Leading Meaningful Change – For Consultants and Managers

Aim and philosophy of the programme

The purpose of the programme is to develop a proficiency in understanding and working with psychodynamic processes that take place when people are engaged in meaningful issues and activities affecting their lives at work, at home, and in society. Working in and working with organisations requires a good enough understanding of these processes to be able to make conscious choices as a consultant, a manager or any other professional active in the management of change or development.

The objectives and design of the programme are grounded in our explicit belief that organisations are not isolated entities but that they derive their value and meaning from their contributions to the wider society. High performance organisations excel on a range of different aspects including economical, technological, communal, socio-political and spiritual dimensions. Developing professional consultants and managers to co-create high performance organisations takes more than training in a set of techniques to increase the commercial success or improve human relations. Genuine professional development calls for an integrated approach based on a recognition of the multi-dimensionality of organisational life and life itself. A professional consultant or manager therefore,is someone who is educated in being able to act and live with the consequences of his/her interventions in all five dimensions. In our view therefore, professional development consists of:

Mastering a body of knowledge and techniques pertinent to the work of a professional.

Integrating this body of knowledge and techniques in the personality of the professional.

Achieving social responsibility in the professional by linking these two layers of competence to the broader societal context.

The programme is designed to develop a proficiency in understanding and working with psychodynamic approach as complementary to other frames and disciplines e.g. organisation development, system thinking, work- and organisational design. Change in an organisation or society interferes with the existing dynamic processes and creates new ones. Working in and with organisations requires a good enough understanding of these processes to be able to make conscious choices regarding the realization of change.

The content of the programme in brief

The programme works with dynamic processes at three (different but overlapping) levels: those occurring among individuals and in groups, those occurring between groups and within organisations, and those occurring between organisations and the larger society. Participants are always asked to attend to the dynamics occurring in the ‘here-and-now’. Also their own practice is drawn into the programme while reflecting on and understand the ‘here-and-now’ dynamics as they emerge in the programme itself.

Basic tasks and activities in the programme are the following:

  • A reflective experience of being a member of a Learning Group. In learning groups members share, compare and find out about individual experiences as a manager or consultant, whilst studying their own group processes taking place in the ‘here-and-now’.
  • Learning communities, whose task is to review and explore how the total membership of the programme is working together and how to deal with the identified issues to improve learning.
  • Coaching groups, which are formed to practice and enrich participants’ competences in coaching other participants regarding issues and concerns as they emerge in the ‘here-and-now’.
  • Lecture-discussions, in which basic theoretical constructs are presented, for example, on (i) the relevance and meaning of a psychodynamic inquiry (e.g. boundaries, holding and containing, transference, projective identification and unconscious processes), (ii) basic organisational processes (like decision making, strategic management, collaborating, leading organisational change under conditions of uncertainty), (iii) formulating problem definitions, making interventions, developing action-research projects, setting up appropriate strategies and structures to facilitate change, (iv) designing innovative teams and organisations, (v)methods and techniques such as socio-technical systems design, soft systems methodology.
  • Reading assignments on specific topics relevant to professional development, both individually and in groups.
  • A simulation on multiparty dynamics, the purpose of which is to learn to collaborate with different interest groups and to work with the emerging dynamics.
  • Consulting support groups. The purpose of these groups is to help participants clarify and learn from an existing, ongoing project and to take it a step further while also develop one’s proficiency as a consultant.
  • Joint appraisals in which each participant reviews his/her professional development with a staff member and some participants, and discusses what could be done to continue the professional development process.

Participants who, at the end of the programme, meet the criteria of the programme, are certified. Four dimensions are considered especially important for professional development, namely:

  1. Capacity to relate, be interested in, and learn from the client.
  2. Self-reflection and understanding of oneself as part of a social system.
  3. Inquiry or the courage and interest to explore the context, history and aspirations of client-systems, and to test reality.
  4. A capacity to work with an approach that combines a psychodynamic, an organisational theory & development and a systems thinking perspective.

Further learning after completion of the programme is possible, through adopting a role of co-trainer or observer in a future programme.

Recent participants have come from the following organisations (among others): Arla Foods, Bridges for Choice, Colruyt, Corus, De Baak, Fortis, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Nyenrode University, Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Oost Nederland, Philips, PU Organisationsutveckling, Oranje, Quint Wellington Redwood, Rabobank, NG Events Ltd, Swedish National Police Board, Signis, Tetra Pak,TiasNimbas Business School, Udvikingskonsulenterne, Univé Verzekeringen, Volvo Group, World Bank, World Food Program, Zorgconsult.

Core Faculty:

Sandra Schruijer, PhD, is Professor of Organisational Psychology at TiasNimbas Business School, University of Tilburg, the Netherlands and Professor of Organisation Science at the Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University, also in the Netherlands. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Tilburg University. Her research interests include multiparty collaboration, group diversity and intergroup relations. Sandra Schruijer heads Professional Development International.

Leopold S. Vansina, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of Leuven, and Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. He headed the Professional Development Institute for many years. His experiences in group dynamics (NTL Institute and the Tavistock Institute) and his training in psychoanalysis are an integrated part of his broad consulting practice. He is a member of The Academy of Management, the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations, and the Tavistock Institute Association. Leopold is the founder of IPDP.

Ajeet N. Mathur, P.G.D.M (IIM Calcutta), Ph. D. (IISc. Bangalore), C.E.S. (Tampere), Fellow, Sumedhas-The Academy for Human Context, is Professor in Strategic Management and International Business, IIM Ahmedabad, India. He has been a member of the Board of Directors with Corporates in India and Europe and advises businesses, governments, international organisations and the policy research community on strategy, organisation development and management of organisational knowledge. He has worked as staff in working conferences for over three decades in India and Europe.

Visiting faculty:

Petru Curseu, PhD, Associate Professor, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Tharsi Taillieu, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Organisational Psychology, at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

And others to be invited.


Minimum criteria: Participants are consultants, trainers, managers, action researchers or others active in the management of change. Participants have a university degree or equivalent knowledge acquired through experience and are sufficiently fluent in English.

Fee: The fee is € 8.000 Euro excl. 21% VAT. Early subscribers receive a discount of 10%. A few bursaries are available.

Dates: The programme consists of four phases. The dates for the next programme are:


  1. September 28 – October 3, 2014
  2. November 9 – November 14, 2014
  3. February 15 – February 20, 2015
  4. April 26 – May 1, 2015

Location: Het Balkon, Vasse, Netherlands www.hetbalkon.nl.

Accommodation costs: (full board) are approximately € 650 (incl. VAT) per phase and need to be paid to Het Balkon upon departure.

Further information: can be obtained from: Sandra Schruijer, Professional Development International, Utrecht, The Netherlands, E-mail:  info@pro-dev.eu