Group Processes

Most people in their professional lives rely on cooperation and are integrated into a department, group or team. In most cases we cannot choose our employees and colleagues. If our work is to be successful we must come to arrangements with them and coordinate our wishes, interests and actions with each other. Obstacles stand in the way of this process of coordination which are only partially apparent.

Social adjustment in groups also always occurs unconsciously. When working together just as when living together, the same relationship patterns that have developed in one’s first formative experiences of relationships with parents, siblings, early friends, rivals etc. are (re-) activated. These patterns are activated automatically without our thinking about them or actively controlling them.

In a team of staff, expectations, power struggles or jostling for a position close to one’s boss are reconciled largely beneath the threshold of consciousness. Rivalries for position and power are not in many cases experienced consciously at all. Members of staff may be aggrieved and not feel at easy in the team without being able to give any reason for this. This means that we do not perceive the hurdles that stand in the way of cooperation within a company. These hurdles cannot of course be discussed and resolved in staff or team meetings without an external specialist. Many people in their company have the experience of nothing really changing in spite of a variety of discussions and efforts.

If grievances, internal burdens and unconscious disappointments gain the upper hand they are no longer adequately processed and can produce symptoms that severely disrupt group processes. The unconscious group dynamic has far more influence over our everyday working life than most highly elaborated “management-by-something” instruments.

In order to solve problems which the team cannot itself tackle it is advisable to call in a professional expert from outside who, on the one hand, is not involved in the group dynamic and, on the other hand, has the specific abilities and experience to understand and point out the unconscious group dynamic.

The psychoanalytically oriented human resources trainer helps a team to develop a sensitivity for previously unconscious structures of action and decision-making and to incorporate this into the group process. Keeping a keen eye out for unconscious processes results in a readiness to change perspectives, courage in ones’ intuition and the application of creativity. The accompanying changes in the structures of action and decision-making of the group can be reflected in the working atmosphere and thus to a not inconsiderable degree in the success of the business.

Analytically I distinguish between the following levels within group processes:

  • relational dynamics between employees and management
  • dynamics and cooperation in teams
  • interaction between departments
  • effects of organizational structure on the disposition of staff

I offer the promotion of group processes and team work as an internal company event. The implementation modalities depend on the framework conditions of the company. If you are interested, we can clarify in preliminary discussions the way in which these processes can best be promoted in your department or team.


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