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Otherness in self and organisations: Kafka's The Metamorphosis to stir moral reflection

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Abstract

Informed by Jung’s analytical psychology, this chapter discusses Kafka’s short-story The metamorphosis in relation to moral reflection on organisational life. Adopting the view that fiction offers a promising path to engage the reader’s imagination and reflection on moral issues, I explore such process in light of The metamorphosis. I argue that this story not only outlines important moral issues of relevance to workers in modern organisations, but is also particularly effective in eliciting a reaction from the reader which calls for further analysis. Reading about Gregor Samsa’s transformation precludes indifference; instead, it asks us to reflect on our own moral values and behaviours, and to ponder on our tolerance for what is ‘other’. In turn, this enhanced knowledge and understanding of ourselves help explore ethical issues in organisations in a more subjective, creative and holistic manner.