A relational systems psychodynamic approach to the understanding of group and organisational processes: The construction of 'the relational terrain'

Izod, Karen (2017) A relational systems psychodynamic approach to the understanding of group and organisational processes: The construction of 'the relational terrain'. Other thesis, UWE. Full text available

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This submission comprises a body of published works which update and extend the range of theories-in-use in the practice of Group Relations experiential learning, bringing a relational psychoanalytic framework to the understanding of groups and organisational dynamics, the practice of organisational change consultancy and the challenges of taking up complex professional roles. The papers span a 15 year period, although the thinking that underpins them draws on a professional career of 40 years in social work, social work management, organisational consultancy and teaching for professional development. The past 25+ years have been in the context of small business management and ownership, which additionally allows for a perspective gained from fluctuating market and workplace practices. Throughout this career, I have worked extensively to create and promote conditions which can support professional judgement in challenging situations. I view this as a relational task which is both intrapsychic and interactional, and accessed through the making of links between inner world experiences of thoughts, feelings and fantasies, external world realities of organisational structures and processes, and the taking up of roles. I use psychosocial methodologies to help make sense of workplace dilemmas, and a broad repertoire of developmental interventions to effect change. Accompanying the published works is a commentary which outlines the papers and their particular contribution to the field of professional practice. What emerges from meta-analysis of the publications are the foundations for a theory of interaction based on a new framework for understanding and working in organisations, and consulting to group behaviour. I have called this ‘The Relational Terrain’ and I expound and illustrate it with material from the papers, and from my consulting work. I give evidence of the impact of these publications, of how and where ideas have been taken up, bringing fresh perspectives to established traditions, as well as practical value for clients attempting to effect change in themselves and their organisations. I suggest that there is now a groundswell of interest in the application of relational theories to group and organisational behaviour, and that this submission constitutes a body of knowledge which is ripe for a broader audience at this time.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of the West of England, Bristol for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by publication (DPhil)
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Consultation
Department/People: Department of Education and Training
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2036

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