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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

The psychological meaning of work insecurity among senior executives: Where does containment come from?

Job insecurity used to be associated with blue collar workers. Recent data, however, show that very senior executive jobs have become no less transient. Senior executives in large international businesses are expecting to move between organisations every 3 to 5 years. But the human waste at the top is dramatic since many executives drop off the corporate ladder and do not find equivalent employment opportunities. While some of us may find it hard to feel sorry for senior executives who we associate with privilege, the personal reality for many of these talented professionals is grim. The stereotype of the old organisation was that of a container that, like a family, gave meaning to the life of its employees. This paper uses case study examples to explore the psychological costs and advantages of having short term 'affairs' with one's work.