ABSTRACT

This chapter looks into how psychological defences are subconsciously established in both individuals and groups and demonstrates how these mechanisms will influence cooperation.

Psychological defences can have different levels of maturity, and the authors present a model with three levels: splitting, regression, and integration, where integration is the most mature level.

A certain level of defence is necessary to remain psychologically healthy and “keeping the psyche together” by filtering impressions from your self and the surrounding world. But too much filtering can cause the understanding of reality to be too unequivocal, too narrow, and too fixed. The effect of this is that one’s grasp of reality weakens, because reality offers many different interpretations, each of which may present new possibilities.

Therefore, when groups or organisations stagnate at too low a level of maturity, it can seriously damage performance and productivity.

The chapter furthermore explains the concept of projection and projective identification to deepen the understanding of the dynamic organisational processes.

The text is illuminated by cases.