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Jungian archetypes and dreams of social enterprise.

Brown, Mary Louise; McDonald, Seonaidh; Smith, Fiona


Mary Louise Brown

Seonaidh McDonald

Fiona Smith


This paper considers organizational identity and the way in which cultural change involves repercussions at an unconscious, psychodynamic level. It considers, in Jungian terms, the nature of the relationship between individuals and their organization, and archetypal themes influencing both. Social enterprises in Britain face many challenges in retaining their aims to address issues of social deprivation, whilst at the same time being urged to become more commercially oriented, thus experiencing tension between the need for both philanthropy and commercial pragmatism. We investigated a purposive sample of social enterprises and their leaders, to discover the archetypal themes influencing their strategies for change. Respondents appeared driven either by the archetype of entrepreneur or social reformer. Only one individual had apparently succeeded in balancing both roles through the process called by Jung ˜individuation, that is, through understanding and acknowledging the less developed or preferred areas of the self, and refusing to project the less desired areas of his, and his organisations unconscious. In psychodynamic terms only this individual had been able to reconcile ego-ideal and organizational ideal. It is suggested that engaging with the individuation process may assist organizations and their leaders to make better sense of the ambiguities of the change process.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 31, 2013
Journal Journal of organizational change management
Print ISSN 0953-4814
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 4
Pages 670-688
Institution Citation BROWN, M.L., MCDONALD, S. and SMITH, F. 2013. Jungian archetypes and dreams of social enterprise. Journal of organizational change management [online], 26(4), pages 670-688. Available from:
Keywords Change management; Cultural change; Entrepreneurialism; Jungian archetypes; Jungian psychology; Non-profit organisations; Organisational culture; Scotland; Social enterprise; Ego ideal; Individuation; Shadowing


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