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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Is something rotten in the State of the Organization? Psychodynamic consultancy in an upper secondary school.

The consultant facing the ghost of the organizational past is killed off as she gives room for the angel of the future case consultant investigating an organization with internal difficulties can be compared to Hamlet who is told of hidden crimes and misdemeanors by the ghost. Like Hamlet, the consultant must raise doubts about her immediate reactions to and interpretations of the ghostly tales and postpone actions until she has found evidence for her hypotheses. Eventually she can put these hypotheses to the test by presenting her version of the state of affairs not only to a few representatives of the organization or working group, but all involved in order to be able to discuss matters that are of importance for working environment as a whole. We often find that talks are successful in individual consultations and in small groups. But difficulties arise when individual leaders' insights are to be communicated and integrated as praxis in organizations where people have to rely on their own judgment in their daily work. I take it that this is the case also in most modern organisations that are not based on traditional professional formats, but where there is more scope for autonomy at all levels. One cannot dictate new ways of thinking to members of organizations who are otherwise asked to think for themselves.