What Program Alumni Say
The Program's framework for managing role and self at work inspired our guides and workshops for the philanthropic sector. (Personal Strategy and Roles@work can be found at www.grantcraft.org.)
Senior Director for GrantCraft at the Ford Foundation
One of the highlights of my experience at White was my participation in the Organization Program, which I completed a year after finishing the Certificate Program in Psychoanalysis. I took the last year of psychoanalytic training concurrently with the first year of the Organization Program, an arrangement I found very convenient and useful.
My interest in group dynamics had extended back to psychiatry residency, when I had a particular interest in group therapy and group relations, and the Organization Program was just right on several levels. As a private practitioner, I found the organizational perspective immediately enriched my work with individuals in ways I could not have foreseen, even with a background in group dynamics. I immediately became a more effective therapist.
As a disaster mental health worker, the experience and skills I honed in the Organization Program have proved invaluable. I was able to more effectively take up various roles in chaotic group environments, both in terms of planning events, working with other groups, and directly responding in disaster-afflicted locations. I was able to be more effective advising and consulting to partner organizations and working with people outside of mental health.
Working with colleagues from my Organization Program class was itself an amazing and highly effective experience. I learned with people outside of my profession and had the opportunity to see myself intensively through the eyes of my class, an experience that ripened over the course of the two-year program by virtue of consistent reflective and didactic experiences with an increasingly safe and familiar group. I recommend the Organization Program to mental health practitioners and people in profit and non-profit industries alike.
Grant H. Brenner, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Director of Trauma Service, William Alanson White Institute
The Catholic Church in the United States continues to develop strategies for the education and formation of the next generation of priests that emphasize transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration. In designing a new model of ministerial education, I developed several courses around the Organization Program’s core insights, specifically a first year seminary course in "pastoral diagnostics" (how to assess the task, role and authority issues in parishes today) and a third year seminary course in "role development" (how priests take on or fail to take on their ministerial role).
Beyond this, I have integrated the insights of socio-analysis into several books and articles on church management. While the Catholic Church has a fully developed notion of "social sin" and "social conversion" (intentional failures in group life and responsibility), it has lacked a vocabulary for the unconscious social processes that impact ministerial effectiveness. The Organization Program offers a look at the unconscious side of church management. In my book, The Four Conversions, I use the Organization Program’s ideas in a chapter on "Structural Conversion" with sections like “Socio-analysis and the anxieties of Catholicism”, “Social defenses”, and “The two behaviors of parishes in anxious times”. The Program helped me understand that group anxiety and social defenses are the normal 'stuff' of pastoral group work.
I have explored these ideas in recent articles, i.e. "Teaching Human Resource Management to Seminarians" and "When Religious Leadership Fails: The Psychology of Administrative Scandals," (Human Development 28:1 (2007), 5-11.
Rev. David B. Couturier, OFM. Cap. Ph.D., D.Min.
Director, Office of Pastoral Planning
Archdiocese of Boston
I have a deep understanding of what makes a difference in organizational life as a result of the Organization Program’s teaching about systems psycho-dynamics. This has brought a new dimension to my consulting. Now when I work with organizations, I am able to help them understand organizational problems more systemically, to understand and appreciate how their definition of task on every level influences every other aspect of the organization – how each part of the system has an effect on the whole. With this increased understanding, they are able to develop the full range of actions needed to bring about organizational change.
For example, in my work with organizations and social service agencies, particularly on the issue of the disproportionate representation of children of color in special education class or foster care the idea of mental models, the implicit ideas we have about what is, has been very helpful. The many assumptions about race and gender that are part of our culture affect policy and practice in our organizations, often without recognition. By raising them to consciousness, they become discussable, which creates the opportunity for change.
I also learned about the anxiety that people experience in organizations that are undergoing change and the need to address that anxiety as part of the change process. When organizations address issues of race and gender equity, organization members understandably may feel threatened and perceive change as an attack on their power, their future, and their commitment to the organization and its goals. While this is difficult to discuss authentically, I now can speak more clearly about the necessity of doing so: that anxiety is always present when change is occurring because change involves loss of the familiar for all members of the organization. Anxiety is either on the table or under the table and if it is on the table, the balance of disruption to people’s personal interests against organizational goals can be discussed.
Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, ACSW
Assistant Executive Director
Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services
I use the learning in the MPA organizational change courses I teach at California State University, East Bay. As a consultant and coach, I have used the learning and role analysis process to help the Executive Director of a major regional performing arts organization work through personal and professional preoccupations and blind spots that previously hampered effective engagement.
Michael Y. Moon, Ph.D.
Organizational Change (MPA Program)
California State University, East Bay
The Organization Program was founded in 1990 and has over 110 alumni from a diverse range of organizations, including:
AT&T Bell Laboratories
JP Morgan Chase
Association of Junior Leagues International
Boys Club of New York
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York University Rusk Institute
St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital
United Nations Development Program
Women’s Prison Association
Connecticut Department of Mental Health
MTA New York City Transit
NYC Department of Personnel
NYC Economic Development Corporation