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Managerial postalgia: projecting a golden future

Sierk Ybema (Department of Culture, Organization and Management, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 1 December 2004

Abstract

This article seeks to further understand the significance of “organizational nostalgia” for processes of organizational change and to develop the mirror concept “managerial postalgia”. If nostalgia is a longing for a paradisical past, postalgia refers to a longing for a heavenly future, a desire that is central to change‐talk and change‐initiatives in organizations. The meaning and role of postalgia will be clarified in this paper by comparing and contrasting it with organizational nostalgia and by analyzing ethnographic studies that provide empirical support to substantiate the analogy. It is argued that the glorification of the past, just as the idealization of the future, are part of internal struggles in which organizational actors try to instigate or resist change by praising or dispraising the collective past, present and future. The argumentation demonstrates the significance of temporal constructions of change and continuity through organizational discourse.

Keywords

Citation

Ybema, S. (2004), "Managerial postalgia: projecting a golden future", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 19 No. 8, pp. 825-841. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940410568284

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited