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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

The Fantasy of Inevitability in Organizations

In this paper, I explore the fantasy that an organization must exist, that the world outside cannot go on in its absence, and that the organization is somehow woven into the fabric of society so as to make it inevitable. Inevitability is part of a grandiose fantasy, and is therefore linked to what has been referred to in individuals as pathological narcissism (Kernberg 1970).
Inevitability exists in both traditional and modern settings. I suggest that for the former, inevitability appears not as a fantasy, but as a part of consensual reality, while in the latter the idea is driven underground.
There, it exists as an unconscious fantasy held often in opposition to the conscious knowledge that the organization is not, in fact, inevitable. This opposition has important implications for the possibility and nature of organizational change, which I also consider.