Cover image for The workplace within : psychodynamics of organizational life
Title:
The workplace within : psychodynamics of organizational life
Author:
Hirschhorn, Larry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, [1988]

©1988
Physical Description:
x, 265 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780262081696
Format :
Book

On Order

Summary

Summary

The post-industrial age has brought with it a new work environment, complete with new forms of organization and patterns of behavior. It has also created new anxieties for workers and for organizations. In this revealing study, Larry Hirschhorn looks at the social defenses organizations develop to cope with change. Using extended case studies and examples from offices, factories, and social services, he describes why these defenses exist, how they operate, and how they can be reshaped to enhance people's work experience.Unlike traditional studies of the workplace which have tended to focus only on the firm's conscious values, attitudes and norms, "The Workplace Within weaves together psychoanalytic studies, theories of organizations as sociotechnical settings, and conceptions of post-industrial society to uncover the hidden, irrational, and unconscious mechanisms that pattern organizational behavior. It challenges the traditional view that economics or the "bottom line" is the sole, or even the primary, motivating force behind the behavior of work organizations.Hirschhorn examines three major forms of social defense: the basic assumption, the covert coalition, and the organizational ritual. Each is a group behavior that in some way helps contain the anxiety of working; yet each is self-limiting, or even self-defeating. He concludes that the post-industrial work system is double-edged. In supervising total systems of production and working increasingly across d