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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Psychological Barriers to Personal Responsibility

In this article we explore managerial implications of employee defensiveness and the ways in which employees assume responsibility for their work. Managers intent on delegating authority and responsibility to encourage employees to participate in management must appreciate the important relationships between (1) anxiety, self-esteem, and psychological defensiveness and (2) the willingness of employees to assume responsibility. We present a model that describes the relationship among these characteristics and their impact on employee behavior. Managers who better understand these relationships can respond more sensitively and effectively to subordinates, superiors, and employees who may have problems in dealing with matters of personal responsibility.