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Transitional and quasi‐objects in organization studies: Viewing Enron from the object relations world of Winnicott and Serres

Adrian Carr (University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, New South Wales, Australia)
Alexis Downs (School for Professional Studies, St Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 August 2004

Abstract

It is proposed to examine how these two different models of human relations – that of Winnicott and Serres – illuminate features of contemporary organizational life. With these models, one can view recent scandals in the USA, specifically the implosion of the energy firm, Enron. Previous accounts of Enron emphasize the manipulations of income and accounting irregularities; however, it is suggested that the accounting manipulations illuminate features of human relations within and outside the economic firm. As a case study, Enron provides a good example of how the object theories of Winnicott and Serres illuminate aspects of behavior in our contemporary organizations and address problems of postmodernity. Andrew Fastow, former CFO of Enron, is the postmodern subject with pathological splitting behavior. Enron is the playground where Fastow played with quasi‐objects among other postmodern subjects. Enron is also the site where the circulation of quasi‐objects in the form of SPEs suddenly ceased.

Keywords

Citation

Carr, A. and Downs, A. (2004), "Transitional and quasi‐objects in organization studies: Viewing Enron from the object relations world of Winnicott and Serres", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 352-364. https://doi.org/10.1108/09534810410545119

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited