• 04 December 2013

    Seminar Series 10: Lecture 2 - Dr Mannie Sher

    Location: The Teacher Building , St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB
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    Dr Mannie Sher

    Director, Group Relations Programme & Principal OD Consultant, Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

    Who are the real insane? Our perceptions of disordered thinking and behaviour as defences against imagination

    In this seminar, Mannie explored the social dimension of mental illness and the role mental illness plays for and on behalf of society. Mannie suggested that all work generates anxiety and that the people involved in the work, from strategists, leaders, managers and front-line staff, create various defenses to manage and cope with that anxiety. In many cases, this management of anxiety is ignored, happens by default and generally ends up as dysfunctional, serving neither the client/customer, nor the staff, who may experience stress, burnout or leave. He also explored how our institutional structures escalate this problem.

    In addition, Mannie proposed that in most public service organisations, there is a tension between the primary task which is meant to guide the strategies, policies and practices of the staff, and other organisational priorities. For example, in the health service, the primary task of treatment, cure and care, may be overtaken by a value-for-money, cost-effectiveness primary task, that may reduce the quality of care and force staff into demoralised states of being because they are made to do things that conflict with their sense of professionalism and their desire to help people.

    'Mannie Sher, PhD, TQAP, FBAP, is a Principal Social Scientist and Director of the Group Relations Programme at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London.  He manages organisational development and change projects and consults to top teams of organisations on the role of leadership in effecting strategic change.

    Mannie’s approach to organisational consultancy and group relations work focuses on producing change through re-defining organisational aims, creating inter-dependent systems of work and introducing efficient operational strategies.  His approach is based upon principles derived from "Tavistock" open systems socio-technical methodologies which examine political influences and relatedness of new technologies on motivation and productivity; identity; and the development of authority and effective leadership.  He works with organisational "culture", resistance to change and on designing and implementing new strategies.

    Mannie has published on subjects of consultancy, leadership, organisational development, ethics and corruption.  His latest book, The Dynamics of Change: Tavistock Approaches to Improving Social Systems (2013) is published by Karnac Books’.

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