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Title: Tasks, emotions and emotional tasks. A study on the interconnection between social defence systems and containment in organisations.
Author: Mendes , Tiago de Sousa
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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The application of psychoanalytic understanding to organizations has been a rich field of research and development, with a vast number of studies and a history spanning several decades (Anderson and Vlhite 2002, Miller 1990, Irist and Murray 1990). One of the most fertile concepts arising from this work has been Social Defence Systems, first put forward by Elliott Jaques (Jaques 1953;). More recently containment (Bion 1962b) appeared as pan of the psychoanalytic approach to organizations, thougl:l the interconnections between these two concepts are not easy to pinpoint. In fact, organizational life is sometimes seen as ranging from defensive to containing and these concepts appear as opposites along the same continuum, probably partially due to the same dichotomy being present in the clinical setting. This thesis addresses the relation between Social Defence Systems and containment in organisations, using Bion's (1965) notion of Vertices in order to bridge the two concepts. Thus empirical research was conducted in a mental health institution using the method observing organizations (Hinshelwood and Skogstad 2000), and criteria for both concepts were devised from the data. A series of 56 vignettes depicting the interactions between staff and patients were analysed using both sets of criteria. The data show that Social Defences were not activated in the cases where flexible containment was observed. However, in the cases where rigid containment was observed, Social Defences were activated and it could be said that the two concepts overlap. In the vignettes where fragmented containment was observed, the initial moment of interaction, was followed by a second moment of defence. Thus Social Defence Systems and Mal Adaptative Containment can be seen as two different perspectives stemming from two different vertices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available