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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Burkard Sievers

Prof Burkard Sievers (1942-2022) was Professor Emeritus of Organization Development in the Schumpeter School for Business and Economics at Bergische University Wuppertal in Germany. In his research he focused on unconscious dynamics in management and organization from a socio-analytic and systemic perspective. In 1995, he was awarded the price for participation by the HBK Bank in Antwerp, Belgium, for his book, Work, Death and Life Itself : Essays on Management and Organisation.

His writing on ‘motivation as a surrogate of meaning’, ‘leadership as perpetuation of immaturity’, ‘trusting in trust against all reason’ and ‘the management of wisdom in organisations’ and his love for magic dragons (curing the monster) has earned respect in the critical management academic community.
His consultancy work with regard to exploring the impact of encapsulated historic guilt / shame re the nazi third reich atrocities into present day German corporations in unparalleled, as were his explorations into the meaning of finance in globalised markets from a socio-analytic perspective.

Burkard founded the German group relations institute ‘Mundo’ and directed it’s yearly German GR conferences ‘Menschen in Organizationen’ and later the series of international group relations conferences ‘Trans-European Management’ for over two decades, inviting international staff from across the globe to explore the effects of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of Eastern Europe on business & society from an experiential Systems Psychodynamic perspective.

Burkard had a close working relationship with Gordon Lawrence and frequently invited him for Social Dreaming Workshops to Germany.

In 2003 Burkard collated all available publications of our field into an ISPSO bibliography, which was made available to members, a very first step towards what evolved into what we today know as the ISPSO library. (Sievers, Burkard & Arndt Ahlers-Niemann (2003): The Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations. A bibliography in the making. Arbeitspapiere des Fachbereichs Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Nr. 200)

He is Past-President (2007-2009) of ISPSO. He introduced reduced membership & conference fees for participants from East European countries and thus substantially contributed to expanding our field in Eastern Europe.

Burkard was lead editor on a volume publishing outstanding papers from ISPSO: Sievers, Burkard (ed.) (2009): Psychoanalytic Studies of Organizations: Contributions from the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO) 1983-2008. London:Karnac