Reclaiming the future – part 1: perverse cultures
This chapter explores the role of coaching in 'perverse societies'. Leading and coaching in perverse culture means becoming a 'positive deviant'. In perverse cultures, the coaching space incubates and revives hope; together coach and leader work towards building a better future. The concept of the perverse organisation is built on the delineation in the 1970s and 1980s of what cultural historian Christopher Lasch dubbed a Culture of Narcissism. Professor of Management Susan Long sees the behaviours of denial and narcissism as contributing to the idea that whole organisations and institutions can become perverse: showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable. One way to understand the perverse organisation is to refer to child psychoanalyst DW Winnicott's definition of play as occupying the space-time interface between objective reality and inner imagination. By extension the perverse culture is one where play has tipped into fantasy: the link with external reality is lost.