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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Organisation & Leadership that are Trust-Inducing, Felt-Fair & Stimulate Trust, Initiative & Collaboration: A Re-examination of the later of work of Elliot Jaques & its Relevance to Systems-Psychodynamic Understanding & Consulting to Organisations

This paper presents a re-examination of the later work of Elliot Jaques in the light of the underlying psychoanalytic thinking he was engaging with and the larger themes of the felt-experience of trust, justice and individual's development through which they were emerging. Through these themes Jaques work was about improving organisational efficiency as well as contributing to individual well-being and social health. This is what this paper will mainly focus on. Yet it is these two dual aims lying at the heart of his work that reflect a normative tension that also exists in the consulting profession, the social sciences and in our social, economic and political fabric. It is this tension through which his work is often viewed and judged. It is the tension between the extremes of a neo-liberal business world-view on the one hand and a humanistic social-psychological one on the other. In moral philosophy terms it is the tension between our duty and obligation to one another and our own self-interest. It is the author's opinion that Jaques' work represents a bridge between this normative tension, but it is a tension that Jaques' himself did not manage at all well. Nevertheless, his work makes important contributions to the design and efficiency of organisations and to the well-being of people who work within them. It also contributes to important social, economic and political debates, for example what is the social and corporate responsibility of business and organisations, and has important implications to the profession of organisational consulting, systems-psychodynamics and applied psychoanalysis.