Psychoanalytic Perspectives on a Turbulent World

1st Edition

Halina Brunning, Mario Perini

Published June 9, 2010
Reference - 256 Pages
ISBN 9781855758100 - CAT# K377918

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This article is intended to contribute to our understanding of the December 2001 collapse of Enron. The existing literature on Enron’s demise falls largely into two broad areas, involving either “micro” psychological explanations or “macro” accounts that emphasize the workplace and its environment; this paper is an exploratory study that focuses on a new interpretation which links the two areas more closely together. It is proposed that Enron’s culture was influenced by both “micro” and “macro” factors: an experience of unsuccessful paternal authority figures within the family history of Enron’s leaders, coupled with an experience of problematic government and regulatory regimes associated with the gas industry. Drawing on concepts from psychoanalysis and its application to organizational dynamics, it is argued that these “micro” and “macro” factors helped to generate an Oedipal mindset in Enron’s leaders according to which external authority was seen to be weak and not worthy of respect, and that this contributed to Enron’s demise. Implications for theory are examined.


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