Improve collaboration by addressing problematic patterns.

"There is a certain dynamic." That's often as far as we get.

We do notice that there is a dynamic that disrupts collaboration. But we find it difficult to pinpoint what it is exactly about. And that also makes it very difficult to address the dynamic.

Until now.

In their book Destructive Dynamics, Hans van Dijk and Stefan Cloudt identify 9 different dynamics in organizations that are destructive.


The destructive dynamics scan

To assist you in diagnosing which destructive dynamic(s) you are experiencing, we have developed a survey. The survey covers questions on several themes: what the problems are that you are dealing with, what the context is, and what the behaviors are of the different individuals involved. Upon completion, you will receive a report indicating your scores on each destructive dynamic. Additionally, you will receive a summary of each dynamic and what you can do about it.

What is a destructive dynamic?

A destructive dynamic is:

  • A pattern of automated actions and reactions,
  • which worsen the situation collectively
  • and lead to an amplification of your

Destructive dynamics are triggered by specific situations. This is different for each destructive dynamic.

Just like a red flag to a bull, Person 1 reacts to that situation. And Person 2 reacts to Person 1.

However logical these reactions may be, together they only make the situation worse.

An example

Everyone is busy nowadays. And work is busy too. That causes stress. And stress triggers you to go into action mode. You want to eliminate the (cause of) stress.

Now, imagine there's a problem, and there's pressure behind it. Person 1 then goes into action mode. This means that the first idea that comes up is executed. Person 2 also feels the pressure to get to work.

Because they haven't thought it through properly, they work hard but not effectively. The problem isn't solved properly, so the pressure only increases, and they end up working even harder.

The 9 destructive dynamics

The Blame Game

Problems result in accusations instead of solutions.

Terminate the dominator

Dominant behavior pushes others into submissive behavior and creates dependency.

Own people first

Favoring oneself harms the group's interest, and with that your own interest.

The delusion of distrust

Distrust is the fertile soil for more distrust.

Fake it 'till you make it

Role divisions create one-sided behavior, turning people into caricatures.

Bias towards action

(Time) pressure results in quick yet inefficient action, which increases pressure.

The impression of incompetence

The impression that someone is incompetent causes that person to underperform.

The myth of talent

Not the 'talent', but the investment causes a person to blossom.

The conflict spiral

The hunger for retaliation in conflicts creates a downward spiral.

About the authors

Hans van Dijk

Dr. Hans van Dijk is Associate Professor at TIAS School for Business and Society and co-founder of the Including Behavior Institute.

As an international speaker and trainer, he is known for his creative use of experiential learning and audience engagement. The including behavior training that he co-developed is a prime example of this.

In his research and teaching, Hans focuses on difficulties in collaboration, relationships, and leadership at work. Topics that he focuses on are at the intersection of leadership, team performance, social and psychological safety, and diversity and inclusion.

His scientific studies have been published in top scientific journals such as the Academy of Management Annals, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Journal of Business Ethics.

Dr. Stefan Cloudt bridges the gap between science and practice in the fields of collaboration, organizational development, and dynamics within organizations.

He teaches at the Department of Organization Studies at Tilburg University and is also affiliated with the Amsterdam School of Real Estate. In 2015, he earned his PhD with a dissertation on organizational development in housing associations.

Additionally, he advises organizations on strategy, internal organization, and partnerships.

Stefan also conducts social audits for housing associations nationwide and has been appointed by the Flemish Minister of Housing for ten years to conduct performance assessments at social housing organizations in Belgium.

"Destructieve dynamieken" is an insightful book that not only provides understanding but also offers guidance on how to deal with interpersonal conflicts within organizations.

Rudy Kor

If you are involved in leadership communication, this book can be very helpful. Four stars.



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