The introductory paper to the Special Issue discusses psychoanalytic contributions to the study of contemporary organizations. The aim is to draw attention to psychoanalysis as a critical theory with wide explanatory power and a potential for thinking about organizational practice in new ways. It does so firstly, by reviewing the impact it had so far on illuminating group dynamics, leadership dysfunctions and the sanctioned socially institutional defences. Secondly, it contests the limited impact of psychoanalysis on mainstream organization and management theory as an unfortunate outcome since it represents arguably the most advanced and compelling conception of human subjectivity that any theoretical approach has to offer. By way of example, seven papers comprising this Special Issue are introduced. Lastly the paper outlines future developments in the psychoanalytic studies of organizations that might be about: (i) greater conceptual inclusivity and crossing the boundaries between the humanities and science; (ii) the study of affect and emotion in organizations (iii) an integration of psychoanalytical insights with social theory via psychosocial approaches and 'systems psychoanalysis' and (iv) linking psychoanalysis to discourses of power and the politics of life. © The Author(s) 2012.
- conceptual inclusivity
- psychosocial approaches