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Systemic intervention for the resolution of occupational health issues?

What perceived efficiency of the systemic intervention approach of the Palo Alto School for the resolution of occupational health issues?

by Damien Richard, Grégoire Vitry, Audrey Becuwe

In RIMHE: Interdisciplinary Review Management, Man & Business 2023/1 (n° 50, Vol. 12) , pages 3 to 22




In France, the evils of work are addressed by many disciplines such as the psychodynamics of work (Dejours, 1998), the clinic of activity (Clot, 2010; Clot and Gollac, 2014) or health management at work (Abord de Chatillon et al. 2012; Chakor et al. 2015; Detchessahar, 2011).
  However, while there is a wide variety of points of view for understanding work risks and developing knowledge to improve health protection at work (Thébaud-Mony et al. 2015), the systemic and strategic perspective of the he Palo Alto school (Picard and Marc, 2015; Watzlawick et al., 1974; Wittezaele and Garcia, 1992) is an approach that is still little used. Even though the uncertainty linked to the current context requires a new way of understanding the difficulties, this approach, by taking the relationship as the unit of analysis, nevertheless makes it possible to take into account the contextual developments with which the company is confronted ( technological developments, teleworking, health risks, etc.). Results in terms of efficacy are beginning to be documented in the clinical and professional field (Horigian et al., 2016; Jackson et al., 2018; Vitry et al., 2021b).

In this article, we question the perception of the efficiency of the approach which seems to us to represent the best lever of legitimization within organizations. For this, after having clarified the problem and underlined the operative character of the concept of attempted solution, central in the systemic intervention of the School of Palo Alto, we proceeded to an analysis of the data resulting from a network of practices ( SYPRENE) focusing on occupational health issues. Our results allow us to clarify the professional situations concerned and the modalities of the systemic intervention put into practice, while underlining the perception of the efficiency of the approach both among the applicants for help and among the practitioners. We end by discussing the contributions and limits of the approach and make recommendations to promote the use of the systemic intervention approach of the School of Palo Alto to resolve occupational health issues.

Keywords: problem solving , Quality of life at work , strategic systemic approach

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