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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Lacan’s ideas shed light on why and how we are influenced by social structures including the organizations for which we work. This chapter explores how his insights have informed studies of identities in organizations, along with the obstacles to, and potentialities for, further research. The chapter begins by locating Lacan’s work in organizational identification scholarship, specifically the psychoanalytic approach, before offering an interpretation of concepts including signification and subjection. Two more-or-less distinct trajectories of Lacanian approaches to organizational identification are presented: one focuses on the micro-level of employees’ engagements with their organizations, the second examines the appeal of macro-level discourses regarding work and capital. Next, specific concepts inherent in a Lacanian approach to organizational identification are outlined including: affect, ‘going beyond’ subjection, gender, and finally methodological implications for empirical research. The author then discusses future ‘impossibilities’ for the study of organizational identification, and problematizes the use of Lacan’s approach in explorations of identity work. The chapter concludes with some future directions for research.

Keywords: affect, fantasy, gender, language, psychoanalysis, signification, Lacan

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