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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Competition and the Search for Self: Implications for Organizational Life

Competition takes place both within and between organizations. Many consider competition in both arenas essential to the health not only of organizations but of society as a whole. Those who think this way often do so however without any clear understanding of the underlying sources of the competitive impulse and the implications of competition for the organizations emotional life, which may as easily prove destructive as conducive to effective organizational functioning. In this paper, I explore the emotional meaning of competition. I emphasize two aspects of competition: 1. Competition, play, and reality testing: How competition expresses the impulse to test the reality of the self in a world of others. 2. Competition, greed and envy: How the testing of the self in the world of others becomes the drive to dominate others and establish the one true self.