Losing your self: managerial persona and shadow pressures killing responsible leadership

Losing your self: managerial persona and shadow pressures killing responsible leadership 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Management Development Emerald Publishing

Losing your self: managerial persona and shadow pressures killing responsible leadership

Journal of Management Development, Volume 31 (5): 18 – May 18, 2012

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0262-1711
DOI
10.1108/02621711211226051
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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

Journal of Management DevelopmentEmerald Publishing

Published: May 18, 2012

Keywords: Leadership; Self development; Jungian psychology; Responsible leadership; Managers; Self; Ego; Persona; Shadow

References

  • The Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology
    Giorgi, A.
  • Taming the shadow: corporate responsibility in a Jungian context
    Ketola, T.
  • The third eye: exploring guanxi and relational morality in the workplace
    Tan, D.; Snell, R.S.

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