Developing Managers as Healing Agents in Organizations: A Co-Operative Inquiry Approach

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This action research examines how a health service manager, with a clinical background, sought to develop his clinical skills in a management context. When asked to undertake an evaluation of an addiction counseling service, he found that there was evidence of systemic ill-health expressed through feelings of powerlessness, hurt, and alienation among the staff of the service. The article describes how the manager used action research, and in particular co-operative inquiry, to become an agent of healing in his own place of work. It illustrates how the co-operative inquiry process can be used to help individuals or groups to overcome feelings of alienation and powerlessness in organizations. By dealing with these feelings through a process of co-operative inquiry the conditions necessary to improve systemic health can be created to help develop a service and meet service objectives It explores the neglected subject of how managers can be agents of healing in organizations.

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