The Unconscious Life of Organizations: Interpreting Organizational Identity

The Unconscious Life of Organizations: Interpreting Organizational Identity

The Unconscious Life of Organizations: Interpreting Organizational Identity

The Unconscious Life of Organizations: Interpreting Organizational Identity

Synopsis

Diamond offers a contemporary psychodynamic view of organizational life. The author stresses the unconscious dimensions of hierarchic and other work relationships in organizations. From these workplace interactions, he argues, come not only the structure of values and rituals--what he refers to as organizational cultures, but the structure of organizational emotions--what he calls organizational identities. The book offers the organizational theorist, human resource professional, and organizational consultant a variety of psychodynamic tools to apply in understanding and positively changing organizations.

Excerpt

In this book, I introduce the reader to numerous snapshots of unconscious organizational life hidden behind the official organization. On the basis of contemporary psychodynamic thinking, I explore the unconscious dimension of knowledge, power, and social relationships in work organizations. Governing these relationships, I find organizational culture, the values that shape people's actions at work, and organizational identity, the network of emotional relationships that define who they are in a work group and, ultimately, who they are as organizational members. By probing for the deeper layers of organizational meaning and images held by individual members, we can bring to light the reasons and motives for their collective actions, and exploring these depths can make their problems better understood. This understanding of organizational life goes to the origins of the psychology of work.

The book transcends the technical rational approach to the study of behavior in organizations by isolating and then analyzing the nonrational side of administrative behavior. In it, I attempt to show how the different characteristics of organizations emerge from the dynamics of shared and projected emotions between leaders and followers, between managers and subordinates, and among peers. These complementary unconscious feelings anchor the definition of organizational membership in interpersonal relationships at work. The result is the emotionally grounded structure of organizations, what I call the organizational identity.

What distinguishes this book from other psychodynamic approaches to organizations are the following: (1) an up-to-date synthesis of object . . .

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