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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Competition: Some Reflections on its archetypal roots and its effects on today

This paper reflects on how the required sense of reality for organizations to set their strategic course vis-a-vis the competition may be impaired by the constellation of archetypal forces in the unconscious of the organization. Analytical Psychologys central notions of archetype and complex are briefly (re)introduced. Hereafter, a concise description of the school-book strategy development process for organizations is presented. Two archetypes and their associated complexes are described: Heracles and Ares. It is speculated how these complexes may cloud healthy decision making. Parallels between the possible workings of these processes and recent troubles in a number of companies such as Shell, Swissair, Enron and Ahold are explored. The paper concludes with some thoughts on how the risk of such complexes constellating may be reduced.