Organizations and Archetypes
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Organizations and Archetypes

Monika Kostera

Archetypes are common patterns containing hidden images of human motivations, offering inspiration and awakening imagination. This book is a collection of such tales, connected to twelve organizational archetypes, where each is illustrated by more general theoretical reflections, current management and organization theory literature, as well as practical examples. Monika Kostera proposes an imagery and language for self-management and self-organization for non-corporate use including entrepreneurs and multipurpose NGOs.
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Chapter 5: The organizational Shadow

Monika Kostera


The Shadow is one of the main Jungian archetypes ([1959] 1990; [1921] 1977) and it refers to the negative, dark side of the human soul. The archetype contains unwanted, unaccepted traits, inclinations, aspirations and predilections discarded in the process of socialization. Jung believes that the shadow is a universal subsystem of the psyche, and that it accompanies every person. It is contained within the wider circle of the Self mentioned in the previous chapter and constitutes the Self’s unconscious elements. This means that it is not always seen by its owner. The majority of people concentrate on their Ego, trying to make it socially accepted and best suited to the environment. The Shadow, however, plays an important role in human life. It can be an unconscious source of nuisances and misunderstandings. Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected (Jung, 1938/1966, p. 93). In certain pathological cases, the Shadow can cause serious problems.

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