Management Challenges and Symptoms
Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski
Chapter 12: Everybody Hurts, Sometimes: The Language of Emotionality and the Dysfunctional Organization
Anjana Anandakumar, Tyrone S. Pitsis and Stewart R. Clegg My illness – a trigger for changes, obviously, in my personal life – also set in motion my thinking about the kinds of hidden forces that determine our well-being, even to the point of acquiring disease. And in particular, how the behavior in organizations and the people in them can aﬀect the health of individuals. (Frost, 2003b: 2) In memory of Professor Peter J.C. Frost 30 August 1939 – 18 October 2004 Introduction The Chambers English Dictionary deﬁnes dysfunction as: ‘n. impairment or abnormality of the functioning of an organism’. To be a functional human being means that one can operate in one’s daily life in an ordered, structured, eﬃcient, useful and practical way. The term dysfunctional, therefore, refers to an inability to consistently operate in ‘functional’ ways. Put simply, dysfunction implies that something is not working properly. Applying this logic to organizations, we can argue that workplace organizations are predicated on the assumption that everything is ‘working’ properly, or that there is a normal mode of functioning. Organizations, when they work well, are places where people come together to communicate and interact in order to achieve organizational objectives, achieve selfactualization, solve problems, provide goods and services, and generate and sustain organizational survival. What happens when working well is results-oriented in such a way that notions of selfactualization are interpreted almost entirely in terms of the selves at the top of the organization’s hierarchy? What is, and is not, meant to...
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