• workplace culture;
  • organizational change;
  • Practice Development;
  • psychodynamics

Walsh KD, Crisp J, Moss C. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2011; 17: 205–212

Psychodynamic perspectives on organizational change and their relevance to Transformational Practice Development

In this paper we draw on the organizational psychodynamic literature, from Menzies 1960 seminal work to contemporary writers such as Manfred Kets de Vries and Adrian Carr as well as our own experience to highlight three critical paradoxes in the psychodynamics of health services. The paper highlights that behaviour and ways of interacting are influenced by intrapersonal mechanisms; and these mechanisms are critically important in the evolution of workplace cultures, and markedly influence organizational functioning. These mechanisms (and the paradoxes they pose) need to be considered in any initiative, such as Practice Development, that seeks to engage staff in workplace reform. By better understanding the psychodynamics of the workplace, we will in turn be better able to understand the mechanisms underlying the success of Practice Development processes, use these more deliberately and develop new and better processes in order to further improve the efficacy of Transformational Practice Development as an approach to practice change.