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Title: The 'disconnect' phenomenon : an unconcscious process that can adversley affect organisational learning and change
Author: Davis, Sonia Gail.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3417 8593
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol,
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2007
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The foLLowing thesis sets out to explore a phenomenon that I have called the 'disconnect': an unconscious process metaphorically made up of mechanisms of defence and resistances to change that can adversely affect organisational learning and change. In order to explore the 'disconnect'. phenomenon I developed a research approach that was based on traditional Action Research (Lewin 1946) and my training as an individual therapist and group analyst. The aim of my research was to develop a model of organisational learning and change that accommodated both a 'traditional' approach to organisational learning and change (Vince 1996) and an approach that works explicitly with the emotional and relational needs of the organisation's employees. My research took place in a range of diverse organisations that were in the midst of major change programmes and involved working with Board level teams. InitiaLLy I worked with research participants on a 1: 1 basis replicating aspects of my own psychoanalysis but later discovered that learning and change acquired in the 1: 1 setting was not always transferable to a peer group situation. Whilst the organisations were diverse the responses evoked in research participants as a consequence of imposed organisational change appeared to be similar and corresponded to the defence mechanisms associated with 'survival anxiety' (Nitsun 1996). I discovered that it was also possible to liken aspects of the 'disconnect' phenomenon with 'espoused theory and theory in use' (Argyris and Schon 1974), and 'attacks on linking' (Bion 1967) as research participants in the grip of 'survival anxiety' temporarily lost the ability to connect thinking, feeling and meaning. Another aspect of the 'disconnect' phenomenon uncovered by my research was loss, as a consequence of the need for research participants to 'unlearn' their resistances to change and mechanisms of defence in order to embrace the new. This was an incredibly painful and frightening experience that for some was experienced as a 'narcissistic hurt' (Foulkes 1975 p.168) or for those unable to manage the change process a realisation that their peers had left them behind. All of these factors fed back into survival anxiety and the 'disconnect' phenomenon.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available