Scielo RSS <![CDATA[SA Journal of Industrial Psychology]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2071-076320120002&lang=pt vol. 38 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Deploying culture as a defence against incompetence</b>: <b>the unconscious dynamics of public service work</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The intractability of public service delivery and a polarised societal landscape heighten anxiety and reinforce a propensity for public service organisations to be used for defensive purposes. RESEARCH PURPOSE: This article employs social defense theory to explore manifestations of anxiety and defense within South African public service organisations. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Dominant discourse on public service institutions over-relies on political, sociological and public administration theories and tends to ignore psychosocial explanations. Further, whilst the psychodynamics of social service work are generally understood, the unconscious dynamics of generic public service work remain under-theorised. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: This conceptual article draws on my personal observations as a reflective citizen and experiences as a consultant to government departments. MAIN FINDINGS: Herein, an argument is advanced that the deployment of ill-qualified party loyalists to key positions in the public service is perverse: it serves as a collective defense against the impossible aspects of the task at hand. The appointees, in turn, deploy organisational processes to defend against feelings of incompetence and the inevitability of failure. This practice, coupled with acute resource constraints, sets up front line staff for scapegoating. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: An appreciation of the multiple meanings of public service work and the defensive role played by public institutions stands to inform purposeful change towards sustainable public service organisational practice. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The discussion seeks to contribute to attempts that employ systems psychodynamics to make sense of anxiety and defense within organisations in general and public service institutions in particular. <![CDATA[<b>Improvement interventions</b>: <b>to what extent are they manifestations of social defences?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The statistical record of change and improvement interventions to deliver on expectations is notoriously poor. Yet, new interventions are started constantly. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim is to provide an explanation to the lure behind interventions and to contribute to building a theory on plausible systems psychodynamic drivers and mechanisms of recurrent change interventions. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: This study provides insights into social defences in ways that did not receive much attention previously; specifically how defence mechanisms act as drivers for new change and improvement interventions. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A literature study, consisting of a literature review and a phenomenological analysis. The study was conducted from the systems psychodynamic approach. MAIN FINDINGS: Improvement interventions often represent defences that serve to contain anxieties or maintain fantasies. Four specific themes emerged: interventions defend the perception of being in control, they maintain the fantasy that one is busy with worthy actions to overcome challenges, they are defences against boredom or contain anxieties about incompetence, and they maintain the fantasy of being heroic leaders. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The findings can assist leaders to understand their own defences in order to avoid embarking on non-essential interventions. This can free up much time, energy and effort to spend on other priorities, assisting organisations to achieve better results. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The study refutes the notion that improvement interventions are always rational coping mechanisms and highlights the role of improvement interventions as defences to reduce anxiety, even though they may contribute little to organisational survival in real terms. <![CDATA[<b>Followership's experiences of organisational leadership</b>: <b>A systems psychodynamic perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Followers' experiences of leadership in their organisations were qualitatively explored and described from a systems psychodynamic perspective. The findings revealed a very negative view on how leadership treats followership, and that leadership is seen as inconsistent. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe followership's experiences of organisational leadership from a systems psychodynamic perspective. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Organisational leadership is under tremendous pressure to perform and often under attack, especially if they do not appear to be caring and supportive. The research was planned to better understand the unconscious nature of this phenomenon. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative, descriptive research was used. Data was collected through psychodynamic Listening Posts and analysed using discourse analysis. Working hypotheses were formulated per theme and integrated into the research hypothesis. MAIN FINDINGS: Six themes manifested, namely a negative leadership view; idealisation of the past and blaming the present; obsession with race and gender; constantly changing identity; unfinished business and the future; and cope and hope. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Leadership seem to focus more on business than followership issues which leads to followers feeling disregarded and de-authorised. As a result followers withhold authorisation from leadership which may be instrumental in leaderships' difficulties to manage change and transformation effectively. Leadership development needs to incorporate the self-authorisation of leaders as well as the invitation of authorisation by leaders. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The data would be useful to leadership towards understanding, repairing and optimising their relationships and organisational impact through people. <![CDATA[<b>The directors' roles in containing the Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Robben Island represents past denigration and present day liberation. The researchers report on their experiences of containing the learning, consciously and unconsciously, in the Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE). RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe the experiences of the directors of RIDE in the last 10 years. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Of the many and different diversity events that South African organisations present, RIDE is the only systems psycho-dynamically designed and presented event. This research was an effort to explore the nature of the directors' roles in working with unconscious diversity dynamics in such a provocative venue. