For the most part practical and/or contemporary knowledge and insights into human processes are rarely available in usable form by people. “Easy to read” versions are proferred in the public media but these are almost invariably of “curio” value and unusable. We believe this is essentially unjust as it drives a wedge between the individual and his human context pushing her towards heightened instrumenthood, a cog in the wheel.
In this note I propose to state my understanding of the psychological meaning of rituals, the interpretation of rituals in the social sciences and the use of secular rituals in experiential learning/experiential psychology.
The paper begins with a brief statement as to what is a ritual, followed by a scanning of how rituals have been seen in social anthropology,by Swami Swahananda an eminent religious thinker and by Joseph Campbell. I then go on to state what are the functions of rituals from the point of view of the community that sponsors them and the individuals who perform them.
The need to write about process work comes with an intertwined opposition, a contradiction as it were. By definition, process work deals with experience and action using knowledge from the social sciences. All these are multidimensional. How can experience be written about except by reducing the multi-dimensional to only a twodimensional, linear presentation. The only way out is in fact to begin with a statement of my own position. This acknowledges a cardinal reality of process work itself and that is, that process work is essentially an enterprise in subjectivity, judiciously balanced and supported by empirical data.
“We live in a world that is constantly changing and only ever partially known” writes the Cambridge academic. Science has now firmly established that there is nothing static – everything is in movement – including our minds. The idea that there is an objective observer studying and measuring reality – giving out error free accurate observations. was a convenient staging post in the journey of knowledge itself – nothing more. The. convenience that the ‘staging post’ offered was/is to create a range of knowledge that. permits substantial command over the material world – so essential for the. technological progress with tools. This staging post also served the desire to “conquer. nature”. This range of knowledge has constituted what may safely be called. mainstream. In the Social Sciences this is represented by the “cognitive” and “positivist” lines of thought. Burell and Morgan call this the functionalist school in the. .‘objectivist’ quadrant of their schema mapping the various paradigms in the Social. Sciences.
Here is a key part of the technology of intrapersonal group work. It is equally efficacious in interpersonal work as well. Our tradition uses this method almost like a cornerstone. While putting these words to paper I was remembering an analogy – that of writing a book on cycling or swimming !!
True this note will not “teach” you how to be an alter ego. It will come in use as an adjunct to the workshop. It is intended as a memory aid should you need that.
When an alter ego you are operating from within the system.
Note prepared by Sushanta Banerjee for use in the workshop on Theory and Practice of Process Work, Jan 5 to 10,2015,Bangalore
This piece was written on invitation for the First Indian Applied Behavioural Science Summit hosted by Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Sciences (ISABS) Nov 16,17 2018 India International Centre, New Delhi.
Whether it is for Organisation Development or Institution Building or indeed for Team Building/Conflict resolution work, Applied Behavioural Science interventions pivot critically around the methodology called "The Here and Now"principle It is used almost invariably in all experiential labs and workshops.It is a tool that uses the 'unconscious' influence of time and space in our perceptions and behaviour. This gives breakthroughs into understanding our behaviour and finding steps that are likely to bring about positive changes individually or collectively..
This essay,using self evident truths offers speculations about how this elegant and indispensable tool works to reveal wisdom which otherwise would take great effort to become apparent and acceptable. Hence it is titled Mystery and Magic of the Here and Now.
Management sciences, derived in the main from principles of engineering, have largely looked at human beings as doers and acquirers. Man has been viewed principally as a utilitarian entity. In some sense the dehumanization was inevitable as the rush to create wealth from machines and capital focused on the efficiency of the means of production. Human beings thus came to be treated mainly as another of the means in the chain. Efforts at rehumanisation probably began in the late sixties and has since then been attracting increasing though cautious attention. In viewing each member principally as a doer and acquirer the “being” component of the human being has largely been left to fend for itself. Over the years it has become patently clear that the orthodoxy of classical management science approaches can turn counterproductive as there is a real danger of creativity and integrity getting eroded on account of perhaps an unintended emphasis on human beings and organisations as instruments.
Organizations are rooted in the principle of synergy. The discourse of most organizations is centered on having the right things and doing the right things.
Written by Sushanta Banerjee on invitation by the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Sciences for their Silver Jubilee commemorative volume, May 1997.
This paper begins by offering a new term "Process Centered Institution Building" (PCIB) along with a description. It distinguishes itself from the classical managerial problem-solving paradigm by stating that classically in management practice problems are approached analytically in order to arrive at solutions. PCIB alternately looks at the solvers of the problem and the context of the organization. It relies largely on experience based learning methodology for designing interventions.
Here is a checklist to help diagnose your organization. On the left are a set of items that can be seen in the organization, these are the manifest problems. On the right of each item is the “human” aspects connected to the problem. This list is the result of observations across several organizations and is reasonably independent of industry type or size of business.
A Practitioner’s Account of a 27 year Journey in OD Paper presented at the conference “Organisation Development by Design” held by the Indian Academy for Organisation Development – Sumedhas Academy for Human Context, Hotel Trident, Chennai February 23rd & 24th, 2007 by Sushanta Banerjee.
A video giving an idea of the structure, flow, logic and outcome/usefulness of our foundation OD workshop. Based on principles of Process Work, these workshops are completely experiential, self-organizing learning environments. Individual and organizational change are both addressed. We acknowledge with thanks the kind permission of DCM Shriram Ltd and Escorts Ltd for making this video.