This module aims to help students understand more fully the conscious and unconscious dynamics in organisations. Beginning with Freud's original and critical work on group psychology we explore the contribution the psychoanalysis and social organisational psychology have made to our understanding of working and organisational life. Using a primarily psychoanalytic/psychosocial lens, we will consider the ways in which organisational and working life can be pulled too far toward unhelpful technical and procedural practices by powerful unconscious defences operating within and between people and organisational structures they create.
We will be asking three principal questions. First, how have psychoanalytic and systemic ideas helped to make sense of seemingly irrational organisational phenomena and striven to keep alive the 'human touch' in organisational and group life? Second, what can be put in place to assist in supporting a capacity to face the realities of work more effectively? Third, what can the individual do to improve organisations, help keep them 'on task' and strengthen their potential to develop therapeutic or enabling qualities?
In particular, students will have the opportunity to deepen their observation skills by undertaking a psychoanalytic observation in a working organisation and learn how to make sense of both the objective and subjective material emerging from this research process.
In order to link theory to practice, students will also take part in an experiential workshop in which organisational and group processed can be directly experienced, observed and understood.