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researchers conducted qualitative, descriptive and double hermeneutic research. The various RIDE events served as case studies. The data consisted of researcher field notes collected during the 10 years. Thematic analysis resulted in four themes, for which the researchers formulated working hypotheses. They integrated them into the research hypothesis. MAIN FINDINGS: Four themes emerged. They were the diversity characteristics of the directors as containers, working on the boundary between RIDE and the macro role players, attacks on the programme as container and challenges from participants. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The research highlighted the important roles of directors' authorisation as a resilience factor in containing RIDE. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The research contributed towards the awareness of intergroup relations between role players during diversity dynamic events and of how authorisation cements relationships. <![CDATA[<b>Humour as defence against the anxiety manifesting in diversity experiences</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Using humour in diversity contexts may relieve tension temporarily, but it happens at the expense of someone and indicates a defence against an unconscious anxiety dynamic. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to describe the manifestation of humour as a defence mechanism against diversity anxiety. MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH: In working with diversity dynamics in South African organisations, consultants and participants often do not take humour seriously, let alone interpret the accompanying dynamic aspects. Working below the surface with humour may elicit much more and typical diversity dynamics worth investigating. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The research design was qualitative and descriptive, using multiple case studies and content analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: Humour is used as a defence against the anxiety experienced in diversity contexts caused by fear of the unknown within the self and the projection of the fear onto another identity group. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL APPLICATION: Diversity consultations interpreting humour as defence mechanism can provide added opportunities for exploring dynamics below the surface. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Deeper understanding of the unconscious dynamics of diversity humour could lead to meaningful interventions in organisations. <![CDATA[<b>Executive coaching in diversity from the systems psychodynamic perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The researcher applied role analysis from the systems psychodynamic perspective to executives in state departments to improve their awareness of the unconscious diversity dynamics that affect their roles. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to describe the application of systems psychodynamic role analysis and to determine its trustworthiness in assisting executives to work effectively with conscious and unconscious diversity dynamics in their organisations. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Executives generally struggle to understand the deeper meaning of diversity behaviour that manifests inside and around them, leading to conflict. Without understanding the unconscious meaning of the behaviour, organisations founder easily. Awareness of below-the-surface behaviour leads to insight and taking responsibility for diversity-related behaviours. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researcher coached six executives in South African state departments over a period of 10 months. The coaching addressed and analysed the executives' organisational roles. She analysed the data using discourse analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: Themes relating to the diversity dynamics of gender, race, ethnicity, authority, disability, language, age, de-authorisation of diversity work and the coaching process emerged. The coaching assisted the executives to gain insights into below-the-surface diversity dynamics, to address diversity in a sustained manner and to take up their organisational roles more effectively. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Coached executives will have a more objective and dynamic experience of diversity issues that manifest in organisations, between colleagues and within themselves. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Executive coaching from a systems psychodynamic perspective displays trustworthiness in improving participants' diversity awareness, especially with regard to gender, race, ethnicity and authorisation. <![CDATA[<b>A systems psychodynamic description of organisational bullying experiences</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Organisational bullying experiences manifest themselves as an intense unconscious systemic dynamic involving the bully, the victim and the organisational culture. The relatedness between the objects is characterised by valences and mutual defence mechanisms such as splitting, projection and projective identification. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to describe organisational bullying experiences from the system psychodynamic perspective. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Individual psychology tends to simplify organisational bullying by focussing on the bully's symptomatic behaviour. Systems psychodynamic thinking focuses on the behavioural dynamics in the relationship between the bully and victim, and the relatedness of both with the organisational system. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative and descriptive research, using six participants as case studies, was undertaken. Data was gathered through Free Association Narrative Interviewing and analysed using discourse analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: Three themes manifested themselves, namely, snakes and hyenas, a complex interconnected dyad, and the institutionalisation of bullying. The research hypothesis integrating these three themes was presented. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: In resolving organisational bullying Industrial Organisational psychologists need to pursue this phenomenon not only in terms of its symptoms, but in a holistic, systemic and role related manner addressing all of its parts. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The systemic understanding of organisational bullying implies the complexity of studying the behaviour of all parts - the bully, the victim, their dyadic relationship as well as how bullying is institutionalised in the organisational setting, climate and culture. <![CDATA[<b>The Robben Island diversity experience</b>: <b>An exploration of South African diversity dynamics</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Because of its historic, symbolic and psychological representation, presenting a diversity event on Robben Island posed invaluable opportunities to form an in-depth understanding of South African diversity dynamics. This research focussed on such an event interpreted from the systems psychodynamic perspective. