Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Social Psychology of Instability within Organizational Reality

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Social Psychology of Instability within Organizational Reality

Article excerpt

According to G.M. Andreeva, any situation of instability is accompanied by such transformations of public consciousness as breaking stereotypes, reconsideration of values, experiencing identity crisis, changing the world vision (Andreeva, 1997). Among the specifics of social instability, in addition to a sharp and radical nature of social changes, the scholar outlines a possible unbalance of the latter, in other words a possible shift in their course and pace, inconsistencies in the degree of their radicalism in different spheres of social life (economics, politics, culture, types of human relationships). In this regard, a special attention is given to the study of social mindsets in the context of changes. There is a correlation between a change in social mindsets and the nature of personality dispositions: the more complex the social object which evokes a specific disposition in a personality, the more rigid the disposition. As set forth by Andreeva, it is necessary to analyze the change in social mindset from two perspectives: the essence of true-to-life social changes affecting this level of dispositions, as well as transformations of the individual's active position caused not just "in response" to a situation, but by force of circumstances emerging from the development of such person. (Andreeva, 2000)

E. Schein believes that there are two forces influencing a person who is undergoing a period of instability and transformations: learning-related anxiety, and survival-related anxiety. In this respect, four types of fear can be distinguished: 1) the fear of being temporary incompetent (a conscious estimation of personal incompetence in a new situation); 2) the fear of punishment for being incompetent; 3) the fear of "losing one's self " ("internal confusion", the lack of correlation between the usual way of thinking and feeling, and a new situation); 4) the fear of losing one's position in a group (Schein, 1999).

For transformational changes to appear, the survival-related anxiety should dominate over the learning-related anxiety, while overcoming the learning-related anxiety should lower the survival-related anxiety. In this case, survival-related anxiety is the driving force, while the learning-related anxiety is the restraining factor. In order to cope with one's (personal) own resistance to everything connected with instability, certain help is needed to decrease his learning-related anxiety. One can achieve it in a number of ways: by creating a convincing image of the future; formal training; involving a student; informal training of appropriate teams; drilling, practicing with feedback; introducing positive role models, consecutive systems and structures; imitation and identification as an alternative to the trial and error method.

What questions do mark today the major pathway to teaching social psychology of instability in respect to organizational reality? It's likely that there are quite a few. But let us concentrate on three of them:

1. Once the process of acquiring self-identity takes place both in professional and organizational management spheres, can social psychology help a person to identify him/herself in professional and organizational environment?

2. It would be fair to suppose that subjects possessing different individual characteristics and mindsets will demonstrate different set ways to behave in the environment of undergoing changes. But can modern social psychology describe these ways?

3. Since modern organizations inevitably face constant changes in an internal and external environment, can anything be done in order for the strategy of changes to become "proactive", in other words can this strategy allow for a new "wave" in organizational development to prevent naturally determined crisis situations and recession?

Graduation research papers and PhD dissertations written under our supervision and presented hereafter can offer several answers to the questions above. …

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