Jung’s influence on the way we think about work and our lives at work and, quite indirectly, about how we develop organisations was immense. Yet, this was never his purpose. His influence can be felt in how we understand the impact of the unconscious at work, in personality profiling, in how our personal identities can be caught up in what we do and where we work, in the mid-life crisis and its impact on leadership, in our ideas about branding, and in notions of self-actualisation.
Fifty Years Jung
Human beings seem to like opposites. Did you prefer Blur or Oasis in the 90s? Beatles or the Stones in the 60s? Prefer travelling by bus or by Underground in London? And if you have any interest in psychological theories, is your inclination more Freud or Jung? Along with the London Underground, Oasis and the Beatles, I have no doubt in my inclination towards Jung. Just feels right. And strangely, while the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of the Analytical Psychology approach to psychotherapy, didn’t give too much explicit attention in his vast range of writings to work organisations, Carl Gustav Jung’s (1875-1961) work has had and continues to exert a huge influence over our thinking about organisations.
To mark the 50th Anniversary of his death, Management Today (June 2011) argued in a most stimulating article that ‘Jung’s ideas have become such an integral part of business that many don’t even realise they were his in the first place’. So in this suite of pieces I will draw from that article and other sources to outline the main ways in which this is the case and how these ideas continue to exert considerable influence and certainly infuse my practice as a management consultant.
We’ll have brief looks at:
- The unconscious at work
- Personality profiling
- Personal identity and work
- Ageing and the midlife crisis
- Branding and archetypes
- Spirituality at work
- Organisations as the collective at work
- Know your Myers Briggs profile?
- What else do you think the way you think about work is influenced by CG Jung’s work?