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Leaders on the couch

Author: Kets de Vries, Manfred F. R. INSEAD Area: Organisational BehaviourIn: Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, vol. 26, no. 4, 1990 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 423-431.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask the Library for this articleAbstract: This article explores the psycho-biographical/psycho-historical approach to the study of leadership. Such an approach differs from traditional history in that the life of a subject is reconstructed and evaluated in terms of clinical methods and theories. Freud's study of Leonard da Vinci was the prototype for such work. Those using this approach have been critized for not being sufficiently rigourous about facts and validations, and for practicing psychological reductionism and monocausality. Psychoanalytic theory has advanced since its inception with the development of the interpsychic models, self-psychology, character analysis, and personality assessment. Improved understanding of the role of transference and countertransference in the relationship between the researcher and subject has been particularly important. Influential psycho-biographical studies of leaders by Lasswell, the Georges, and Erikson are discussed
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This article explores the psycho-biographical/psycho-historical approach to the study of leadership. Such an approach differs from traditional history in that the life of a subject is reconstructed and evaluated in terms of clinical methods and theories. Freud's study of Leonard da Vinci was the prototype for such work. Those using this approach have been critized for not being sufficiently rigourous about facts and validations, and for practicing psychological reductionism and monocausality. Psychoanalytic theory has advanced since its inception with the development of the interpsychic models, self-psychology, character analysis, and personality assessment. Improved understanding of the role of transference and countertransference in the relationship between the researcher and subject has been particularly important. Influential psycho-biographical studies of leaders by Lasswell, the Georges, and Erikson are discussed

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