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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Dialogue: Emotion In Organisations: Narcissism v. Social-Ism

I address the perennial puzzle of narcissism v. social-ism in organisations, and, at the same time, consider what is taking place in the inner world of the consultant. There is a profound symbiotic connection between the two. Our consultancy is based on participation. We both partake in the life of the organisation through our clients and we take part in it. The organisation cannot be totally an objective fact 'out there', but is construed subjectively 'in here', in ourselves. What we may agree to be reality is what is inter-subjectively agreed to be the case. We cannot be like the idealised natural scientist standing behind a one way mirror for, as scientists discovered many years ago, they participate in the phenomena they are examining and they interpret the data they are discovering. This raised the alarming possibility that the only reality is the observer's mind, or that there are parallel universes. This was the methodological discovery of the quantum physicists. The ideal of the atomistic analytical approach is unattainable, and is a chimera.