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe the experiences of participants attending the Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE) in order to understand South African diversity dynamics from a depth psychology perspective. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Of the many and different diversity events presented in South African organisations, RIDE is the only annual systems psycho-dynamically designed and presented event. This research was an effort to explore the nature of these dynamics which manifest themselves from below the surface. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative and descriptive research from a hermeneutic phenomenology paradigm was used. The 15 participants who attended a RIDE event formed a case study. The data from an unstructured interview was content-analysed and interpreted using the systems psychodynamic perspective. The themes were integrated into a research hypothesis. MAIN FINDINGS: Five themes manifested themselves, namely, crossing boundaries, engaging the brave new world, ties that bind, being imprisoned and the struggle. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The research highlighted the importance of understanding unconscious dynamics in the context of diversity in order to inform consultants about diversity management interventions in organisations. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The research contributed towards how South African diversity dynamics manifest themselves and how that can be addressed in organisations. <![CDATA[<b>Risk management as a social defence against anxiety</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: This article deals with the unconscious role of risk management in an African country. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of the study is to describe how risk management unconsciously influences behaviour when doing business in an African country. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Operational risk management is a rational management imperative. However, this does not take cognisance of the unconscious role of risk management. A systems-psychodynamic perspective might be particularly relevant if the anxiety implied in risk management is not appropriately contained. Awareness of these dynamics may provide an opportunity for addressing them and allow for a more holistic way of managing risk. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researchers conducted the study as a qualitative case study in an African country. They used purposive sampling and analysed the data using qualitative content analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: Viewing risk management from a systems-psychodynamic perspective allowed the researchers to identify the influence of risk management on the behaviour of people. The emerging hypothesis was that, if businesses do not address the anxiety underlying risk management, managing risk becomes a social defence against the anxiety. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Awareness of the anxiety involved in risk management may assist businesses to manage risk in a more realistic way, making provision for, and even capitalising on, the human element. CONTRIBUTIONS/VALUE-ADD: The article provides a systems-psychodynamic, and hence a more complete, perspective of operational risk management when doing business in an African country. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of silo mentality on team identity</b>: <b>an organisational case study</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Organisational silos do not only refer to conscious structures, but also to an unconscious state of mind and mentality that takes on a life of its own. Silos result in the splitting of organisational artefacts and relationships, and impact negatively on relationship forming between individuals and within teams. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to describe how the silo mentality impacts on team identity. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: During a recent organisational consultation the researchers realised that a so-called silo phenomenon had much more unexplained unconscious behaviour than was traditionally realised in terms of organisational development. It is hoped that findings from this qualitative study could give consultants entry into what happens below the surface in the silos' unconscious. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A qualitative and descriptive research design using a case study strategy was used. Data gathering consisted of 25 narrative interviews. Using discourse analysis four themes manifested, integrated into four working hypotheses and a research hypothesis. Trustworthiness and ethical standards were ensured. MAIN FINDINGS: Themes that emerged were the physical environment and structure, intragroup relations, experiences of management, and intergroup relations. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Consulting on silo behaviour as physical structures only may not be successful in changing organisational behaviour. The silo resembles an iceberg -the largest part is below the surface. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The findings evidenced silo behaviour to be an unconscious phenomenon influencing team identity negatively. Consultants are urged to study these manifestations towards understanding silos and their effect on team identity better. <![CDATA[<b>Working with boundaries in systems psychodynamic consulting</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The researcher described the systems psychodynamics of boundary management in organisations. The data showed how effective boundary management leads to good holding environments that, in turn, lead to containing difficult emotions. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to produce a set of theoretical assumptions about organisational boundaries and boundary management in organisations and, from these, to develop a set of hypotheses as a thinking framework for practising consulting psychologists when they work with boundaries from a systems psychodynamic stance. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The researcher used the belief that organisational boundaries reflect the essence of organisations. Consulting to boundary managers could facilitate a deep understanding of organisational dynamics. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researcher followed a case study design. He used systems psychodynamic discourse analysis. It led to six working hypotheses. MAIN FINDINGS: The primary task of boundary management is to hold the polarities of integration and differentiation and not allow the system to become fragmented or overly integrated. Boundary management is a primary task and an ongoing activity of entire organisations. