Alexithymia in Organizational Life: The Organization Man Revisited [chapter]

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries
1994 Contributions to Management Science  
In this article the organization man is looked at from a different perspective within the context of a relatively recent clinical construct called alexithymia. Alexithymia -meaning literally no words for moods -is basically a communication disorder which tends to be relatively widespread. It refers to individuals with an extreme reality-based cognitive style, an impoverished fantasy life, a paucity of inner emotional experiences, a tendency to engage in stereotypical interpersonal behavior and
more » ... sonal behavior and a speech pattern characterized by endless, trivial, repetitive details. The proposition is made that there is an interesting parallel between the organization man and those people with an alexithymic disposition. It is suggested that certain types of organizations (e.g, compulsive and depressive) not only legitimize but also foster this type of behavior. In addition, we can find certain management styles (e.g., the detached CEO, the systems person, the social sensor) characterized by alexithymic patterns. In conclusion, a few suggestions are made for ways of dealing with the negative repercussions of the alexithymic executive.
doi:10.1007/978-3-662-12847-3_11 fatcat:4aeidpphxbewdgdq772fkcgps4