Garbage-Can as an Intervention Technique

Garbage-Can decision making is considered as a pathological process of making decision. However, it is suggested in this article that Garbage-Can situation can be used as diagnostic technique as psychoanalysis has been used to understand psychological dysfunction in human behavior.

The classical assumption of psychoanalysis is that human psychological illness is buried in unconscious defences against unacceptable urges; therefore, it provides opportunity to clients to have insight into the motives of which they were formerly unaware through the process of “free association.” In this process, clients not only recog­nize various repressed thoughts, memories and  feelings but they also learn process of changing them.

The assumption of this article is that organizational problems are the result of inappropriate communication. Like "free association" if we let all streams to come up freely on the surface of the organization, probabilities are that the real problem could be understood. How a garbage-can situation can be taken as organizational treatment, especially, when this situation itself considered as an organizational pathology! If we observe schizophrenic persons during their illness, they are unable to control their thoughts, but association of thoughts in this period is not considered as treatment. However, if a person jumps from thoughts to thoughts in the psychologist's clinic, it will be considered a treatment or technique for the treatment. Similarly, if a situation is deliberately and systematically turned into a garbage-can it might help to understand organizational problem as Selznick argues that the study of institution is in someway comparable to the clinical study of personality. Although, there are no evidence whether or not a garbage-can situation improve the situation in the organization, we do have evidence like the case study of "school in Copenhagen" that this situation let the hidden problem come to the front stage. Therefore, we can say that Garbage-can can be taken as organizational intervention technique in order to understand the real organizational problem. It is assumed that candid discussion leads participant to remove communication obstacles which certainly affect on the organizational growth.  

 

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