Help us sharing our research, consultation and experiences

Donate Now

The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Characters in Search of a Theatre: Organization as Theatre for the Drama of Childhood and the Drama at Work

Organizations are seen as theatres in which potentially two dramas are enacted simultaneously: the drama of one's childhood and the drama at work. Performance in either of these dramas is related to an experience of suffering. If this suffering becomes pathogenic, both people's health and performance at work deteriorates. Organizations have, however, the possibility of creating a setting in which this suffering can be creatively transcended. Luigi Pirandello's play 'Six Characters in Search of an Author' serves as a metaphor to expand on both the interrelatedness of these two dramas and the possibility for creative transformation of the suffering involved. Two case vignettes from organizations will be presented in which pathogenic suffering might be creatively transcended by exploring and reframing the conflictious situations they describe. They also demonstrate that unless people in organizations claim authorship and authority for the organizational roles in which they find themselves, they remain but 'characters' who tend to repeat their own drama of childhood, rather than of attempting to transcend it in a creative way.