Work and play in management studies: A Kleinian analysis

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Title: Work and play in management studies: A Kleinian analysis
Authors: Kavanagh, Donncha
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Date: 2011
Online since: 2013-12-03T09:47:23Z
Abstract: This paper takes some of Melanie Klein s ideas, which Bion (1961/1998) previously used to understand group dynamics, to analyse the discipline of management studies since its birth in the United States in the late 19th century. Specifically, it focuses on the idealisation of work and play, and argues that at its inception, for idiosyncratic historical reasons, the discipline was rooted in a paranoid-schizoid position in which work was idealised as good and play as bad. The paper maps out the peculiar set of factors and influences that brought this about. It then examines how and if, again following Klein, the discipline has evolved to the depressive position, where the idealisations are replaced by a more ambiguous, holistic semantic frame. Seven different relationships between work and play are then described. The paper contends that the originary splitting and idealisation is foundational to the discipline, and provides an enduring basis for analysing management theory and practice. It concludes by using this splitting to map out five potential future trajectories for the discipline.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, University of London
Journal: Ephemera, theory & politics in organization
Volume: 11
Issue: 4
Start page: 336
End page: 356
Copyright (published version): the author(s) 2011
Keywords: Melanie KleinPsychoanalysisManagement studies
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

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