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Organisations should work actively at effective boundary management and at balancing integration and differentiation. Leaders should become aware of how effective boundary management leads to good holding environments that, in turn, lead to containing difficult emotions in organisations. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The researcher provided a boundary-consulting framework in order to assist consultants to balance the conceptual with the practical when they consult. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the (k)not of relationship between lecturers and management at a historically Black university</b>: <b>the lecturer's perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Within the new South African socio-political context this research focussed on lecturers' at historically Black universities who were confronted with unresolved experiences in their relationship with management. The analysis of these experiences provided an in-depth understanding of systems psychodynamics in tertiary education. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe the experiences of nine lecturers in a particular historically Black university (HBU), in order to analyse and interpret the conscious and unconscious dynamics operating in their relationship with management. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The researchers were interested in the in-depth psychological experiences of lecturers at this HBU as a platform towards understanding present day South African lecturing experiences. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative, descriptive research was used. Hermeneutic phenomenology, using the systems psychodynamic perspective, allowed for the description and interpretation of the lecturers' experiences of their relationship with management. In-depth interviews with nine lecturers were thematically analysed which resulted in five themes. Five working hypotheses were formulated and integrated into the research hypothesis. MAIN FINDINGS: Five themes manifested, namely, the (k)not of performance, mutual disqualification and mistrust, White lecturers and Black management, power struggle and the (k)not of relationship. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The research highlighted the importance of understanding the psychodynamics operating in the relationship between lecturers and management as a result of certain ineffective socio-technical aspects in the organisation. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The research contributed towards knowledge about inter-group relations between different role players in HBUs and how these dynamics impact on the performance of both lecturers and management. <![CDATA[<b>Constructing a systems psychodynamic wellness model</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The researchers constructed a Systems Psychodynamic Wellness Model (SPWM) by merging theory and concepts from systems psychodynamics and positive psychology. They then refined the model for application in organisations during a Listening Post (LP) that comprised experienced subject experts. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to construct and refine the SPWM in order to understand psychological wellness at the individual, group and organisational levels. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: There is no psychological wellness model that integrates the principles of systems psychodynamics and positive psychology. Systems psychodynamics traditionally focuses on so-called negative behaviour whilst positive psychology tends to idealise positive behaviour. This research tried to merge these views in order to apply them to individual, group and organisational behaviour. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researchers used qualitative, descriptive and conceptual research. They conducted an in-depth literature study to construct the model. They then refined it using the LP. MAIN FINDINGS: The researchers identified 39 themes. They categorised them into three different levels. Three first-level themes emerged as the highest level of integration: identity, hope and love. The nine second-level themes each consisted of three more themes. They were less complex and abstract than the first-level themes. The least complex 27 third-level themes followed. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: One can apply the SPWM as a qualitative diagnostic tool for understanding individual, group and organisational wellness and for consulting on systemic wellness. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The SPWM offers a model for understanding individual, group and organisational wellness and for consulting on systemic wellness. <![CDATA[<b>The systems psychodynamic experiences of first-year master's students in industrial and organisational psychology</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The researchers described the experiences of first-year master's students in industrial and organisational psychology in terms of their anxiety and basic assumption behaviour. Apart from their academic tasks, they seem to be unconsciously involved in many relationship and relatedness matters. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this research was to describe the systems psychodynamic experiences of first-year master's students in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Academic staff members tend to forget their own experiences as master's students, lose touch with their students' experiences, lose empathy and treat student groups in mechanistic ways. Although the students' conscious tasks and roles are relatively clear, very little is known about their unconscious experiences. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researchers used qualitative research involving a case study. They collected the data and conducted their analyses by administering a Listening Post (LP) and discourse analysis. Two themes emerged, from which the researchers formulated their working and research hypotheses. MAIN FINDINGS: The themes related to anxiety and basic assumption behaviour. The research hypothesis referred to students' introjections of emotional incompetence. This resulted in exhaustion. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: More focused attention to the students' emotional experiences, by themselves and by academic staff members, could conserve students' energy for their academic work and relationships. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Being master's students consumes emotional energy that jeopardises students' academic work and forming relationships. Being aware of these and managing them could help students to achieve better academically. <![CDATA[<b>Leadership coaching experiences of clients with Alexithymia</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Leaders who find it difficult to connect emotionally with colleagues are often seen as incompetent, the idea that they may suffer from alexithymia - an inability to feel -is not taken into account. This coaching model seemed to be not successful in changing this behaviour pattern. