The Symbiotic Lure: Organizations as Defective Containers

Journal Article or Monograph

Title: The Symbiotic Lure: Organizations as Defective Containers
Year: 2011
Authors: Diamond, M. A.

The purpose of this article is to explore the psychodynamics of regression in organizations. First, the paper presents a brief critique of the rationalist and mechanistic approaches to organizations and their selective inattention to subliminal and unconscious aspects of organizational life, particularly regressive actions. Then, the association between psychological regression and organizational identity is explored with an emphasis on group psychology. Next, the symbiotic lure is introduced as a metaphor for understanding collective regression. Members react to their anxieties about change at work by denying their individual differences and psychologically merging with each another. This common form of regressive withdrawal among organizational participants under stress, threatens participation, consensual decision making, learning and effectiveness. Using Bion's notion of "container" and Winnicott's concept of a "holding environment," the author presents a brief example and discussion that clarifies the processes of change necessary for repairing the damaged organization and renewing its potential for democratic practices and effective service delivery.

Keywords: regression, organizations, unconscious organizational life, identity, container, group psychology
Language: English

Journal: Funzione Gamma Journal
Volume: XX
Issue: X
Start page: 1
End page: 18
Publisher ID:

Submitted by:
Michael Diamond

Corresponding author:

Literature Download:

By downloading the file you agree to comply with the Terms of Use / Guidelines of the ISPSO Library and the copyright/authority information for this Literature (above).

If there is no filename in a link below then a download has not been provided.
Members-only Downloads are via the members-only zone of the website.

External website Download

Local Download

No files attached to this page.

Members-only Download

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License