dinsdag 15 september 2015

Blog 4 Level 3. Leadership in the psychodynamic structure

At the psychodynamic level the relationship between leaders and members is determined by the group imago, and based on the implicit script based expectations of both leaders and members. 

Each of us has learned about leadership and membership in our first experience of group, which is usually our family of origin. This is the domain in which we create our first script beliefs, about leadership and membership. These colour our group imagoes until they are decontaminated and clarified. 

The leadership focus at this level is on managing the culture and on clarifying the group imago to minimize the archaic influence on actual performance. This is done through a continuous process of decontamination of the leadership-membership relationship. 

Berne (1964) defined three elements of organizational culture : the etiquette, techniques and character of a culture as introjected and experienced by the individual (Drego, 1983). 

Figure 7. Organizational script matrix 

In our archaic scripts the leader is seen as omnipotent. In the process of decontamination the leader has to become more of a delegating mentor, to gradually create a culture of realistic expectations, competency and participative leadership. 

Leadership is a position in the organizational structure, a relationship in the relational structure and an imago in the psychodynamic structure of organizations. 

All the levels of leadership are active at the same time, and require a different focus. 

In the organizational structure leadership is focussed on managing the permeability of the boundaries, and can be likened to be being a boundary DJ with a three slide mixing panel 

In the relational structure leadership is focussed at increasing cohesion, to counter act any disruptive pressure, agitation or intrigue. Leadership at this level is focussed on improving the relationships within the organization by balancing the rewards and costs of membership. 

In the psychodynamic structure leadership is focussed on clarifying the group imago and decontaminating archaic transferential processes on leadership. Leadership at this level is preoccupied with creating and maintaining clear communication and a healthy culture of performance. 

Leadership is most powerful when all three levels of leadership are managed in a congruent way. 

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woensdag 2 september 2015

Blog 3: Level 2. Leadership of the individual structure

In the individual structure leadership is defined as the ability to influence others to achieve break through performance. In Berne’s terms this concerns the effective leadership, based on the authority of the person in their role (persona).

It is supported by the personal authority of the leader and the laws and regulations governing group dynamics.

At this level the focus of leadership is to manage relationships and enhance group cohesion to counteract dysfunctional group dynamics.

Figure 4. Managing cohesion

Cohesion is the need of members to preserve the existence of the group (Berne, 1966). It is the cohesive force, which can counter act the disruptive forces of pressure, agitation and intrigue. When there is not a balance between the disruptive dynamics and the internal cohesion the group becomes a combat or process group, instead of a work group.

At this level leadership is focussed on increasing cohesion in a group. Research shows us that the more cohesive a group, the higher the performance (wageman et al. 2008).

On the whole there are three strategies to increase cohesion:

1. Increase the interpersonal attraction Lewin (1952, p 162) Festinger et al (1950) by:
  • Increasing perceived similarity between members
  • Increase the interdependence of shared goals
  • Increase the social interaction in the group
2. Enhance the social identity (Tajfel, )
  • Create a positive in-group and a negative out-group
  • Minimize intergroup differences and maximize intergroup differences
  • Manipulate social beliefs about mobility, the possibility of change and legitimacy of the group to encourage people to stay
3. Social exchange strategy (thiebault et al, )
  • Increase the reward while lowering the cost of membership, while manipulating the number of options outside the group, the investment of the members in the group and the expectations of the group.
For example using this last strategy there are several important implications for increasing cohesion. To increase cohesion it is important for leadership to keep tabs on the rewards versus the cost of membership. Leadership can pursue a strategy based on giving higher than average salaries for instance, and/or lower the cost of membership by introducing flexible work hours, transport options, day care etc.

Apart from reward and cost, the leadership can influence cohesion through the three mediating factors. For instance you if you are the only employer in that region offering this type of job, there are limited options. If the members have invested a lot of work for a long time in the organization, their investment is large and they will be more reluctant to leave. Lastly if the organization exceeds the previous expectations of members, than people will be more likely to stay.

For example, Claas Hungaria is the only large employer offering his type of agricultural engineering job in the East of Hungary. People enter the company at a very young age, often passing on the job from father to son, and they stay still for lifetime employment. They offer a very good benefits package, compared to Hungarian employers, because their benefits are modeled on the German head office packages. They actively increase the benefits of membership by offering for example sports facilities and transportation to and from work.

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dinsdag 18 augustus 2015

Blog 2: Level 1. Leadership in the organizational structure 

In the organizational structure leadership is defined as a role in the organizational hierarchy. It is distinguished from organizational membership, through the major internal boundary.

This is the domain of what Berne (1964) called the responsible leaders. They lead on the basis of their formal position and the sanction and reward power that are associated with that position. This is supported by the organizational constitution, which describes the purpose, boundaries, tasks and procedures in a group.

At this level the task of leadership is to manage the organizational boundaries and processes to fulfil the purpose of the organization. I believe at this level the main focus of leadership should be dealing with three major organizational dilemmas concerning boundaries.

Figure 3. Organizational boundaries and paradoxes

- Paradox 1: You can maximize the reactivity to market - open major external boundary - or the corporate identity – closed major external boundary - but not maximally at the same time.
- Paradox 2: You can maximize delegation - open major internal boundary - or control– closed major internal boundary - but not maximally at the same time.
- Paradox 3: You can maximize the independence- open minor internal boundaries  - or interdependence– closed minor internal boundaries - but not maximally at the same time.

Leadership of organizational structure is like being a D.J.
At this level leadership is like being a D.J. with a boundary mixing panel with three switches. You open or close boundaries depending on the purpose of the organization and the dynamics in the environment.

For example if the organization’s purpose is to produce at maximum efficiency at the same quality level time after time in a stable environment, the major internal and external boundaries and minor boundaries should be more closed. As a consequence the organization will be characterized by a strong corporate identity, with centralized control and independent business units.

Think of a corporation like MacDonald’s, an international company with affiliates all over the world, that has to produce hamburgers in the same way with the same quality everywhere. They have a relatively stable market, and low level work, so they don’t need a lot of innovative input from the market, and they need a clear hierarchical structure to deal with the routine tasks. All the processes are standardized, so there is little need for delegation of leadership to employees.

Another example is an organization whose purpose is to innovate and remain flexible in a fast moving market, like Apple. In that case it is important to be reactive to the market, and keep a more open external boundary, and encourage interdisciplinary cooperation amongst departments through more open minor internal boundaries. To keep the organization stable with this kind of openness it is important that the leadership remains directive and stable, underpinned with clear processes.

Every opening or closing of one boundary effects the opening or closing of the other boundaries. Every organization has to maintain a dynamic balance between open and closed boundaries to serve their purpose at different times. I will write more on this in my upcoming book on organizational transactional analysis – On the edge.

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