A psychotherapeutic perspective of the lived experience of leaders during a period of transition

DPsych thesis

Camilleri, M. 2017. A psychotherapeutic perspective of the lived experience of leaders during a period of transition. DPsych thesis Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute Psychology
TypeDPsych thesis
TitleA psychotherapeutic perspective of the lived experience of leaders during a period of transition
AuthorsCamilleri, M.

During staff support/coaching I observed that systemic issues could not be resolved through individual psychotherapy. This motivated me to embark on a Maltese National Healthcare Service-wide inquiry to explore the lived experience of leaders during ongoing change and transition, their underlying processes as they developed within their contextual changes, the managerial skills which enhanced organisational change and which skills were required to further enhance the process, from a psychotherapeutic perspective.
This inquiry was divided into three phases, using mixed methods with an action-research element. Through participative-observation I gained insight into the research field; critical narrative analysis within a phenomenological framework was adopted for the analysis of 3 unstructured exploratory interviews carried out with 17 leaders respectively. Arising themes were used to co-create a Training Manual. Using an action-research approach, leaders were invited to participate in a training program and to evaluate the effectiveness of the Manual. Triangulation of methods and sources was used including documents analysis. The data collected were transcribed and analyzed using Langdridge (2007) as the underlying structure.
Organisational, lack of continuity and negative holding environment led to an alienation-demotivation process, precipitated mistrust, leading to the development of personality cult leadership and egocentric self-referentiality. The need for individual proactive self-actualisation, development at an emotional-transferential level and the undoing of identity following demotion/transfer was indicated by the arising themes. The Training Manual, focusing on critical self-reflexivity, facilitated the leaders’ looking closely at how power relations stalled personal and organisational growth by hindering the smooth flow of change implementation processes. Some leaders encountering the need to unblock shame, met impasse, others modified their underlying metaphor/identity enhancing a change in behaviour while retaining the power inherent in their previous identity, while others yet noted that the training enhanced their managerial skills. The Training Manual was positively received, both in the research field and beyond. This implies that self-reflexivity needs to be introduced in mainstream managerial training.

Research GroupWork and Learning Research Centre
Department namePsychology
Institution nameMiddlesex University / Metanoia Institute
Publication dates
Print12 Jul 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jul 2017
Accepted05 Jul 2017
Output statusPublished
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