Critical Organisational Psychology

Although the body of literature in critical organisational psychology is modest in size there have been a number of key articles, chapters and books that provide insights into how different perspectives in critical social psychology might be applied to the workplace. The critical perspective seeks to extend understanding by challenging core mainstream assumptions, and also by championing the ideas and views that do not fit within the current trajectory of mainstream research and thus is relegated to the periphery. In keeping with a focus on psychological processes, these critiques have sought to investigate assumptions about subjectivity in terms of the phenomenological experience of organisations and the way in which workers are positioned and subjected to power relations by governmental and scientific discourses—including those promoted by social psychology (Foucault, 1977; Willig, 2013; Wooffitt, 2005). In contrast to mainstream social psychological theory, the critical perspective seeks to link individual subjectivity with supra-individual organisational structures and societal institutions. These relationships are regarded as just as important to understanding what shapes and influences organisational behaviour as intra-psychic variables such as self-schemas, personality traits, attitudes and cognitive preferences.

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