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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Friendship and organization: Learning from the western friendship tradition

This article describes and explores some key concepts from the classical,Western friendship tradition in order to see whether anything may be learned from them about the processes of organizing today. First, it looks at the difference between the modern notion of friendship,which emphasizes intimacy as the basis for an interpersonal relationship, and the classical tradition, which held a much more differentiated view, extending from the interpersonal to the political and systemic. In particular, the idea of friendship as a hexis is described 'that is, as a state of mind or disposition towards others rather than just an intimate relationship. Second, it looks at the idea of 'levels'of friendship' from those based on utility or pleasure to those rooted in a striving after virtue which opens up possibilities for analysing the culture of human relationships in organizations. Finally, it examines ways in which these ideas might be applied in organizations through the elaboration of the practices of friendship in the context of levels of friendship and of the idea of friendship as a state of mind.