Social Defenses and 21st Century Organizations: A tribute to the contribution of Isabel Menzies Lyth

Journal Article or Monograph

Title: Social Defenses and 21st Century Organizations: A tribute to the contribution of Isabel Menzies Lyth
Year: 2010
Authors: Krantz, J.
Abstract:

The author addresses the concept of social defences as originated by Isabel Menzies Lyth. He reviews the origin and development of the concept, discusses some of the challenges encountered in using it in the service of meaningful change, and finally highlights some features of emerging 21st century organizations that are well suited for social defence analysis. Social defences, in Menzies Lyth's sense, are aspects of organizations that: (1) exist independently of their members, such as structures and policies; and (2) come to serve the purpose of reinforcing peoples' defences against the primitive anxieties stimulated in the workplace. The concept illuminates otherwise hidden sources of resistance to change and, as such, provides a valuable perspective on the challenges of continuous change and adaptation required of contemporary organizations.

Keywords: social defense, organizational psychodynamics, Isabel Menzies Lyth, Tavistock Institute
Language: English


Journal: British Journal of Psychotherapy
Volume: 26
Issue: 2
Start page: 191
End page: 202
ISSN:
Publisher ID:

Submitted by:
James Krantz

Corresponding author:

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