Organizations as Optical Illusions: A Clinical Perspective on Organizational Consultation

de Vries, Manfred Kets; Balazs, Katharina
February 2005
Organizational Dynamics;Feb2005, Vol. 34 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
This article addresses the subject of clinically oriented consultation in the workplace, offering an example of an intervention to illustrate the limitations of more traditional, rational forms of organizational consultation. The authors suggest that unconscious intra- personal, interpersonal and group-related dynamics have a serious impact on many decisions and policies in organizational life. The author points out that both rational and irrational forces will affect life at work. Such "irrational" processes are a powerful force in explaining otherwise incomprehensible human motivations and actions. Also, the author argues 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 executives understand the dynamics of these irrational forces, we discuss a number of salient themes in contemporary psychoanalytic theory--a domain that includes contributions from dynamic psychiatry, developmental psychology, anthropology, neurophysiology, cognitive theory, family systems theory, and individual and group psychotherapy.


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