Day three of the 60th anniversary, 60% off book special features The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice by Seth Allcorn and Howard Stein. Read an excerpt from a Q and A with the authors below.
“One of the true strengths of this book is the careful and clear explanation of particular aspects of psychoanalytic theory. It is rare in the field of organizational behavior to find these topics presented in a way that can be easily understood and immediately practiced.”—Aaron J. Nurick, Bentley University, author of The Good Enough Manager: The Making of a GEM
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Regularly $45 • Now $18
9780826220653 • hardcover • 244 pp. • 3 illus.
Advances in Organizational Psychodynamics
Allcorn and Stein use a psychoanalytically informed perspective to help readers understand why a leader, colleague, or friend behaves in ways that are destructive of others and the organization and provides a basis for organizations to survive and thrive in a dysfunctional workplace. The book is organized around illustrative stories arranged by theme and concludes with an exploration of the implications of research and analytic practice.
This guide has more information about the book and includes a conversation with the authors and a reading guide. Here is an excerpt from the Q and A:
Q: The idea of rationality and the fact that so many organizations (or individuals) do not behave rationally is important to your book. One way you describe rational behavior is working to efficiently make a profit or working in one’s own economic interest. You also point out that it is difficult to have people’s emotional needs met in the workplace. Could the goal of making a profit be an unsatisfying goal? Could you see capitalism itself as contributing to dysfunction?
SA: The book focuses on trying to understanding a vast array of dysfunctions (35 stories) from the perspective of psychology or more specifically a psychoanalytically informed perspective. Organizations actually do not do anything – people do. And people often only do what they are told by the CEO types. Sometimes, as in recent events, loyalty is considered to be very high value – submission to the CEO must preferably be complete. Given this perspective that people in the workplace make decisions and take actions then we might say words like capitalism, corporatism, communism, Catholicism and so on are meaningless until people operationalize them. So given this appreciation, capitalism does not do anything and neither does a hydrogen bomb sitting on the top of a missile. Someone has to pull the trigger and someone has to give an order to do so. The book then encourages us to not look to reification (the organization did something) as an explanation but rather that the leader and the employees did something – people are responsible. From this perspective capitalism or the bomb merely exist as potentialities and are not per se good or bad until leaders and followers make them that way.
HS: The business ideology of rationality serves as a defense against realizing how irrational, unconsciously-driven workplace thought, feeling, and behavior are. There are many forms of capitalism; not all are as soul-destroying as the form that has prevailed since the 1980s with “managed social/organizational change.”