Original Research

The systems psychodynamic experiences of first-year master’s students in industrial and organisational psychology

Frans Cilliers, Nisha Harry
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 38, No 2 | a992 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v38i2.992 | © 2012 Frans Cilliers, Nisha Harry | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2011 | Published: 23 March 2012

About the author(s)

Frans Cilliers, University of South Africa, South Africa
Nisha Harry, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The researchers described the experiences of first-year master’s students in industrial and organisational psychology in terms of their anxiety and basic assumption behaviour. Apart from their academic tasks, they seem to be unconsciously involved in many relationship and relatedness matters.

Research purpose: The purpose of this research was to describe the systems psychodynamic experiences of first-year master’s students in Industrial and Organisational Psychology.

Motivation for the study: Academic staff members tend to forget their own experiences as master’s students, lose touch with their students’ experiences, lose empathy and treat student groups in mechanistic ways. Although the students’ conscious tasks and roles are relatively clear, very little is known about their unconscious experiences.

Research design, approach and method: The researchers used qualitative research involving a case study. They collected the data and conducted their analyses by administering a Listening Post (LP) and discourse analysis. Two themes emerged, from which the researchers formulated their working and research hypotheses.

Main findings: The themes related to anxiety and basic assumption behaviour. The research hypothesis referred to students’ introjections of emotional incompetence. This resulted in exhaustion.

Practical/managerial implications: More focused attention to the students’ emotional experiences, by themselves and by academic staff members, could conserve students’ energy for their academic work and relationships.

Contribution/value-add: Being master’s students consumes emotional energy that jeopardises students’ academic work and forming relationships. Being aware of these and managing them could help students to achieve better academically.


Keywords

listening post; anxiety; dependence; fight; flight, pairing; role; identity

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