The Fantasy of Inevitability in Organizations

Journal Article or Monograph

Title: The Fantasy of Inevitability in Organizations
Year: 2001
Authors: Levine, D. P.

This paper explores 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 expressed in the idea that however many competitors the organization may face, it remains the one true organization, while the others must be judged false claimants. Operation of the fantasy suggests, therefore, the presence of a narcissistic disturbance in the organization. Inevitability is contrasted with indeterminacy, which expresses the organization's capacity to suspend assumptions and preformed knowledge about itself and its world. The paper considers indeterminacy an emotional capacity and inevitability the result of the inability of the organization to have access to that capacity. The distinction between inevitability and indeterminacy is seen to have important implications for the possibility and nature of organizational change.

Keywords: fantasy,negative capability, narcissism, destruction, hate, death, good, closed system
Language: English

Journal: Human Relations
Volume: 54
Issue: 10
Start page: 1251
End page: 1265
Publisher ID:

Submitted by:
David P. Levine

Corresponding author:

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