British Psychology in Crisis: A Case Study in Organisational Dysfunction

Editor : David Pilgrim

British Psychology in Crisis: A Case Study in Organisational Dysfunction

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : July 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 176
  • Category :
    Organisational Psychology
  • Catalogue No : 96867
  • ISBN 13 : 9781800131842
  • ISBN 10 : 9781800131

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Riven by poor governance and outright corruption, the British Psychological Society (BPS) may now be in terminal decline. Individual members have left it in despair and some groups (for example clinical, educational and organisational psychologists) have already organised themselves outside of the Society, in protest against its mismanagement and distorted priorities. Onlookers are bemused by a simple fact: a psychological organisation has demonstrated total incompetence at understanding itself. Accordingly, today, the BPS is neither a learned nor a learning organisation.

This book describes this organisational crisis. It offers a critical account of the Society's recent history, which has mostly been hidden from public view, due to a lack of suitable democratic structures to ensure proper public scrutiny. Though it has charitable status, its governance has lacked independent trustees. Instead, priorities in the organisation have been compromised repeatedly by conflicts of interest, with an oligarchy of recycled names losing sight of the Society's shortcomings. In more recent times, these problems have been amplified by a managerial culture with little respect for academic integrity. These weak governance arrangements have led to policy capture by some interest groups which have led to public safety being threatened by the production of poor psychological advice to those on the outside. Those ordinary members opposing this skewed and risky advice have been suppressed by those at the top of the organisation.

This important book aims to provide a platform for ordinary members whose criticisms have thus far been suppressed. By promoting the voices of these objectors and exposing the cracks within the organisation, it attempts to bring truth to power.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘A forensic analysis of the scandals and continuing failings of the organisation which represents itself as the ambassador and champion of British psychology. Essential reading for all British psychologists.’
Professor Mike Wang, Chair, Association of Clinical Psychologists UK

Table of Contents

About the editor and contributors
Editor’s Preface

Chapter 1
The history of the BPS crisis
David Pilgrim

Chapter 2
The lure of the toxic leader
Graham Buchanan

Chapter 3
Resisting the silence of the cabal: resorting to social and alternative media
Pat Harvey

Chapter 4
Policy capture (1) at the BPS: the gender controversy
Pat Harvey

Chapter 5
Policy capture (2) at the BPS: the memory and law controversy
Ashley Conway

Chapter 6
An organisation without a memory?
David Pilgrim

Chapter 7
BPS bullshit
David Pilgrim

Chapter 8
What is the point of the BPS?
David Pilgrim

Chapter 9
Some afterthoughts
Graham Buchanan, Ashley Conway and David Pilgrim


About the Editor(s)

David Pilgrim, PhD, is Honorary Professor of Health and Social Policy at the University of Liverpool and Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton. Now semi-retired, his career embraced clinical work, teaching, and mental health policy research. He remains active in the Division of Clinical Psychology and the History and Philosophy Section of the British Psychological Society, and was chair of the latter (2015–2018). He is author of a number of books, including Critical Realism for Psychologists (Routledge, 2020) and Identity Politics: Where Did It All Go Wrong? (Phoenix, 2022).

More titles by David Pilgrim

Customer Reviews

Our customers have given this title an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 1 review(s), add your own review for this title.

Carolyn Brown on 31/12/2023 12:24:24

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

An excellent and engaging read highlighting what happens to organisations where governance & lack of scrutiny are pervasive. Essential reading for all psychologists and related professionals.

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