and uncertainty. As a result, there is a tendency to “disperse” energy; that is, to be deflected from the task into a range of avoidance tactics. Through a particular understanding of such “dispersal” and its opposite, the “capacity to contain”, psychoanalysis can suggest how this counterproductive tendency may be more effectively managed. The British psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion called this capacity to contain “negative capability”.

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Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 14 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2007

Inga‐Britt Krause

This paper seeks to examine the relevance of Bateson's ethnographic work to systemic psychotherapy.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to examine the relevance of Bateson's ethnographic work to systemic psychotherapy.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper addresses this by examining Bateson's work with the naven ritual practiced by the Iatmul people of New Guinea. Bateson published this work in an ethnography entitled Naven, which has largely been ignored by systemic psychotherapists.

Findings

It is argued that Bateson's early work has been neglected in the field of psychotherapy despite being highly relevant to the development of cross‐cultural approaches in this field. The paper summarises Bateson's arguments in the main body of the book and in the two epilogues which provide Bateson's own commentary on this work. Key concepts such as “context” “pattern” and “ethos” are discussed. The paper also addresses the issues of how psychotherapists and ethnographers have access to the meaning of their interlocutors and outlines some pointers given by Bateson upon which psychotherapists may build in their cross‐cultural work with clients. Bateson's thinking about emotional, sociological and behavioural patterns and the way he involved himself in interpreting these is briefly considered in relation to the work of the anthropologist/sociologist Pierre Bourdieu on the one hand, and the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, on the other.

Practical implications

The theoretical discussion aims to contribute to the development of a rigorous approach to cross‐cultural psychotherapy and to the integration of social science and psychotherapy.

Originality/value

The paper will be of value to systemic psychotherapists, psychotherapists generally, anthropologists, social scientists and clinicians interested in cross‐cultural clinical work and in ethnographic enquiry.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 36 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 February 2021

Sandra G.L. Schruijer

The purpose of this study is to explore whether a group dynamics perspective still exists in the scientific study of groups and what factors may account for the current situation.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore whether a group dynamics perspective still exists in the scientific study of groups and what factors may account for the current situation.

Design/methodology/approach

Alongside reflections based on my professional experience, I have analyzed the main academic journals that publish group research.

Findings

A group dynamics perspective is almost totally absent in the scientific study of groups. Contributing factors to this state of affairs are disciplinary developments in psychology (e.g. individualization, experimentalization and specialization), the demise of the status of psychoanalysis, changes in the meaning and manifestation of the “group,” and effects of New Public Management.

Originality/value

The study offers a critical perspective on current group research practices and considers these in a larger (social and historical) context. It advocates a group dynamics perspective for the study of groups, based on systems-psychodynamic insights.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2009

René van Eeden and Frans Cilliers

The systems psychodynamic perspective was used to explore the functioning of a management team at one of the plants of a South African production company experiencing…

Abstract

The systems psychodynamic perspective was used to explore the functioning of a management team at one of the plants of a South African production company experiencing change. The focus was on the impact of social defenses on the leadership style being exercised. During a day long consultation session with the team a dynamic of control and dependency was observed. The transactional culture that can be regarded as “normal,” in this environment, actually became part of a defense strategy, resulting in dependency and a lack of authorization that limited the use of transformational leadership. A lack of clarity in terms of role and boundary definitions furthermore resulted in a struggle in terms of interrelatedness and a lack of interdependent functioning at a system's level.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2007

Mark Cohen

This paper argues that the capacity of individuals and of society as a whole to ‘contain’ experience, and to use this as a basis for thought, is central to good health…

Abstract

This paper argues that the capacity of individuals and of society as a whole to ‘contain’ experience, and to use this as a basis for thought, is central to good health. The paper first defines and describes ‘containing’ and thinking, with reference to a psychoanalytic model, and compares these definitions with similar concepts. The circumstances that promote or impede the development of the capacity for thought are then outlined, and a spectrum of this capacity is described and correlated with a spectrum of vulnerability‐resilience to ill health. A review of the associated literature indicates significant links to health‐related behaviours, health outcomes and inequalities; interventions at a population level could aim to shift people at the vulnerable end of the spectrum towards resilience. However such measures are unlikely to be effective on their own: what is needed is a containing and thinking society, characterised by a wish to know about reality, and to link together information about the state of its citizens and the wider world. The paper concludes with a discussion of the political and policy‐making implications.

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Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

John Morris and Peter Mountfort

Suggests that leadership and team building are the two major training issues which companies must address as we move towards the twenty‐first century and that clearly the…

Abstract

Suggests that leadership and team building are the two major training issues which companies must address as we move towards the twenty‐first century and that clearly the two are related. Equally clear is that both issues can only be addressed effectively in an ongoing fashion, making them development rather than training challenges and suggests programmes rather than events as the solution. Shows how such winning leaders and teams can be identified, trained and developed.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

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Book part
Publication date: 28 June 2017

Debra A. Noumair, Danielle L. Pfaff, Christine M. St. John, Asha N. Gipson and Sarah J. Brazaitis

The study of group dynamics was central to the field of organization development at its inception. More recently, there has been a move away from considering irrational…

Abstract

The study of group dynamics was central to the field of organization development at its inception. More recently, there has been a move away from considering irrational and unconscious dynamics in organizational life and more attention focused on rational and observable behavior that can be measured and quantified. We introduce the tool, Beneath the Surface of the Burke-Litwin Model, that invites consideration of how the overt behavior of individuals, groups, and entire systems is linked to covert dynamics. This more comprehensive view of organizational life provides scholar-practitioners with a systemic perspective, a view of covert dynamics by organizational level, and support for the ongoing development of one’s capacity for using self-as-instrument when engaged in organization development and organization change efforts.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-436-1

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