Organisational Dynamics

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
07 March 2023


Requisites for this module


PA215, PA216, PA217, PA218, PA221

Key module for

BA LX5C Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations,
BA C847CO Psychodynamic Practice,
BA C847DT Psychodynamic Practice,
BA C848CO Psychodynamic Practice (Including Foundation Year),
BA C849CO Psychodynamic Practice (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

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.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To understand the contribution psychoanalysis can make to the study of organisational dynamics and working life

  • To provide students with greater capacity to make psychodynamic observations in different settings

  • To enable students to develop psychodynamic and systemic understanding of organisational life and structures

  • To develop students' capacity to generate hypotheses and gather relevant observational evidence to support or challenge them

  • To develop students' capacity to observe themselves and others in group and organisational experiences

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the history, development and application of psychoanalytic ideas to organisational dynamics

  2. Be able to apply psychodynamic insight to a wide range of organisational settings

  3. Have developed a greater capacity for psychodynamic observation

  4. Have developed a more advanced capacity to generate and test hypotheses about organisational dynamics

  5. Have developed a more advanced capacity to make sense of their own and others' organisational behaviour and experiences

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Learning and Teaching Methods

Seminar part 1 - Students will discuss readings on topics relating to organisational dynamics. There will be a reflective group at the beginning and end of this module.

Workshop - Students will take part in a seven-week Group Dynamics workshop.

Seminar part 2 - Students will bring descriptions of their observations within their chosen organisation which will be discussed applying psychodynamic insights to the interactions, dynamics and experience.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Observation - Colchester  22/03/2024  20% 
Coursework   Essay - Colchester  25/04/2024  80% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Chris Tanner, email:
From Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Student Administrator, 5A.202, telephone 01206 87 4969, email



External examiner

Dr Anthony John Faramelli
Lecturer in Visual Cultures
Available via Moodle
Of 24 hours, 24 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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