Article Title

The journey of individuation: A Jungian alternative to the theory and practice of leading authentically

Abstract

Along with increasing interest in the concept of ‘authenticity’ as it applies to leadership, critique of dominant authentic leadership theorizing is also on the rise. This paper joins that critique in relation to a key aspect of dominant theorizing: its neglect of the unconscious and its role in shaping one’s experience and behaviour. This oversight results in an unrealistic version of ‘authenticity’ which over-emphasizes pro-social, positive conduct, prescribes components through which authenticity is achieved, and directs individuals to act from an individually determined ‘true self’ rather than recognizing the role that both others and the wider context play in the creation of that self. The notion of ‘mature personhood’, underpinned by Jung’s theory of individuation is offered as an alternative aspirational aim for those wishing to take up the leading role in a way which align what is ‘real’ for them at a given moment within the demands of organizational contexts. Drawing from Jung’s ideas of ‘the shadow’, the ‘centre point’ and ‘the collective’, we theorize an integrated approach to leadership which accounts for unconscious as well as conscious processes, works with less desirable aspects of the self rather than dismissing them, is achieved through reflexive processes rather than prescriptive formulae; and is collectively, rather than individually determined.

Department

Leadership, Management & Business

Journal

Leadership

Volume

14

Issue

4

Publication Date

2018

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1177/1742715016681942

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