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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200


EEDEN, René van. Exploring the development of an organisational culture of control and dependency from a systems psychodynamic perspective. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2010, vol.36, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 2071-0763.

ORIENTATION: Globalisation and accelerating rates of change characterise the work environment. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this research was to study the impact of the change process at a plant of a South African production company. MOTIVATIONS FOR THE STUDY: Problems were experienced in terms of production and a need for transformation at different levels was expressed. Co-dependence in the environment necessitated exploration of intra-organisational dynamics. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The study focused on the management team at a specific plant, but by applying the systems psychodynamic perspective it was possible to also explore the mutual effect of relationships with other systems in the organisation, the company as a whole and the environment. Respondents included the directors of manufacturing and of human resources, the general manager, an 11-member management team and staff representatives. Semi-structured one-to-one interviews, group interviews and a group consultation session were held. MAIN FINDINGS: Hypotheses were formulated regarding the change experienced in the company, the overemphasis of control in the various systems, efforts to move from dependency to interdependence, personal authority as a requirement for interdependent functioning and problems with interrelatedness. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The study illustrates the application of the systems psychodynamic approach in exploring the interaction between and mutual influence of various organisational systems, especially in times of change. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE ADD: At a broader level, the study contributes to the understanding of the application of the theory as well as suggesting the use of a methodology. Recommendations for an intervention of this nature were also made.

Keywords : organisational behaviour; organisational dynamics; group relations theory; open systems theory; psychoanalysis.

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