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A Jungian archetypal analysis of unconscious dynamics in organisations: A case study in Turkey

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2021
Number of pages227
Awarding Institution
Award date6/07/2021
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis explores organisational psychodynamics using the Jungian concept of archetypes. The field of organisational psychodynamics generally studies the effects of unconscious dynamics on organisations’ primary objectives, usually experienced as organisational conflicts and consequent anxieties. While some aspects of conflicts and anxieties are acknowledged as functional in some organisational contexts, other aspects have proven dysfunctional. In contexts where conflicts are dysfunctional, they are usually addressed with organisational defence mechanisms to mitigate their effects and to direct organisations back to their healthy functioning, with greater or lesser success. While there has been abundant research on Freudian and Kleinian approaches to better situate these psychosocial dynamics and understand the complexities in organisations, little attention has been paid to the Jungian understanding of organisational psychodynamics. Jung (1936a/[1968]) studied conflicts and anxieties as manifestations of deeper archetypal dynamics, the contents of the collective unconscious and argued that they bear potential insights of the archetypes at play provided that they are consciously understood. Drawing upon the Jungian concept of archetypes applied to the study of organisations, this thesis analyses the psychosocial processes in an organisation and explores the significance of the effects of archetypal dynamics for an organisation.

The research adopts a psychosocial qualitative case study approach and reports on the findings of a single, four-month, case study of an organisation based in Turkey. The research methods included 30 semi-structured interviews, observations within the organisation for an extended period and a review of secondary documents.

This thesis makes two contributions to the study of organisational psychodynamics. First, the theoretical contribution of this thesis emerges from using the Jungian concept of archetypes and applying it to the study of organisations as a field. Secondly, it contributes to psychodynamic approaches to organisations empirically by applying this Jungian archetypal approach to the in-depth exploratory analysis of a family-based organisation in a non-western context that has grown to become a multinational organisation.