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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Diagnosing organisational work cultures: a socioanalytic approach

Assessing the health of organisational work cultures through a socioanalytic approach takes into consideration the social context, primary task, the way the task is performed, and the lived experiences of people who work at the task. A socioanalytic approach is concerned with interpreting and understanding these phenomena for the purpose of enhancing the capacity of role-holders within the organisational system to exercise a wider repertoire of choice in performing their roles. The author describes the conceptual basis for a socioanalytic work culture diagnostic and the principal investigative techniques employed for interpretive assessment. Techniques described include reflexivity, workplace observation, interviews, drawing, use of metaphor, working note, and design of the feedback workshop. Two cases are described that illustrate application of the approach in a law firm and a health service. It is shown that a socioanalytic work culture diagnostic, when coupled with a program of organisational change, is a meaningful tool for the transformation of insight into action.