Faking It. Notes on the Margins of Power Theory: Fortune-Telling, Deconstruction, and Organization Development

By Szachowicz-Sempruch, Justyna | Organization Development Journal, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Faking It. Notes on the Margins of Power Theory: Fortune-Telling, Deconstruction, and Organization Development


Szachowicz-Sempruch, Justyna, Organization Development Journal


Abstract

Cultural or collective consciousness is crucial in analyzing organizational development, and I propose to view such cultural phenomenon as fortune-telling as one of its aspects that significantly contributes to the transformation of individuals within groups and organizations.

This study offers an insight into the archetypes of Tarot, one of the most popular systems of fortune-telling in Western culture and a sophisticated, albeit overlooked, instrument of (pop)-psychological empowering.

The Collective Consciousness, Archetypes And Tarot

power is everywhere not because it

embraces everything, but because it

comes from everywhere

(Foucault, 1978, p.93).

One of the recent developments in the understanding of organizations is the application of such conceptual tools as "culture" (Gustavsson, 1992) and "collective consciousness" into organizational analysis (Gustavsson and Harung, 1994). According to these authors (1994, p.34), the "cultural perspective attempts to understand organizations from a subjective viewpoint" whereby "the collective perceptions of the members of the organisation are formed as an interaction between the purpose of the organisation, its members, its symbols, [and] its environment". These conceptual tools are crucial in analyzing organizational development, and I propose to view such cultural phenomenon as fortune-telling as one of their aspects that significantly contributes to the transformation of individuals within groups and organizations at the level of collective consciousness. By collective consciousness I mean the awareness of the collective perspective under which groups and organizations operate, involving primarily judgment, control, manipulation, protection, and defense as fear-based and desire-related behavioral mechanisms. Following Gustavsson and Harung (1994), collective consciousness refers to "the net resultant of all the individual levels of personal development" that becomes a prime mover of organizational behavior and development. Gustavsson (1993) refers to organization as (collective) consciousness. This essay associates fortune-telling with such powerful practices as myth-making, performance and deconstruction, and primarily attempts to evoke its psychic as well as aesthetic significance at the individual level of human transformation. However, if personal development determines individual performance in terms of autonomy, self-realization and other weapons in the game of power, I suggest that similar stages of cultural/collective consciousness development are exhibited at the organizational level. As Gustavsson and Harung (1994, p.34) conclude,

if the general level of psychological

development in the members of the

organization is high, we expect that

the organization, or the combined

total of the individual members'

consciousness, will exhibit a higher

level of organizational development.

Although the collective dimension of human perception of the world has been known for centuries, the terms "collective" as well as "collective unconscious" (rather than conscious) refer to the psychologist Carl Jung, founder of Analytic Psychology as Western psychological practice. According to Jung (1936, P-87),

The collective unconscious is a part

of the psyche which can be

negatively distinguished from a

personal unconscious by the fact

that is does not, like the latter, owe

its existence to personal experience

and consequently is not a personal

acquisition. While the personal

unconscious is made up essentially

of contents which have at one time

been conscious, but which have

disappeared from consciousness

through having been forgotten or

repressed, the contents of the

collective unconscious have never

been in consciousness, and

therefore have never been

individually acquired but owe their

existence exclusively to heredity. …

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