The Large Group: Dynamics and Therapy

By Lionel Kreeger | Go to book overview

10.Large groups in industry

Trevor Mumby

'...When you walk through our factory gate you have your initiative amputated...' (Foreman in large group.)

Understanding the complex barrage of psychological influences under which that foreman exists is synonymous, in my opinion, with understanding industrial large groups. For the purpose of this chapter therefore, and within the context of a book which covers the structure and dynamics of large group behaviour in detail, I shall focus attention on only three areas. The first is the extent to which the technological aura of an organisation affects behaviour; secondly, how large-group phenomena relate to that behaviour and, finally, a discussion of the application of large-group methods to organisation change objectives.


Organisation life

Large groups were conducted for employees from part of an international petroleum company, which, at this location, employed 4,000 people, 1,000 of whom were managerial staff. There are a number of ways in which this particular location could be described. In industrial terms it is a capital intensive, highly technological chemicals plant. From an employee's point of view, it is a gigantic chemistry set, impossibly sensitive to every conceivable breakdown and forever needing to be tampered with in order to maintain a balanced production process. The most lucid description from a socio-psychological point of view came from a visiting colleague who walked around for two hours and described it as a soulless jungle of cold winds

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