This is a video of Mannie Sher’s lecture on Organisational Diagnosis to members of the annual group relations conference in China, 2013, organised under the auspices of Oezpa Consulting, Germany.
Mannie stresses the importance of making accurate organisational diagnoses by asking why the client organisation seeks consultancy at this time; by acknowledging the need for understanding the client’s total organisational system and being rather sceptical of the client’s prior definitions of problems. Mannie argues for making a thorough examination of the total system –understanding the ‘product’, the sector the organisation operates in, the people, the organisation’s legal basis, and concepts, ideas and values that move the organisation. Mannie describes the care that is necessary for the consultant/s coming from the ‘outside’ to the ‘inside’ of the organisation, because they enter with relatively little knowledge of the organisation and its challenges leading possibly to quick and erroneous conclusions.
Mannie describes the use of ‘feelings’ in diagnostic work, in assessing how people, sections and departments relate to one another – taking into account variables of product, people, information, data sharing, etc. The diagnostic phase can include offering tentative working hypotheses to key stakeholders and observing their reactions; gaining access to the right levels of seniority and right combinations of people, making organisational diagnosis as wide and as deep as possible.
Mannie refers to the importance of examining assumptions of client (‘we know what the problem is’) and consultant (‘clients will participate with the consultant in reaching a diagnosis jointly’); ensuring that people who join the consultant/s in diagnosis-making have to power to make requisite changes across the organisation.
The video discusses the assumption that people in the system have the solutions to their own problems; that the consultant/s should aim to increase individual and group authority for effecting change across the whole system, not just their part of it.
The constructs of ‘anxiety’ and ‘defences against anxiety’ are referred to as sources of ‘wastage’ of technical and product materials, and of human resources through holding back, avoiding stepping up for leadership roles and resisting strategic and cultural change and the unconscious reasons for these.
Mannie Sher is the Director of the Group Relations Programme; Principal Researcher & Consultant in Organisational Development & Change, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
Watch the video
Many thanks to Hüseyin Özdemir, Managing Director, oezpa Akademie & Consulting for this interview.
Copyright: oezpa GmbH 2014