Translating Systems Approach to Family Therapy to Organizations LO24160

From: Roy Benford (
Date: 03/12/00

Replying to LO24147 --

This thread caught my attention and I would like to venture the following:

During recent studies in the area of systems thinking, I found the subject
difficult to get to grips with as far as traditional organisational
literature was concerned. However, literature on systems thinking within
family therapy literature was extremely clear and instructive.

There are different approaches to viewing individuals within
organisations, MacGregor's X& Y Theories being a typical example. Another
view is between an atomistic view of the individual and the holistic view
of an individual within an organisation. The atomistic view aligns to
individual therapy and the later to family therapy.

It may be topical to view organisations as flat, networks, dynamic, etc.
but how many are actually like that? How many organisations are
hierarchical, slow moving, etc.? Are all working relationships dynamic
and ever changing or are they more static and slow changing like family
relationships? Family therapy may not be applicable to young, fast
growing business in dynamic high growth market places but what about all
those business in mature marketplace with slow to static growth?

An interesting reference on this subject is "Diagnosis of a Family-Owned
Business" in Workplace Psychiatry, Psychiatric Annals 25:4/April 1995.

Roy Benford
Fulmer, UK


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