Soul and Org Archetypes LO1228

David E. Birren, MB/5, 608.267.2442 (
Mon, 15 May 1995 19:10 CST

Several people have raised questions about the applicability of the
concept of soul to organizations. I'd like to ask those who are familiar
with Thomas Moore's CARE OF THE SOUL whether it makes sense to think of
organizations as displaying characteristics of the archetypes he
describes: father (the guide), mother (the one who nurtures and then has
to let go), lover (the one who is dedicated to a single goal), narcissist
(the self-absorbed one), etc.

I'm beginning to think that an organization can be understood in terms of
the interactions among these archetypes, in particular which ones tend to
dominate under which conditions, and how they negotiate for power and
influence. Part of this could deal with the question of whether/how
individuals play multiple roles, and under what circumstances.

There are other systems of archetypes and I'd certainly be interested in
how those might apply to organizations, not just Moore's.

Is this a useful line of dialogue?

David E. Birren Phone: (608)267-2442
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources Fax: (608)267-3579
Bureau of Management & Budget Internet:
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"What is to give light must endure burning."
Viktor Frankl