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Leading in Times of Trauma:

Healing and Building


Resilience

Shana Hormann, MSW, PhD


Pat Vivian, MA
Definition of Culture

Edgar Schein defines culture as:

“The deeper level of basic assumptions and


beliefs that are shared by members of an
organization, that operate unconsciously,
and that define in a basic ‘taken for granted’
fashion an organization’s view of itself and
its environment.”

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


The Work Influences Culture

Creation story and rationale for


organization’s existence
The “struggle” and formation of individual
and collective identities
Relationship of the organization to society
Internal dynamics

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


Individual-Work-Culture
Connection
Organizational Individuals
Culture Attracted to
The Work
Intensity

The Work
Itself

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


Organizational Trauma

An injury to an organization
resulting from a single event or the
impact of an accumulation of events.
Severe distress from experiencing
a disastrous event outside the range
of usual experience.

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


Sources of Organizational
Trauma
Single or cumulative injurious event(s)
Origins of organization
Redemptive nature of the work
Empathic nature of the work
Resulting internal dynamics
On-going trauma may result from
interaction of all of the above

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


Characteristics of a
Traumatized System
Closed boundaries between organization
and external environment

Centrality of insider relationships

Stress and anxiety contagion

Loss of hope
Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007
Role of the Leader:
Building Resilience
Move toward anxiety

Recognize and reclaim projections

Facilitate exploration of underlying


tensions, issues, and events. Give time
and space to the resolution of trauma
and loss.
Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007
Intervening in Organizations
with Unresolved Trauma

Name the trauma and normalize individual


and collective responses

Contain the anxiety and allow emotional


expression

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


Understand the experience at the
organizational level

Make meaning collectively

Ask for outside help if necessary

Identify priority actions

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


Intervening in Organizations At
Risk for Cumulative Trauma

Understand the organization’s identity


and culture

Open system to outside information and


energy

Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007


Build and strengthen relationships with the
external environment

Develop a learning organization

Surface organizational strengths

Create norms for organizational resilience

Nurture the organization’s spirit and engage in


renewal
Shana Hormann and Pat Vivian September 2007
Thank you!

Shana Hormann, MSW, Ph.D. Pat Vivian, M.A.


Core Faculty Consultant
MA in 206.783.5240
Organizational Psychology Program
Antioch p.vivian@att.ne
University Seattle t
206.268.4714
shormann@antiochseattle.edu