Keynes’ sage observation that “the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent” organizes my thoughts today, on the psychoanalytic study of organizations. The movements of financial markets increasingly shape our societal and individual choices, so present themselves as the environing conditions of our lives. While we seek to understand them through our own projections, as phantastic objects, they are in fact, very concrete in dollar and cents (or Euro/RMB/yen…) terms.
We might argue that the “task” of financial markets is to ensure economic stability; and so, financial markets themselves call into question the classic psychodynamic assumption that task is somehow stable, while dysfunctional behavioral patterns typify task avoidance. Task, as it were, represents the Oedipal “flag” in an otherwise pre-Oedipal model of group understanding. Once task is dismantled, it opens up the psychoanalytic study of organizations to the confusing, often incoherent behaviors we see in financial markets: with evidence of hate, envy, murderous competition, the predominance of concretism over verbal symbol, and the psychosis-inducing patterning of fear-related-need.
Financial markets represent a new paradigm for organizational study, measured in the insufficient solvencies of nation states, economic unions, and individuals. The consulting model must similarly accommodate the same broader spectrum of organizational presentation that psychoanalysis, itself, recognized by the mid 20th century. Madness is in us all. And may be a singular organizational residue of our postmodern, globalized time. We’ve all drunk the Kool-Aid
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