The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of a specialist at a research institution turned into an unwilling manager who lost her Jungian self under the managerial persona and shadow pressures of the organization. The findings lead to a personal development model.
The problem and solution are translated into Jungian language, which fits with the Buddhist approach chosen by the interviewee. The case study looks for answers to questions: How responsible should individuals be? How far should they go: blow the whistle? Is responsible leadership possible in an organization whose ego is in the powerful grip of its persona and shadow? What is the role of individual/group/organizational/societal unconscious in striving for responsible leadership? Can an organization become aware of its persona and shadow and develop into an enlightened self?
Individuals can take responsibility for the less powerful but not always for the more powerful. Whistle‐blowing may be counterproductive. Responsible leadership is possible, if individuals/groups/organizations/societies are mature enough to become aware of their persona and shadow to free this energy for responsible behaviour. A Jungian‐Buddhist personal development model is built.
Single case study results are not generalizable, but the presented problem may be common in research organizations. The model requires further empirical support.
Holistic personal development: “Loose (don’t lose) your self. Shelve your persona! Don’t fear your shadow; learn to know it!”
The paper presents a novel account of presenting and solving a real‐life managerial problem through integrating Buddhist and Jungian knowledge, and introducing a Jungian‐Buddhist model.
Ketola, T. (2012), "Losing your self: managerial persona and shadow pressures killing responsible leadership", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 470-487. https://doi.org/10.1108/02621711211226051Download as .RIS
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