Re: Soul and Org Archetypes LO1266

Fred Reed (
Wed, 17 May 95 08:10:32 EST

Replying to LO1228 --

David Birren wrote in part:

>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 recommend Gareth Morgan's book "Images of Organization" (Sage, 1986) for
more interesting discussion concerning archetypes and organizations (see
the Exploring Plato's Cave: Organizations as Psychic Prisons chapter)

More than just using archetypes as ways of thinking about organizations,
Morgan raises the argument that organizations are created by both
conscious and unconscious processes, the second being the path by which
archetypes actually help form the organization.

Actually, all sorts of unconscious stuff comes up here. For example,
after examining the life behind the work of Frederick Taylor, Morgan
raises the point: "...there is clearly more than a coincidental
relationship between Taylor's anal-compulsive approach to life and the
mode of organization embraced by scientific management." Later he
generalizes: "To what extent can we understand the bureaucratic form of
organization generally as a manifestation of anal-compulsive pre-
occupations? To what extent do bureaucratic organizations attract and
promote anal-compulsive personalities?"

Besides providing a whole new way to think about that favorite boss of
yours ;-) , I think it points out the need to consider the unconscious
side of many of the issues raised here, the "Incentives" thread being a
very good example. That is, seeing organizations as *manifestations* of
the unconscious (including repressed sexuality, cultural archetypes,
etc.), not just using archetypes and so on as *metaphors* for analysis.

Fred Reed