Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of a specialist at a research institution turned into an unwilling manager who lost her Jungian self under the managerial persona and shadow pressures of the organization. The findings lead to a personal development model. Design/methodology/approach – The problem and solution are translated into Jungian language, which fits with the Buddhist approach chosen by the interviewee. The case study looks for answers to questions: How responsible should individuals be? How far should they go: blow the whistle? Is responsible leadership possible in an organization whose ego is in the powerful grip of its persona and shadow? What is the role of individual/group/organizational/societal unconscious in striving for responsible leadership? Can an organization become aware of its persona and shadow and develop into an enlightened self? Findings – Individuals can take responsibility for the less powerful but not always for the more powerful. Whistle‐blowing may be counterproductive. Responsible leadership is possible, if individuals/groups/organizations/societies are mature enough to become aware of their persona and shadow to free this energy for responsible behaviour. A Jungian‐Buddhist personal development model is built. Research limitations/implications – Single case study results are not generalizable, but the presented problem may be common in research organizations. The model requires further empirical support. Practical implications – Holistic personal development: “Loose (don’t lose) your self. Shelve your persona! Don’t fear your shadow; learn to know it!” Originality/value – The paper presents a novel account of presenting and solving a real‐life managerial problem through integrating Buddhist and Jungian knowledge, and introducing a Jungian‐Buddhist model.
Journal of Management Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 18, 2012
Keywords: Leadership; Self development; Jungian psychology; Responsible leadership; Managers; Self; Ego; Persona; Shadow
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