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 ClinicSee all reviews...
“Possesses a refreshing ambiance. . . . A philosophically and psychologically grounded critique of contemporary organizational dominance over individuals.”
—Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
“An invitation to critical thinking about human consequences of involvement in complex organizations. Denhardt integrates the diverse thoughts of sociologists, social psychologists, philosophers, and management theorists who have contributed to organizational analysis.”
“A notable philosophical disquisition on individuation and praxis. . . an essential prelude to the necessary reform of modern organizations.”
—William G. Scott, coauthor of Organizational America
“Denhardt’s emphasis upon individuality may in time lead us to explore the covenantal nature of organization.”
—Vincent Ostrom, author of The Intellectual Crisis in American Public Administration
“For an organizational society trying to understand its ‘organizationness,’ this well argued and well written work is an important guide. It is not necessary to agree completely with the analyses or the prescriptions to be enlightened and challenged.”
—Dwight Waldo, author of The Administrative StateSee fewer reviews...