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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Towards a Psychoanalytic Ecology of 'Human Resources'? A Lacanian Contribution to the Management of the Subject at Work

Throughout the past decades several psychoanalytic models that originally were developed for intervention in individual psychopathology, have been extended to the study of organizational and managerial problems. This has resulted in an own field of study and practice (for an overview see e.g. Gabriel et al, 1999; Hinshelwood & Chiesa, 2002; Kets de Vries et al., 1991; Obholzer & Zagier-Roberts, 1994). However, it wasn't until recently that the link has been made between organizational studies on the one hand and Lacanian psychoanalysis on the other hand (see e.g. Long, 1991, 1992). We consider this move as interesting since it implies a gain: on the one hand it enables us to focus on the object psychoanalytic studies are classically occupied with: unconscious processes, and on the other hand it implies a strongly discursive-oriented approach of the object at hand, which discourages psychological speculation. In this paper we sketch some outlines of the Lacanian psychoanalytic approach and discuss relevant implications for studying and intervening upon organizational problems. Our core claim is that Lacanian psychoanalysis entails an interesting view on subjectivity, and that this view implies an innovative approach of human issues in organizational functioning.