chapter  4
12 Pages

Unconscious dynamics in the educational organisation: psychoanalytic contributions to administration and leadership studies EUGENIE A . SAMIER

Psychoanalytic theory has always played a role in administrative and leadership studies, enjoying periods of popularity and decline. Kets de Vries’ extensive work in this area over the last 20 years, since the appearance of The Neurotic Organisation in 1984, has renewed interest in psychoanalysis, as well as the recent spate of books and articles on narcissism and psychopathy in management studies, most from a psychoanalytic perspective. In the field’s earlier history, Horney, Bettelheim, Fromm, and Klein led theorists like Baum, Hirschhorn, and Argyris to incorporate fundamental psychoanalytic concepts in their work as it offered an explanation for the more hidden yet tacitly perceived aspects of organisational experience arising from preconscious and unconscious dynamics. This includes the undisclosed, avoided, and often denied fears and anxieties of individuals affecting culture and politics by examining unconscious meaning of ‘behaviors, psychological processes, social actions, and life situations’ (Cartwright 2004: 211). Most educational leadership underestimates those interrelations of an individual’s internal and external worlds central to psychoanalysis that contribute to healthy relationships and environments as well as conflict resulting in bureaupathologies, toxic cultures, and destructive micropolitics. It is part of the 90 per cent of the tacit and informal organisation that lies beneath rational structures and functions.