Workshop on Signs of Organisational Toxicity, Health and Enlightenment (SOOTHE)

Start Date:Aug 28, 2018 End Date:Sep 1, 2018
Last Date for Application:June 15, 2018
Programme Fee: 200000 INR

Plus 18% GST

When you step in to your work place, do your eyes light up? If they do, why – and if they don’t, that is an even bigger why…

Organisations undertaking change initiatives continue to report old and new collective defences that impede strategy implementation and transformations besides compromising quality of work life. Enlightened organisations move beyond knowledge blocks, transactional and material behaviors in reaching out for wisdom. Since a considerable part of wisdom and knowing in organisations is collectively held, insightful leaders know that enlightened organisations need to be healthy spaces of sustainable creative and intellectual ferment. Yet every organisation tends to collect some modicum of organisational toxicity which could exceed danger thresholds if that toxicity is not identified and processed. So how are we to collectively address organisational health, and mitigate toxicity in pursuit of organisational enlightenment?

Organisational Toxicity has emerged as one of the new research areas in management and the first international conference for understanding organisational toxicity was organized in 2015. Developing methods to identify organisational pathologies, managerial malfeasance, unconsciously scripted evils, and sleepwalks into disaster scenarios has become part of sustaining organisational health and well-being. There has been pathbreaking work on developing methods and tools of forensic analysis for organisations that have failed or are derailing due to malfeasance or neglect.

In an increasingly networked world, enterprises are expected to respond to needs of customers at unprecedented tempos.  These accelerating tempos of demand arise from the impact of globalization and digitalization on ways enterprises compete, rendering dynamic alignment of product-services linkages and platformation as the new driver of enterprises. Networked environments demand horizontal collaboration across boundaries and leadership distributed across task networks. While these horizontal dynamics may become dominant, vertical accountabilities may still govern how we work. Given that networking always takes place across multiple entities that are operationally and managerially independent, the challenges arise from the gaps that keep emerging between these horizontal and vertical sources of authority.

The ‘felt’ economy of an enterprise may unconsciously kill good ideas, despite its members having  the  best of intentions.  Working in an enterprise to prevent such ‘murders’ therefore demands a ‘forensic’ way of diagnosing in which careful attention is paid to the way dilemmas are held and/or denied. This involves questioning existing ways of holding dilemmas that are linked to their consequences for the enterprise - ‘forensic’ because the evidence and motives are never obvious!

A forensic method is thus concerned with the processes by which innovations essential to the continuing survival and development of an enterprise are not lost in defence of the identifications supported by the present structures, systems and organisation processes. Such an examination provides a means of preventing the persistence of changes in which the structures and organisation frame the challenges underlying the dilemmas facing the enterprise.

This workshop will (i) explore conditions under which forensic processes become necessary to an organisation’s health; (ii) examine key characteristics of toxicity processes; (iii) observe and discuss the start of a ‘live’ process in which problematic situations are explored to uncover the dilemmas and underlying challenges; and (iv) examine the ethics and leadership necessary to sustaining wisdom and knowing processes.

This workshop is co-created by four international thought leaders on the subject.

The purpose of this workshop is to enable participants know the latest cutting edge knowhow to be able to spot and work with signs of organisational toxicity, health and enlightenment for transformative trajectories. Organisations would be encouraged to bring their real life problems to the workshop.

This workshop offers unique opportunities for understanding and exploring the diagnosis of organisational toxicity, assessing organisational health and tracking degrees of awareness and potential  enlightenment for leadership and transformation initiatives. There would be focus on understanding organisational relationships and strategic relatedness between organisational parts and wholes. The workshop will provide a structured context in which to explore the dynamics of power, leadership, authority, change, dissent, collaboration and transformation.

Participants will have opportunities to understand how they influence or are influenced by others, how negative emotions fuel toxicity and the ensuing consequences– intended and unintended, overt and covert. To integrate learning and help transfer to organisational roles and contexts, opportunities would be available to facilitate such transfer. A package of readings will be provided to complement the work done in contact sessions.


  • To focus on understanding and working with the aesthetics of processes when phenomenal primary tasks loom larger than normative and existential ones.
  • To enable the study of toxicity with the aim of identifyng it, containing it and mitigating it.
  • To facilitate opportunities for exploring the foundational processes of organisational health and well-being and linking, connecting, relating, and networking as members of work groups concerned with influencing others and being influenced in the course of formulating and implementing strategies.
  • To discover underlying group, organisational and social dynamics and the interplay between tradition and change, stability and innovation, creativity and harmony that may, at times, be beyond immediate awareness and to formulate “working hypotheses” about covert processes beyond awareness. 
  • To develop ways of evaluating an organisation’s  readiness for strategic transformative initiatives and working at improving its receptivity for change processes. 

This workshop is designed for those who wish to develop deeper understanding of strategy implementation, leadership and change processes in organisations that unleash negative emotions and fuel toxicity. There is no requirement of any particular previous experience or knowledge. Anyone who leads teams, groups and organisations or functions as HR professional or OD professional with change processes and strategy implementation is welcome. 

This workshop will introduce participants to a variety of concepts, methods, techniques. Cases of forensic analysis of organisations would be discussed. Criteria for distinguishing pathology from evil would be developed in specific contexts for the purpose of decoding signs of health and awareness for transformative change. 

Faculty Chair

Ajeet N. Mathur

Programme Faculty