This is one of my favorite idea bites. I’ve truncated a long section of McSwain’s work to make it bite-sized. The paper it was taken from, A Transformational Theory of Organizations, is one of my all-time favorites. It actually served to put me on the hunt for new paradigms in organizational theorizing.

The baseline goal that that the organization or any human system must pursue is the development of the person within it; other matters, other goals, must come after.

…the primary axiological commitment of transformational theory is not dominantly rational or utilitarian in motivation or behavior.

… indeed it is not an exaggeration to say that the technology of the field of organization development is at bottom a set of techniques for managing the resolution of individual and group projections, thereby releasing the energy that is bound up by them.

Cynthia McSwain/
A Transformational Theory of Organizations
American Review of Public Administration 23:2.1993

Psychoanalytic approaches to OD and managerial psychology seemed to have waned in the U.S.. This isn’t surprising because here anybody can be a constructivist and bill by the hour. I sometimes test people by throwing out the name ‘Kets de Vries.’ LOL

The apparent slowness of comprehension of the benefits of innovation and change or the emergence of negative fantasies of the future shown by others is not irrational, in fact, makes a lot of sense, when we understand how people learn, comprehend, and predict the future. — The person hangs on to past behaviors that were rewarded and is suspicious of new behaviors that have anticipated consequences outside his/her experience. — This visionary nature may make it difficult for the paradigm pioneer to understand the need to restate, repeat, reformulate, and recast the vision into fantasies that others can share.

Erik Winslow and George Solomon
Entrepreneurs: Architects of Innovation, Paradigm Pioneers and Change
Journal of Creative Behavior; 27:2 Spring 93

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Filed under experiential learning, psychology

One Response to LEARN TO RELEASE

  1. See http://www.transformativelearningbermuda.com

    for information on the 8th International Transformative Learning Conference (Nov. 18 – 20) 2009 in Bermuda.

    Thank you.

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