Why The Future of Humanity Depends On Organisational Psychotherapy

Why The Future of Humanity Depends On Organisational Psychotherapy


The future of work is collaborative knowledge work. Most, if not all, brawn (pink muscle) will be supplied by machines, robots and other mechanical automation, augmented by software to control the mechanical parts.

Increasingly, software will also subsume the work of individual specialists, experts and other single knowledge workers.

Only collaborative knowledge work – non-repetitive brain (grey muscle) work done by groups or teams of people – remains the domain of the human. Even this may be subsumed by software in time, but that day yet remains at least a good few decades off.

Software development itself is an example of such collaborative knowledge work.

And if collaborative knowledge work is the future of work, then it’s no stretch to say that the future of Humanity depends on collaborative knowledge work. Both for the employment – in the broadest sense – it provides, and for its outputs (innovation and advancements – e.g. technological, scientific, medical and social).

Yet we as a species are woefully ill-prepared to tackle the challenges of effective collaborative knowledge work. Our education system prepares us but poorly. Our institutions and structures are ill-suited. And our present collective mindsets – predominantly rooted in Theory-X and the Myth of Redemptive Violence as they are – oppose effective collaborative knowledge work at every turn. Only our innate capabilities as highly social animals offer any positive hope. Yet it often seems we do everything we can, especially in business and other forms or organisations, to suppress those innate capabilities and to deny our nature as emotional, social beings.

When will we embrace the challenges of effective collaborative knowledge work? What disciplines might help us in that? I suggest anthropology, sociology, psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, group dynamic, and neuroscience each have a role to play. But above all, I see therapy as the key discipline. In particular, group – or organisational – therapy. And dealing as it does with the collective psyche, I prefer to call it Organisational Psychotherapy.

If you know of any other discipline as suited to tackling the challenges of effective collaborative knowledge work as Organisational Psychotherapy, I’d love to hear about it. Until then, my money’s on Org. Psych..

– Bob