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe the coaching experiences of leaders with symptoms of alexithymia and to formulate hypotheses around their leadership experiences. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Effective leadership is strongly associated with emotional connections with colleagues. Leaders suffering from alexithymia, struggle with making these connections. It was thought that coaching might help them bridge the gap towards building effective relationships. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A qualitative research design using case studies was used. Three participants underwent 10 months of systems psychodynamic leadership coaching, including role analysis. Researcher's field notes and participant essays were discourse analysed. The researcher's unconscious experiences were included in the interpretations. MAIN FINDINGS: Five themes manifested themselves namely, leaders' difficult experiences with coaching, the dynamics underlying their normative, experiential and phenomenal roles and the coach's unconscious experiences affecting the relationship. The research hypothesis referred to the differences between the role parts and the resulting anxiety. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: This coaching model did not provide sufficient opportunities for the participating leaders with regard to emotional reactivity and regulation. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The research created awareness of how alexithymia amongst leaders manifests in organisations. Unfortunately the coaching was unsuccessful in addressing the emotional task. Other ways need to be explored. <![CDATA[<b>Diversity dynamics operating between students, lecturers and management in a historically Black university</b>: <b>the lecturers' perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200016&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The historically Black and White universities in South Africa were shaped by apartheid policies (Abdi, 2003). This research project started, within this socio-political context, because lecturers in a historically Black university (HBU) were confronted with unresolved experiences concerning their relationship with students and management. The researcher describes the diversity dynamics in a historically Black university, by forming an in-depth understanding of these dynamics, operating in the relationship between the students, lecturers and management, from the systems psychodynamic perspective. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe the experiences of nine lecturers in a particular HBU. This was undertaken to analyse and interpret the conscious and unconscious diversity dynamics operating in the relationship between the students, lecturers and management, from the lecturers' perspective. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The researcher was interested in the nature of the diversity dynamics operating in the relationship between students, lecturers and management in an HBU, as a platform towards understanding diversity dynamics in educational institutions and South African organisations. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative and descriptive research approaches were used. Hermeneutic phenomenology, using the systems psychodynamic perspective, allowed for the description and interpretation of diversity dynamics operating in the relationship between the students, lecturers and management. The data were obtained through in-depth interviews with nine lecturers. Thematic analysis resulted in two broad themes for which a discussion was provided and a research hypothesis formulated. MAIN FINDINGS: Two broad themes manifested, firstly diversity characteristics and secondly struggle skills entrenching the Black and White divide. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The research highlighted the importance of understanding the diversity dynamics operating in the relationship between students, lecturers and management. This was in order to develop our understanding of diversity dynamics operating in educational institutions specifically, and organisations in general. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The understanding about diversity dynamics is available for application, by lecturers and management, to form a different understanding of conscious and unconscious factors impacting on the relationship between the three stakeholders, and subsequently the effectiveness of the three stakeholders in their respective roles. This understanding can also be transferred to other organisations. <![CDATA[<b>Transforming a small business</b>: <b>a learning intervention</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200017&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: This article reports on a learning intervention in a brokers company with fewer than 50 employees. A rich description of the participants' experience is provided. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to explore the use of an experiential learning process during an organisation development (OD) intervention in a small business by means of a case study. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: This study explored the important role of small businesses; the role of management; and, more specifically, organisation development models that were developed for large corporations; as these emphasise the need to study the purpose of organisation development interventions in small businesses. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The study reported on in this article was a qualitative case study in a small brokers company with 21 staff members. The data were analysed manually by means of qualitative content analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: The main finding of the research concerned how experiential learning intervention provided a space for participants to start exploring, and gradually changing the dynamics of their small business, by transforming their business into a more formal company. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The primary implication is that experiential learning interventions that are operationalised, from a psychodynamic perspective, can be valuable when consulted by small businesses during their transformation towards becoming more formal companies. