Re: corporate constructs and schizophrenia

Chris Evans (
Sun, 29 Nov 1998 23:35:38 -0000

On 28 Nov 98, at 21:55, Thomas Grunau wrote:

> We have to do it twice, because we have to look at the behaviour
> of policemen and the reports of policemen. We can`t do it in an
> interview, because my organization is much too big (45.000
> policemen and 8.000 civil servants). Last week I read the article
> of Mark Balnaves and Peter Caputi "Corporate constructs: to what
> extent are personal constructs Personal?" (International Journal of
> Personal Psychology, year ?, page 119-138). I could not find a
> method in this article. How can I found out more about corporate
> constructs? Thank you. Best wishes Thomas Grunau
Also recently James Mancuso wrote:

> I want to defend myself, however, from a charge of being
> "incurious" I like to make the claim that I have read and
> analyzed more articles on schizophrenian than has any other
> psychologist. I am not sure how I could ascertain that.... but,
> in writing our first book, I read and closely analyzed 374 studies
> aimed at clarifying the construction schizophrenia. And of course,
> I must have read and studied several dozen books on the topic.
> Since that book was published -- 18 years ago -- I must have read
> and analyzed another 200 articles [see my files]. Perhaps reading
> and analyzing all this material was done as amy obligation to
> engage a necessary, but drudge task [rather than out of
> curiousity]. Nevertheless, I think that I should be exonerated
> from being construed as "incurious."

I have replied more extensively to James directly but found myself

C> I don't see you as generically or specifically incurious at all!
C> Far from it. I feel you're incurious about teasing out with
C> individual practitioners, why they espouse parts or all of the
C> "medical model" and the "S word"

I wrote more, I hope reassuring James that I sympathise with him
and hate the use of the "you're harming the patients" argument but
as I wrote that bit above, I realised that it overlaps with this notion
of "coporate constructs".

I think one aspect of the psychiatric use of the "S word" that
James and so many others find offensive is its status as a
preemptive "corporate construct" defining some as in need and
others as having controlling power to help. What intrigues me is
that I find the response picks up the corporate component of the
construing and is "incurious" as to the individuality and diversity of
personal construing that goes on within that corporate system.

Take the issue of "enigmatic" or "not understandable" that has
been coming up. I guess this has roots in the textbook corporate
definition of another word "delusion" something like:
Fixed, firmly held, beliefs, essentially unshakable
by argument, discussion, persuasion by you or
most others; beliefs that are by their content, or
more telling, by their rationale, considered wrong,
misguided and subculturally appropriate.
Now of course there are all sorts of logical, epistemological,
ethical, political and practical problems in there but hey, even
double entry book-keeping could be said to have some of those
too, what corporate constructs don't?!

However, if you ask many professionals who use these ideas you'd
find that a good proportion don't see the ideas they might label
"delusions" as incomprehensible. Far from it. The problem is in the
texture of the exchanges: it's in the way in which your construction
of the other's construing is completely unacceptable to that other
leaving you and they struggling. Of course, we all find this in other
situations. Of course, the definition opens up an easy option here
which is to dismiss the person and their thinking.

But if you ask many professionals that is precisely _NOT_ what
they do. Psychodynamic therapists work with the situation one
way, cognitive theorists another, systemic therapists, solution
focussed therapists and frank constructivists operate another.
Solutions vary in the balance of corporate to personal construing
involved but the diversity is important and fascinating.

I think there is much in Thomas's question about how,
methodologically, theoretically, we might start to tease apart this
"coporate" from the "personal" construing we all do that would
change the recurrent debate about the S word.

Theoretically I think there's a bit about unpacking the sociality
corollary further. In grid methodology terms there's something
that's almost a "proportion of common variance" or an Indscal
"common reduced dimensional solution" issue (Richard -- help!) but
humanly there's something about the location of, and direction of,
curiosity I think! James asked how he or any of us can have
passion about issues and not sound preemptive. I think he's got
something that goes to the human, personal heart of things there.

Hm, long musing; for anyone who got to here: I hope you got
something out of reading it, I got something out of writing it!

Best wishes,


Chris Evans, R&D Consultant,
Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust