Transitional Objects and Phenomena

This classic 1953 article by DW Winnicott introduces the important concepts of transitional phenomenona and transitional objects. It is remarkable how durable this original thinking is when it comes to psychoanalytic theory and in particular its application to organizational culture, play, and the potential (psychological) space with the capacity for holding, containment, negative capability, necessary for creativity and imagination.

Following Winnicott’s direction, productive and facilitative leadership in organizations requires good enough holding. Good enough of course implies that no one is perfect and we all can be neglectful at times. Babies have teddy bears and blankets, what do employees and workers have as substitutes in the absence of the presence of leaders?

International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34:89-97

Link to Full Text

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