Through an international partnership, we are helping to promote social change-makers’ wellbeing.
The Organisational Exploratory Program showcases the global reach of The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) expertise, and the desire we have as an organisation to contribute to the betterment of the conditions individuals, organisations, and societies face across the world. In late 2018 TIHR was sought out by The Wellbeing Project (TWP) to become a partner in the Organisational Exploratory Program (OEP) and collaborate with the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin to evaluate the project’s progress and impact. Our expertise in organisational change, intersubjective approaches to wellbeing, and the social processes occurring within groups and organisations allow us to bring a unique level of insight to the project.
The OEP involves eight ‘social change’ organisations from across the world participating in a 2-year programme to make promoting and safeguarding staff wellbeing more central to their work cultures. These organisations, known as ‘change-makers’, all focus on caring or helping others in some capacity, and work to achieve positive social change and/or social justice. As social change organisations are often so focused on helping others, the importance of their own wellbeing and self-care are often marginalised, leading to higher rates of burnout, depression, divorce, for example. The OEP seeks to address this issue, not only for the benefit of the change-makers involved, but for the benefit of the people or causes change-makers endeavour to serve. With the support of TWP, The Centre for Healthy Minds, and TIHR, representatives from each participating organisation will implement projects within their organisations to promote wellbeing. TIHR’s role involves delivering a developmental evaluation of the project and leading on the qualitative components of the outcome evaluation. We will be working closely with our international partners to provide a flexible, robust, and forward-thinking evaluation of the programme.
Participating organisations’ work ranges from rainforest conservation in Brazil, dynamic and culturally appropriate hip-hop based youth programs in Canada, and education and community development in Asia and Africa. Working with such a diverse range of organisations devoted to so many important causes has been an exciting prospect for the TIHR staff involved, and provides the opportunity to further the values we promote as individuals and an organisation. Moreover, the challenges of exploring organisational wellbeing in so many different forms and cultural contexts poses a stimulating challenge for our researchers and consultants. As the project develops, we are eager not only to learn more about how organisational wellbeing can take shape in different contexts but also about the approaches of our international partners and the new and exciting forms of data generated by the experimental methods we have chosen. The programme is an exciting addition to our repertoire.
Picture of OEP participants creating ‘organisation in the mind’ sculpture, in a recent retreat as part of the TIHR developmental evaluation