The psychodynamics of anxiety in organisations
Langley, Catherine Louise
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Unconscious collaborative defences against anxiety can shape an organisation’s structure and processes in ways that diminish both organisational effectiveness and individual well-being. This is rarely discussed in business writing, but is explored in psychodynamically-informed, organisationally-focused literature that emphasises the contribution to be made by a psychodynamic orientation to organisational issues. This dissertation is a hermeneutic review of that literature, to which I bring a dual tradition of business education and corporate career, followed by psychodynamic training and practice. In order to provide context to that primary inquiry, and to bring a business perspective to the integration between business and psychodynamics proposed by the literature, I also consider business-oriented views in connection with safety, emotion, and learning, all of which are topics of interest to psychodynamics; and I explore a recently-proposed alternative to such integration that questions the positivist assumption that an ideal world is one in which we can predict and control what happens. At the end of the dissertation, I discuss the contrast between business and psychodynamic perspectives, the extent to which this contrast creates obstacles to their integration, and suggestions for bridging this gap.