In the Shadow of Organization

Robert B. Denhardt

This book deals with the dilemma of individual autonomy in an organizational society. It argues that the organizations that we established to work for us have instead imprisoned us. Drawing upon critical social theorists like Habermas, depth psychologists like Jung, and phenomenologists like Husserl, author Robert B. Denhardt shows how the "ethic of organization" inhibits the individual's search for meaning and then discusses strategies for enhancing the individual's role. He champions independence, expressiveness, and creativity over discipline, regulation, and obedience. To this first paperback edition, Denhardt has added a new introduction that focuses on leadership's key role in humanizing organizations, as well as a bibliographical update.

“An important contribution. . . . Denhardt [develops] a new paradigm for man to come to terms with his own individuality and understand the place of organization in modern society. . . . In his words: the central question is no longer how the individual may contribute to the efficient operation of the system, but how the individual may transcend that system. His argument is concise and clearly written. This is a fine piece of thought-provoking scholarship.”

American Political Science Review

“This book is a fresh breeze in the literature on management and administration, which has been preoccupied with seeking the integration of persons into organizations.”

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
See all reviews...

About the Author

Robert B. Denhardt is professor of public administration at the University of Missouri-Columia and the author of Theories of Public Organization.

Additional Titles in the Studies in Government and Public Policy Series