Guest post at Sarah Hoyt’s place.
Psychological displacement in management, politics, and the culture wars – New Class Traitor
All of us have a number of psychological mechanisms for coping with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Some are adaptive (anticipation, humor, building social support networks, …) while others are maladaptive.
Displacement (a term originally coined by Sigmund Freud) is one such maladaptive strategy: the mind substitutes a “safer” goal, object, or target for one deemed to be unattainable or overly dangerous. Some classic examples of ‘displacement’ are a bully picking on a weak kid in response to being picked upon by a bigger bully, or the abusive mid-level employee who works out pent-up rage at bosses or customers on his underlings. Or, for that matter, the frustrated-at-work husband or wife doing so on their spouse.
Like all of us who have dealt with management (in my case, from both sides of the fence) I…
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