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Fackets kulturkris: metaforer som organixationsterapi
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Economics and Management (Div.).
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Union Culture in Crisis : Metaphors as Organizational Therapy (English)
Abstract [en]

Union representatives today have constantly to discuss and redefine their roles, as established patterns of negotiation and decision-making changes. The Swedish model of collective bargaining and corporatist representation in government has slowly been weakened and unions seek new ways of serving the interests of their members. This study focuses on disagreements and uncertainties in groups of white-collar union representatives concerning purposes and roles.

The dialogue seminar method, developed at the Royal Institute of Technology, is a tool for practitioners to examine the tacit knowledge that informs their work. Ideas from Ludwig Wittgenstein's later philosophy concerning rule-following and language games figures prominently in the development of this method. In four dialogue seminar series, union representatives from the Swedish white-collar union Sif (Unionen from 2008) have explored their present situation and future challenges. The lack of a common understanding in these seminars is traced to the wider organizational culture and trends in public opinion. A cultural crisis in the union is understood in Wittgenstein's terms of  'captivating pictures' – patterns of thought that remain unchallenged.

How such pictures captivate and dictate our thinking by way of implicit analogy is further discussed in this study. Elements from psychoanalytic theory are introduced to outline a theory of organizational development based on our innate capacity for analogical thinking. Criticizing a certain naïve rationalism in current mainstream management models, a deliberate use and critique of metaphors is suggested as an organizational therapy for practitioners thus captivated. This draws attention to a vital potential in the use of dialogue, unexploited in organizational practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2009. , 183 p.
Trita-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2009:14
Keyword [en]
unions, the Swedish model, cultural crisis, management, organizational culture, organizational development, organizational therapy, psychoanalysis, Wittgenstein, analogical thinking, metaphor, dialogue
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11659ISBN: 978-91-976272-7-6OAI: diva2:279075
Public defence
2009-12-10, sal F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 09:15 (English)
QC 20100624Available from: 2009-12-01 Created: 2009-12-01 Last updated: 2010-06-24Bibliographically approved

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Bergsten, Andreas
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