July 16, 2024

Toward an Understanding of Traumatized Organizations and How to Intervene in them

Abstract: "The thesis of this paper is that organizations, just as individuals, can suffer from trauma. The nature of an organization’s work directly impacts the culture of the organization: organizations that provide services to traumatized individuals, families and/or communities are susceptible to becoming traumatized systems. The effects of trauma influence an organization’s identity and worldview in the same way that an individual is influenced by her/his trauma experience. This article explores the phenomena of organizational trauma. It describes different types of trauma, e.g., direct and indirect, sudden and cumulative. Using examples from their practice as managers and consultants, the authors offer insights into how organizations might become traumatized systems and present characteristics of those traumatized systems. Recommendations are proposed for assisting traumatized organizations to recover and for intervening in a preventive way with organizations at risk for becoming traumatized. This framework of organizational trauma makes it easier to identify the systemic and inherited aspects of trauma, improve organizational functioning, and enhance resilience. Ultimately understanding organizational trauma and helping traumatized systems to heal offer hope for the future."
Shana Hormann
Pat Vivian
Traumatology, Vol. 11, No. 3
Date Added November 14, 2016
Date Modifed October 17, 2017
Collection UVA scholarship on sexual violence, 1974-

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