chapter  Twelve
18 Pages

Brilliant stupidity: madness in organizational life—a perspective from organizational consultancy

WithTim Dartington

This chapter explores the way that concepts derived from psychoanalytic practice with individuals and groups can contribute to the understanding of disturbed organizational processes. It draws on examples from group relations consultancy and work with human service organizations in the public sector. The transposition of psychoanalytic insights from the consulting room to the organizational context has its historical origin in the creative collaboration of psychologists and psychiatrists in wartime and post-war recovery. A mature organizational culture with a more integrated/depressive mode of functioning can be self-questioning of its ability to complete the primary task, because it is able to accept the possibility of failure. A primary care trust with a charismatic and successful CEO was looking to develop its organizational culture, moving from an unwieldy bureaucracy, with different divisions working as "silos", to a small, more proactive matrix organization.