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 11: The Trickster

Monika Kostera


The Trickster is one of Jung’s classic archetypes (Jung, [1959] 1990). A Trickster is a rebel and a nonconformist who uses paradox and irony; often, is a person who possesses wisdom, but they can also be an ordinary clown or a rebellious jester. Even if the Trickster is not wise, his or her action can stimulate reflection and amaze, which in turn can create new ways of viewing reality; the Trickster can also uncover new realms of reality that were covered under common truths and habitual interpretations. The archetype of the Trickster appears often in mythologies – usually in the shape of a wanton spirit or a powerful supernatural creature who plays tricks on deities and people. Tricksters are not depicted as an evil spirit though they may be perverse, transgress accepted norms and break habits. By doing so they may open people’s eyes, but will not offer any new truths or appearances to replace the shattered illusions. The Tricksters like to change shape, impersonates others, becomes an epitome of transformation. Sometimes they are just a swindler. Tricksters lie with abandon, and often cannot see the difference between the truth and a lie, or at least no moral difference. An example of a deity who helps people to see a new dimension of reality but sometimes is simply malicious is the Scandinavian Loki, who will never miss an opportunity to play a trick on others, be they gods or mortals.

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