Jeffrey H. Axelbank, Psy.D.

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727 Raritan Ave.
Highland Park, NJ 08904
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Intervening at the Systems or Group Level

Organizational behavior can be understand at many levels. You can look at each individual's personality, interpersonal relations, group dynamics, relations between groups, or the entire organization as it appears to the outsider.

In my work, GROUPS AND SYSTEMS ARE PRIMARY. From the Boardroom to the production floor, most work is done in and by groups. Organizational life is centered around groups, whether it is a management team, a Board of Directors or Executive Committee, departments, or teams.  And the systemic environment in which these groups operate often governs their behavior.

In organizations large and small, intervening at the systemic and group levels are the most effective way to affect organizational behavior. Even the most effective person's productivity can be stifled by a poorly functioning group. And even a top-notch team can be undermined by systemic issues.  And conversely, people reach their peak potential when they are part of a group that knows how to harness their abilities in concert with other group members.  And groups click like while oiled machines when they address systems issues.

Groups and People Do Not Always Behave Rationally

Group behavior can be puzzling. They sometimes don't act in their own best interests. Group members sabotage one another's efforts, undermining the productivity of the whole team. Groups act to stifle creativity, even though the organization's success depends on people's ingenuity.

As a psychologist, I understand these phenomena as the influence of group dynamics. By observing a group's functioning, I can help to identify what is going on under the surface, and advise you how to use these dynamics to create greater success and productivity.

Slow Down to Move Fast

Taking the time to reflect on what is going on may make you impatient to get to work. But not doing so only results in more of the same - a real waste of time. Using time productively to learn how people are colluding (without realizing it) to block progress can help a group zoom ahead. But it does mean investing time to create an atmosphere where things can be thought through. My job is to help create such a space for thinking, and to help you identify and overcome the impediments.

Aligning Role, Task and Authority

A work group gets into trouble when its members' roles are not in alignment with the tasks they have to accomplish, and they don't have the authority to carry out their tasks. Sorting out these aspects of group life is one of the most effective ways to get a group unstuck and moving forward effectively, insuring success.