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This article contributes to the OD literature on small businesses, with fewer than 50 employees, by providing data on how the learning process, that commenced during an experiential learning intervention, assisted a small company to develop its identity towards that of a more formal company. <![CDATA[<b>Psychological experiences in South African society before the 2010 FIFA World Cup from the systems psychodynamic and positive psychology perspectives</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200018&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: The researchers conducted a literature review to analyse the assumptions of systems psychodynamics, the Tavistock model of group relations, object relations theory and the most relevant constructs in the systems psychodynamic perspective. They then described the assumptions and most relevant constructs in the positive psychology perspective in order to analyse theoretically the psychological effect of large-scale sports events on a community or country. The objective of the empirical study was to investigate some of the unconscious emotions, fears, anxieties and conflicts (dynamics) that prevailed in South Africa before the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup and some of the positive emotional experiences associated with it. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to analyse and describe the psychological experiences of South Africans before the 2010 FIFA World Cup. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researchers conducted the study from the systems psychodynamic and positive psychology perspectives. The study comprised a qualitative, explorative and social phenomenological study. The researchers conducted interviews with a wide range of their colleagues and clients. MAIN FINDINGS: The results seemed to indicate that South Africans had had a number of positive and negative experiences before the 2010 FIFA World Cup. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The researchers presented the findings as a number of systems psychodynamic and positive psychology themes. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study presents original research that contributes valuable new knowledge to the positive psychology and systems psychodynamic perspectives. <![CDATA[<b>Group-as-a-whole as a context for studying individual behaviour</b>: <b>a group diagnostic intervention</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200019&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: Traditionalists view group interventions from three perspectives: singletons, dyads and whole groups. The focus of this research was on interventions from the third perspective, that of the whole group, using a systems psychodynamic stance. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to use group-as-a-whole to study individual behaviour in organisations. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Team research and practice is not on a par with the complexities that teams actually experience. Traditional group interventions use humanistic and functionalistic paradigms that do not consider the unconscious functioning of groups. Interventions that use the system psychodynamic paradigm could address these dynamics because they study behaviour of individual group members in the context of the group-as-a-whole. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researcher conducted action research in a publishing company. He used purposive sampling and analysed the data using qualitative content analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: The researcher found that the group-as-a-whole partly explains the behaviour of team members and that intervening from this perspective could improve negative relationships. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Managers can use interventions that use the group-as-a-whole concept as a diagnostic intervention to study and possibly change the complex behavioural issues that team members experience. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The findings give one an understanding of the behaviour of individual group members when one views it from a systems psychodynamic stance. Furthermore, the researcher proposes a group diagnostic intervention that will allow some of the root causes of poor interpersonal behaviour to surface and group members to diagnose and take ownership of their own behaviour. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the meaning of trauma in the South African Police Service</b>: <b>a systems psychodynamic perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2071-07632012000200020&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt ORIENTATION: This study explores individual stories of trauma and their dissonance with the official, dominant discourse on trauma in the South African Police Service (SAPS) from a systems psychodynamic perspective. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was, firstly, to explore how trauma experienced by South African Police Service members is constructed or 'talked about' and made sense of. Questions and issues that are considered relevant to the primary purpose are: which aspects of the working environment do members consider to be the most stressful, traumatic and difficult to cope with, and what is the effect of the change and transition processes on members' working experiences? MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The authors set out to explore the role of systems psychodynamics in the experience of trauma and stress in the SAPS. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Through this qualitative, explorative, social phenomenological study, contributing circumstances and processes are included as additional discourses in an attempt to deepen understanding. The epistemology viewpoint of the study is found in the social constructionism and the data comprise 15 essays by members of the SAPS, all of which have been analysed from the perspective of systems psychodynamics. MAIN FINDINGS: Although the effect of trauma on police officers can never be negated, the way in which they deal with trauma seems to be different from what was initially believed. Further, their experience of stress is not solely the result of traumatic experiences but rather the result of traumatic experiences and systems psychodynamics operating within their organisation -which includes both organisational stressors or dynamics and transformation dynamics. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The history of psychological trauma indicates that constructions of traumatic stress are strongly related to cultural, social and political circumstances. Current psychoanalytic thinking emphasises the meaning of the real occurrence, which causes trauma by changing the person's experience of the self in relation to self-objects. Practical implications are the loss of the supportive subculture of the police, the loss of masculinity, as well as the loss of the power to be competent and meaningful. Furthermore, feelings of being overwhelmed, powerless and helpless generate anxiety and may have a significant impact on officers' self-esteem and impede their feelings of omnipotence and invulnerability, which are necessary to cope in the policing environment. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The current study found various traumatic and systems-psychodynamic factors and processes to be anxiety-provoking as a result of exposure to trauma. Without a supportive social group the anxiety becomes uncontained and unmanageable.