Inner and Outer Life at Work. The Roots and Horizon of Psychoanalytically Informed Work Life Research


  • Linda Lundgaard Andersen Roskilde University



work life research, psychoanalytic social psychology, Tavistock, organisational research, unconscious processes


The modern labour market has increasingly put the inner working life on the agenda. This stems from a number of societal changes: the knowledge society and its need of personalised competences and work investments in welfare services, the transformation from subject-object relationships to subject-subject relationships and the emergence of the "learning organisations" and reflexive leadership. All of this has been the subject of critical analyses tracing modern work life identities, conflicts, organisational and societal structuration. Against this background the accounts and conceptualisations of work life involving people to people interactions offered by psychodynamic theories and methods take up a pivotal position. Psychoanalytic organisational and work life research explores how work, organisations and individuals are affected by psychic dynamics, the influence of the unconscious in the forms of human development and interaction situated in a societal context. Based on this substantial work I draw upon two influential psychoanalytical positions—the British Tavistock position and German psychoanalytic social psychology in order to situate and identify how to understand the inner and outer life at work—in a generic display of concepts, methods and epistemology.



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Author Biography

Linda Lundgaard Andersen, Roskilde University

Linda Lundgaard ANDERSEN: Her research has included a substantial number of psycho-societal informed inquiries in education and learning, organisations and evaluation in welfare services and civic society, focusing on democracy and forms of governance, life history and ethnographies. Her particular theoretical work addresses the development of a psycho-societal methodology of the subjective and societal "micro-processes" and their influence of unconscious processes, the ethno-psychoanalytic contribution to psycho-societal theory and practice.




How to Cite

Andersen, L. L. (2012). Inner and Outer Life at Work. The Roots and Horizon of Psychoanalytically Informed Work Life Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(3).