Two Forms of Organizational Decay

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Title: Two Forms of Organizational Decay
Year: 2001
Authors: Schwartz, H.

Organizations as we have known them are rooted in Oedipal psychology. They are patterns of exchange within wider patterns of exchange. They exist objectively outside of ourselves and are indifferent to our subjectivity. Our engagement with them becomes possible through the role of the father, who represents this indifference within the family configuration. The premise is that if we become like the father, which is to say take up our place in the pattern of exchange, we will be able to have the mother, which is to say the world will revolve around us with love.

Political correctness is based on a rejection of this premise. Its root lies in the rejection of the indifference of reality as represented by the father. Its premise is that the reason we do not have the mother is that she has been taken by the father who fed us the ideology of the world's indifference as a means of maintaining his oppressive control. As opposed to the Oedipal model, which says become like the father and you can have mother, it substitutes the idea that if you get rid of the father, you can have mother. I call this anti-oedipal psychology.

Oedipal psychology gives rise to organizational decay when the fantasy develops that the organization's high officials are the perfect father and the organizations' processes are given over to the maintenance of this fantasy. Anti-oedipal psychology gives rise to another form of organizational decay, built around the fantasy of the perfect mother, who will take care of us if the father's oppression is gotten out of the way. But this means that the organization itself, as a pattern of exchange, becomes its own enemy. Anti-oedipal organizational decay is therefore a more lethal form of organizational decay, since it takes the destruction of the organization itself as its object.

A number of dimensions of this are outlined, including the undermining of organizational standards, the transformation of organizational meaning, the undermining of organizational motivation, the deterioration of language, and the development of passivity among organizational employees.

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Keywords: organizational decay, Political correctness, Oedipal model, Anti-oedipal psychology
Language: English

Date: 6/15/2001
Location: Paris, France
Name of Event/Conference: 18th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations
Sponsoring Organization: ISPSO

Submitted by:
Elizabeth Novogratz

Corresponding author:

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