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The Impact of the Social Unconscious on Organizational Learning in Kazakhstan

By Indira Kjellstrand


The purpose of this research is to explore the impact of the social unconscious on organizational learning in Kazakhstan. Organizational learning is presented as a social process, and interpreted as happening in the interplay between social and unconscious emotions and organizational power relations (Vince and Gabriel, 2011; Vince, 2001). Psychodynamic theory is used to study organizational learning. This approach supports an analysis of the interplay between unconscious emotions and power relations that affect organizational learning processes. The study pinpoints how individuals in organizations are bound to organizational power relations, which both define the learning possibilities of its members, and, at the same time, reproduce those power relations. I focus on the unconscious elements of the reproduction of power relations that harbour and steer individual and collective relations (Frosh, 2001). Particular attention is paid to how power relations, which are influenced by the social unconscious (Weinberg, 2007) regulate individuals’ inner worlds and underlie their social interactions. The empirical part of the thesis presents the fieldwork in five organisations where semi-structured interviews were carried out using elements of photo-elicitation, with records kept in my reflexive diary notes. The work is grounded in my empirical data, and designed to address the research questions by iterative movement between the captured data and the theoretical framework. The research contributes to scholarship pertaining to emotion, politics and organizational learning with the key contribution being the insights gained from probing the role of individuals and their emotions in their efforts to learn in post-Soviet organizations. Elements of the old (Soviet) regime linger in the new organizations that form Kazakhstan's free market economy and the tension between these regimes provides an environment that is rich both in emotion and power/politics. This offers an opportunity to shed light on the interplay between emotion as well as power during individual and organizational attempts to learn. More specifically, emotions and organizational power relations are discussed through five aspects of the social unconscious identified from the empirical data. Subsequently, four sets of emotions pertaining to the five aspects are refined from these findings and discussed in terms of the impact that emotions have on learning processes

Year: 2015
OAI identifier: oai:opus.bath.ac.uk:50474

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