THE ADDICTIVE ORGANIZATION by Anne Wilson & Diane Fassel Schaef


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Yet another extension of the concept of ""addiction""--this time to the corporate world--by psychosociologist Schaef (Women's Reality, 1986; Co-Dependence, 1986; and When Society' Becomes an Addict, 1987) and organizational consultant Fassel. Schaef and Fassel make a case for managers, workers, and organization members exhibing the classic symptoms of addiction--denial and avoidance, assuming no way out, manipulating events to maintain the status quo. Thus, ""workaholism"" both is fed by and feeds the addictive corporate system. What Peters and Waterman (In Search of Excellence) tout as a value (corporate dedication), Schaef and Fassel mark as an addiction, one that can appear under several guises: where the key person is an addict; where individuals bring addictive behavior learned elsewhere to the workplace; where the organization becomes not only the setting but the substance, the central focus of peoples' lives; and where the organization itself functions as the addict--a center of denial, overwork, confusion, cover-up, and ""pleasing the boss."" The authors attempt to lead concerned readers to a ""paradigm shift""--a sort of New Age transformation or self-empowerment. Corporate leaders, in turn, must break away from control and into ethical self-responsibility. A solid formulation of a theory that probably isn't, however, quite the cause d'etre of corporate malaise that the authors suppose.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Publisher: Harper & Row