1st Edition

Work Matters Consulting to leaders and organizations in the Tavistock tradition

By Francesca Cardona Copyright 2020
    138 Pages
    by Routledge

    138 Pages
    by Routledge

    Work is complicated: It can be fulfilling and exciting, or disappointing and disruptive. We spend most of our adult lives at work; it shapes our identities and provides a context for our creativity and talents. It can be the source of great pleasure – and of profound distress.

    In Work Matters, organizational consultant and Tavistock lecturer Francesca Cardona examines our changing relationship with work today. Drawing on case studies from a wide range of individuals and organizations, she considers the dynamics at play in our working lives. Cardona examines how to navigate times of transition, and the balance of power in the work place, while also addressing latent issues such as the effects of shame, the cost of ill-conceived organizational structures and tasks, the interface between the personal and the professional, and the manager’s most precious skill: the ability to be psychologically present. Finally, Cardona casts an eye on the consultant’s role in helping organizations move forwards in ways that are professionally and personally rewarding.

    Whether you are a business leader, manager, consultant or student, or simply interested in how your work affects you, Work Matters offers essential insights into an area that occupies so much of our lives.

    Part 1: The Context of Work: A love affair – the meaning of work in a changing world  Part II: Organizational Consultancy in the Tavistock Tradition 1. The Team as a Sponge: how the nature of the task affects the behaviour and mental life of a team  2. Vulnerable Leadership: consultancy to management in transition  3. Organizational and Personal Shame: the devastating effect of feeling a failure or being exposed as one  4. The Grey Area: consulting at the interface between the personal and the professional  5. The Challenge of Succession: leadership dynamics and conflicts in different contexts  6. The Manager’s Most Precious Skill: the capacity to be ‘psychologically present’   7. Consulting to the Boss: leadership beyond the textbooks  Part III: The Consultant's Role: an antrhopologist at work  8. The Complexity of Entry: seduction and potential collusion in negotiating a contract with a new client  9. The Consultancy Stage: the ‘third’ dimension in the engagement between client and consultant  10. Who is the Boss? Balancing power and vulnerability in the client–consultant relationship  11. Ending and Regeneration: reflections on the emotional experience of ending a consultancy assignment  Conclusion


    Francesca Cardona is an organizational consultant and teacher of consultancy and coaching in the Tavistock tradition. Italian by birth, she has been based in London since the mid-eighties. She works in a variety of organizational and cultural contexts, helping leaders and organizations to face issues of change, transition and the emotional dimension of organizational life.She has previously contributed essays to both the first and second editions of The Unconscious at Work edited by Anton Obholzer. 

    "Today’s consultants and managers confront a wide array of vexing challenges:  modern technologies, social fragmentation, and the global economy create new sources of anxiety and risk.  People at work are anxiously searching for meaning and purpose in their roles.  Formulaic solutions and ritualistic prescriptions produce superficial programs, heightened cynicism and change fatigue.  In "Work Matters" Francesca Cardona takes us below the surface where a deeper understanding of the personal, professional and organizational challenges in today’s world are revealed.  An exceptionally clear synthesis of systems and psychodynamic thinking creates a foundation for her deep approach to change and development.  Through richly drawn case illustrations she clarifies and advances our understanding of organizational development, illuminates the psychological underpinnings of contemporary institutions, and shows us how an authentic engagement with these issues can lead to genuine growth and development. An essential book for consultants and managers who are grappling with the need for meaningful change." - Jim Krantz: Principal, Worklab Consulting; Fellow, A.K. Rice Institute; former faculty, Yale University and the Wharton School of Business


    "A thinker of considerable talent, Francesca Cardona has long been a leading consultant working in the Tavistock tradition. Her writing, like her work, is full of highly useful and sometimes surprising observations and insights. This fascinating book will be of enormous value to a range of people working in and with organizations, and I thoroughly endorse it."  -Professor Mark Stein, Chair in Leadership and Management, University of Leicester, UK


    "Cardona’s experience and wisdom as a consultant shine through.  With engaging examples and exceptional candour about her own experience, she brings forward many of the complexities and dilemmas that face the organizational coach/consultant … an essential resource for students wanting to learn a sensitive and effective approach"

    Susan Long, author of The Perverse Organisation and its Deadly Sins and editor of Socioanalytic Methods and Transforming Experience in Organisations


     "A most welcome addition to the field ... a rich and enriching collection of techniques and interventions.  Newcomers to the field should have a copy and it would do old-timers no harm whatsoever to have a copy by their bedside as a sample of how reflection and learning can be integrated into one's life's work."

    From the foreward by Anton Obholzer