Management ideologies in the Probation Service 4

First of all, I will highlight some themes that are particularly characteristic of current preoccupations within the Service. These perceptions are necessarily subjective and unsystematic, but it would be absurd to pretend that a study of middle management could start without pre-conceptions. Pursuing the analogy of the organisation reflecting the individual, these preconceptions can be seen as defences against the anxieties about chaos and destructiveness to which I have already referred. It is always necessary to remember, however, that defences are not of themselves undesirable; indeed the reverse is true, in that the individual could not function without defences against anxiety. The problems arise if the person’s energies are so committed to the maintenance of rigid defences that no other action is possible or if the anxiety is inflated out of all proportion to the real threat in the environment.



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