This chapter only makes sense when a certain perspective on 'organisations' is accepted, and in keeping with the title of the chapter, this could be the biggest challenge of all. Seeing organisations (be they private, public, voluntary, educational, industrial, religious or medical) as machines or objects automatically excludes having a chapter in this book entitled 'organisations and forgiveness'. Machines or objects cannot forgive nor is it credible for individuals to forgive machines even though, technically, we can be disappointed in our washing machine or car or house. Forgiveness includes the context of choice, being able to intentionally hurt and to choose to give the gift of letting go, and redirect energies away from grudges. Where there is no choice, or ability to choose, there is no forgiveness. Only humans can forgive and be forgiven.
From this springboard (seeing organisations as living communities), this chapter will look at how a variety of people (consultants, psychologists, mediators and counsellors) who work with different organisations, and with individuals within organisations, can utilise 'forgiveness', when appropriate, as one possible intervention among others.
Once we begin to think of organisations as living organisms, as communities of people who have a life and being other than being solely a collection of individuals, we can then consider the possibility that they can forgive and be forgiven. However, this is a