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Where's the beef? A clinical perspective on organization consultation and change

Author: Kets de Vries, Manfred F. R. ; Balazs, KatharinaINSEAD Area: Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise In: Handbook of organization development - Cummings, Thomas G. - 2008 - Book Language: EnglishDescription: p. 79-95.Type of document: INSEAD ChapterNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: This chapter addresses the theme of clinically oriented consultation in the workplace, offering an example of an intervention to illustrate the limitations of more traditional forms of organizational consultation. The authors suggest, in these pages, that unconscious intrapersonal, interpersonal, and group-related dynamics have a serious impact on many decisions and policies in organizational life. Such processes are a powerful force in explaining otherwise incomprehensible human motivations and actions. The argument put forward is that the clinical approach to organizational consultation can make a significant, positive contribution in situations of problematic organizational transformation, dysfunctional leadership, collusive superior-subordinate relationships, destructive social defense mechanisms, ineffective intra- and intergroup relationships, and neurotic organizational culture. To help readers understand the dynamics of these irrational forces, a number of salient themes in contemporary psychoanalytic theory-a domain that includes contributions from dynamic psychiatry, developmental psychology, ethology, neurophysiology, cognitive theory, family systems theory, and individual and group psychotherapy-are discussed. The breadth of that grounding makes in-depth interpretations of organizational phenomena more powerful. The main parameters of the clinical paradigm are also reviewed in this article. In the final section, the role of the clinically oriented consultant is dealt with and attention is given to the impact of transferential processes in the client-consultant interface. Finally, a few comments are made on so-called authentizotic organizations-that is, organizations in which people feel truly alive and are creatively and efficiently productive-and the challenges executives face as they attempt to create such organizations.
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This chapter addresses the theme of clinically oriented consultation in the workplace, offering an example of an intervention to illustrate the limitations of more traditional forms of organizational consultation. The authors suggest, in these pages, that unconscious intrapersonal, interpersonal, and group-related dynamics have a serious impact on many decisions and policies in organizational life. Such processes are a powerful force in explaining otherwise incomprehensible human motivations and actions. The argument put forward is that the clinical approach to organizational consultation can make a significant, positive contribution in situations of problematic organizational transformation, dysfunctional leadership, collusive superior-subordinate relationships, destructive social defense mechanisms, ineffective intra- and intergroup relationships, and neurotic organizational culture. To help readers understand the dynamics of these irrational forces, a number of salient themes in contemporary psychoanalytic theory-a domain that includes contributions from dynamic psychiatry, developmental psychology, ethology, neurophysiology, cognitive theory, family systems theory, and individual and group psychotherapy-are discussed. The breadth of that grounding makes in-depth interpretations of organizational phenomena more powerful. The main parameters of the clinical paradigm are also reviewed in this article. In the final section, the role of the clinically oriented consultant is dealt with and attention is given to the impact of transferential processes in the client-consultant interface. Finally, a few comments are made on so-called authentizotic organizations-that is, organizations in which people feel truly alive and are creatively and efficiently productive-and the challenges executives face as they attempt to create such organizations.

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