Gustavsson, B. (1992). The Transcendent Organization. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden.
Organizations are human constructs, and unless the organizational
analysis takes into account a wider discussion of the relationship
between the subject and the object the analysis ends up in relativism,
anarchism, and confusion. There is a danger when we make the
organization objective to such extent that it is viewed as an entity
outside ourselves. Understanding of an organization is a collective
phenomenon given by the prevailing fundamental assumptions in society,
and is transferred by symbols, including language.
It is argued that there is a need to go beyond, to transcend, the
objective understanding of the organization. To transcend the objective
status of the organization does not mean to replace one objectification
with another, but to transcend to more abstract and holistic levels in
consciousness. It is suggested that pure consciousness, the most
fundamental and abstract level of consciousness, is fundamental and
common to all humans and also unites mind and matter, as some quantum
physicists suggest. The existence of a collective consciousness is also
shown, as indicated by the so-called field-effects of consciousness in
several studies. Collective consciousness is defined as the average
degree to which the individuals in a group reflect pure consciousness.
It is argued that collective changes in the in the behavior and
perception in groups of people are possible.
The general perspective of consciousness and collective consciousness is
applied more specifically to organizations. The Transcendent
Organization exists — beyond the concrete objects we call organization —
in the collective consciousness of the members of the organization in
the dynamic interplay between the knowers, known, and process of
knowing. The meanings expressed in the goals, visions, and "culture" of
the organization form a particular collective consciousness of the
organization. It is also argued that the level of the collective
consciousness of the organization determines the quality of its behavior
in terms of adapting to the environment, creativity, and the members?
Some of the suggestions of the Transcendent Organization are studied
empirically on managers and employees practicing meditation in two top
management teams and in one company. The results illustrate that the
taken for granted notions of organizations were transcended, that change
processes coming from within the organization were started by raising
the level of consciousness, and that field-effects of consciousness were
indicated in small groups.