The Art of Group Analysis in Organisations: The Use of Intuitive and Experiential Knowledge

Author(s) : Gerhard Wilke

The Art of Group Analysis in Organisations: The Use of Intuitive and Experiential Knowledge

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Leaders, teams and organisational consultants are faced with a situation of permanent transitions. The current world of organisations is full of beginnings and incomplete endings. The author assumes that the endless re-structuring of living networks of relationships in organisations generates, over time, post-traumatic stress disorder in individuals, groups and the whole system.

The book deals with the paradox that continuity is the most important factor in change and that leadership alone solves very little. Even the most heroic figure flounders without the help of the various groups in the organisation, which make things work. The author reflects on his practice of developing teams, professionals and organisations with an approach rooted in group analysis and social anthropology.

The dominant way of looking at performance, motivation and leadership focuses on individuals and fails to take into account how we work together, how we fail to co-operate and how inter-dependent we are. The author wants to shift the attention of the professional consultant and organisational leader away from the individual to the group and whole networks of inter-dependent groups. This book spells out what practical use a group analytic consultant can be for an organisation in transition or in need of adaptation.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Gerhard Wilke’s book is a study of conscious and unconscious organisational dynamics during transitions and turbulent times. I consider it a textbook on organisational consultancy and strongly recommend it.’
— Vamık D. Volkan, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Virginia

‘The book challenges ideas we take for granted and inspired me to take a fresh and critical look at my own leadership style.’
— Kasper Holten, Director of Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London

’Finally a book about working with organisations that demonstrates the value of group analytic thinking from an experienced, theoretically agile practitioner.’
— Sue Einhorn, Institute of Group Analysis, London

‘Gerhard Wilke has, with his tremendous experience and great professional insight, a rare ability to describe the human relationships we are all a part of but tend to ignore, at considerable cost, when we manage our organisations.’
— Kim Bohr, Director of Music for Danish radio and television

‘Reading this book is a real pleasure. In so many different ways it illuminates the importance of small and large groups and goes against the prevailing Zeitgeist of individualism.’
— Gerda Winther, ex-President, Group Analytic Society

‘Change management seems to be the mantra for organising health, education, and science. Gerhard Wilke gives value to intuition and dares to confront the realities of human life at work, which includes human imperfection, grief, and death.’
— Dr Anne Lindhardt, Head of Mental Health Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

‘Our NHS is in constant flux as politicians from all ends of the spectrum use it as their plaything in their belief that only they can make it work. This inspiring book helps us understand what it does to us, and through us, the patients we serve. It should be a “must-read” not only for all of us who work within the health service, but also for those policy makers who expose us to the constant turmoil of change.’
— Dr Clare Gerada, CEO, Royal College of General Practitioners, London

‘The book explains why it is time to move beyond quantification and objectified research results as a guide to action in the real and subjective world.’
— Professor Alfred Jacoby, Director, Dessau Institute of Architecture, Germany

‘In politics and in the administration of the state, groups and how to lead them is often the key to success or failure. This book will help politicians, civil servants, and consultants adjust their practice.’
— Johannes Beermann, Minister of State, State of Saxony, Germany

About the Author(s)

Gerhard Wilke is an Associate of Ashridge Business School and an independent organisational consultant. His consultancy work with client organisations is rooted in practical anthropological inquiry and in group analysis. Gerhard is a member of the Institute of Group Analysis, London; Group Analytic Society International and a Fellow of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy. He works with the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary of the state government of Saxony in Germany and the National Institute for Health Research to develop the leadership skills of the Bio-Medical Research Community in England.

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