This dissertation is about how an organisation can get 'stuck' in an
unresourceful state. It is based on research that focused on an
organisation delivering important public services, including housing,
education and public safety. The organisation's clientele covers all
groups in the local region including the most vulnerable and those
most at risk. Underperformance by such an organisation is of great
significance to those who rely on its services.
The main aim of the research was to explore the nature of the
organisation's apparent inability to escape this state.
The research comprised a single case study with 50 research
interviews with people working in the organisation. On average,
each interview lasted an hour. A feature of the methodology was
an approach to interviewing most commonly used for therapeutic
purposes in 'neurolinguistic programming'; this approach enabled
critical questioning within the interviews.
The research found that employees felt helpless to change the
situation yet were able to maintain their self-esteem intact;
moreover this state was being transferred to new employees. The
main outcome of the research was the development of a model
embodying a particular form of learned helplessness that is
applicable to whole organisations. The model explains the
persistence of 'group-helplessness' over time.
|Date of Award||Feb 2006|
The unresourceful organisation: the Persistence of 'Group Helplessness' in the workplace
Knight, J. (Author). Feb 2006
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis