Culture As Defence Mechanism

Not understanding that culture can act like a defence mechanism to help avoid anxiety and to provide positive direction, self-esteem and pride. As Edgar Schein (2004) claims, these various conditions can make an organisation reluctant to accept cultural truths about itself and thus reluctant to change. Furthermore,

"...unless an organisation's personnel recognise a real need for change, unless they feel psychologically safe enough to examine data about the organisation, they will not be able to hear the cultural truths that the inquiry may have revealed, or, worse, they may lose self-esteem because some of their myths or ideals about themselves may be destroyed by the analysis. A potentially even more dangerous risk is that some members will achieve instant insight and automatically and thoughtlessly attempt to produce change in the culture that 1) some members of the organisation may not want, 2) some other members may not be prepared for and therefore may not be able to implement, and 3) may not solve the problem......to study that culture and reveal that culture to the insider, then, can be likened to an invasion of privacy, which under many conditions is not welcome..."

Edgar Schein, 2004

 

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