Psycho Management by Robert Spillane

01 / 04 / 2017

The ultimate test of management is performance - the

achievement of actual results. Why, then, do Australian managers

concern themselves with their colleagues’ personalities and

motives? Why have they become infatuated with emotional

intelligence and, in bizarre cases, with spiritual intelligence?

Traditionally, managers who performed earned the right to argue

with their colleagues. Nowadays, individuals who argue are said to

lack ‘soft skills’ while a sad few are thought to be suffering from

a personality disorder.

The popularity of soft-skill management has created

psychomanagers: managers who have entered into a

Faustian bargain with psychologists. Some managers work

with psychologists to master themselves; others work with

psychologists to master other people. As psychomanagement

requires specialised knowledge, many Australian managers have

yielded their authority to counsellors, coaches and consultants,

many of whom believe that human behaviour is determined by

internal and external forces over which individuals have little or

no control. Accordingly, psychologists have laboured to absorb

the idea of the free and responsible individual into a pseudoscientific

framework that denies moral agency. The result is that

ideas of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ have been replaced with ‘healthy’ and

‘sick’. In their pursuit of a ‘therapeutic state’, psychologists have

medicalised morality and managers have embraced powerful

myths about minds, motive-forces, personality traits, social

conditioning, leadership, occupational stress and mental illness.

Consequently, the twin ideas of personal freedom and responsibility

have been sabotaged.

This book is about Australian managers and their long-standing

love affair with psychologists. For fifty years the author has

studied, taught and consulted with managers and waltzed with

several famous psychologists.

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