The Organisation of Disappointment

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Clancy,_Organisation_of_Disappointment,_2012.pdf3.66 MBAdobe PDFDownload
Title: The Organisation of Disappointment
Authors: Clancy, Annette
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7584
Date: May-2012
Abstract: The aim of this study is to explore the emotion of disappointment in organisations and to develop a new line of theorising inspired by psychodynamic theory. The current literature casts disappointment as a negative emotion undermining morale, depressing expectations and justifying inaction and inertia. This only captures part of the complexity of disappointment and leaves unexplored both its impact on the organisation and its potential creativity. The study presents a theoretical framework derived from research that depicts disappointment as unfolding in three positions; I am disappointing, I am disappointed and I disappoint. It asserts the importance of disappointment as an integrative emotion. The study identifies a contradiction: that at the same time as being seen as 'of little concern' to individuals, there is fear within organisations that disappointment will undermine stability and destroy positive feelings. The study shows how disappointment is connected to, and may help to transform, the dynamics of blame in organisations. Such transformation can be based on an ability to integrate failure and on a development of the relationship between disappointment and learning. Disappointment represents the loss of the fantasy of stability. When reconceptualised in this way, disappointment results in a reimagining of possibility. Fantasy and reality are brought into conscious awareness and tolerated rather than extruded. The imaginary ideal organisation can be seen for what it is: a fantasy that can never be realised. The imaginary ideal is mourned and replaced by a more realistic entity. Organisation members’ previous efforts to organise disappointment through blame, shame and extrusion is now recognised as a disappointing strategy. Understood thus, disappointment is at the very heart of organising as it invites consideration of the relationship between fantasy and reality. This differentiates it from other types of social defences which, by their nature defend against thinking and learning.
Type of material: Doctoral Thesis
Copyright (published version): 2012 the Author
Keywords: DisappointmentEmotion in organisationPsychoanalysisCreativityLearning
Other versions: http://opus.bath.ac.uk/32166/
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

Show full item record

Google ScholarTM

Check


This item is available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland. No item may be reproduced for commercial purposes. For other possible restrictions on use please refer to the publisher's URL where this is made available, or to notes contained in the item itself. Other terms may apply.