Lost in Transition: The Use of Role Objects in Today's Postmodern Organizations

Journal Article or Monograph

Title: Lost in Transition: The Use of Role Objects in Today's Postmodern Organizations
Year: 2008
Authors: Mersky, R.R.

Based on Winnicott’s theory of the transitional object and its essential role
in the healthy development of infants and on contemporary organizational
and immigrant studies, this paper examines the important potential function
of ‘role objects’ in helping role holders in vast global organizations to manage
the transitory, detaching qualities of their experience. The hypothesis of
this paper is that in today’s organizations role objects are primarily ‘things’
rather than meaningful objects that help contain losses during change.
Contemporary working life is characterized by permanent transience and
detachment from familiar workspaces and work objects. This paper
explores in particular five different ways in which objects are used in contemporary
organizational life that illustrate and illuminate the basic
hypothesis of this paper. It closes with some suggested general guidelines

Keywords: Transitional object, object-relations, mourning, role objects, postmodern organizations
Language: English

Journal: Organisational & Social Dynamics
Volume: 8
Issue: 1
Start page: 97
End page: 112
Publisher ID:

Submitted by:
Rose Redding Mersky
Senior Associate
inscape international
Corresponding author:

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