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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Bureaucracy as Externalized Self-System: A View from the Psychological Interior

In this article the author uses Harry Stack Sullivan's theory of social psychiatry and various psychoanalytic applications of organizational theory to suggest to what extent bureaucratized human relations and formal organizational stuctures are products of the psyche and thereby perpetuated by people. A central theme is that bureaucracy enhances the structural manifestation of embedded defensive operations of the person. Asserting the dominance of security needs as motivating forces over other human needs, Sullivan's psychiatry uncovers a serious paradox for students of organizational behavior and development interested in directing the course of bureaucratic reform and organizational change. This article directs future empirical research on the topic of interpersonal and organizational resistance to change and psychological reliance on bureaucratic styles of management.'