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The yin and yang of organization: Applying Jung's terminology to take a closer look at management of shadows
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, EMM (Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management). Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, EMM (Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management).
2008 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

In management and organization research the positive, upward-seeking, producing side (yang) is often described as some kind of best practice that we can get inspired by but as an individual within an organization you also encounter another side that is passive, dark and negative (yin).

“The yang face of managing, the drama of MSF and the corresponding style of its leader, would seem more representative of how management is practiced today. [ ] The drama, not the daily routine, is what attracts and sells. But most managing is about the daily routine—about trying to establish and sustain excellence. In that respect, we need to pay more attention to the mysteries of yin. If there really are two faces of managing, then we have been neglecting one of them.” (Mintzberg 2001, page 312)

In this working paper we would like to explore the yin and yang of organization using Jung’s terminology as a metaphor for different aspects of organization. In a modern world where the yang is related to constructs of masculinity and the yin to constructs of femininity, how can Jungs terminology of the subconscious inhabited by shadows and Anima be included in a notion of management – as managing shadows of the organisations? In 1943 Jung e.g. wrote:

“As a consequence of his identification with the collective psyche he will try to force the demands of his subconscious onto others, because the identification with the collective psyche is followed by a sense of universality (godlikeness) which totally ignores all differences in the personal psyches of fellowmen.” (Jung 1967:42)

Can the dualism in either yang or yin be rephrased as the collective projection of both yang and of yin on others, creating positive yang at the expense of the negative yin? Is positive yang only the rejection of yin and in that case where does yin go? Of particular interest is a situation where the divide between conscious/subconscious is exceptionally large or grandiose fronts take over the managerial role. What would happen if these collective projections are challenged? What kind of implications can this have for the organization and the people within them? What would it take for yang and yin to meet – possibly in consciousness? Empirical examples in the text are based on a field study of a merger together with the authors’ experience of working in an academic organization.

Mintzberg, H. (2001): The Yin and the Yang of Managing, Organizational Dynamics, 29(4): 306-312.

Jung, C. G. (1967): Jaget och det omedvetna (The self and the subconscious), Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008.
Keywords [en]
Jung, archetypes, gender, academia
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-5731OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-5731DiVA, id: diva2:36551
Available from: 2008-06-13 Created: 2008-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Bjursell, CeciliaLarsson, Anna

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