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Allcorn, S. (2007). The Psychological Nature of Oppression in an American Workplace. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 7(1):39-60.

(2007). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 7(1):39-60

The Psychological Nature of Oppression in an American Workplace

Seth Allcorn, Ph.D.

This paper explores an often taken for granted aspect of organizational life. Oppression in the workplace is regrettably common. Hierarchical organization often results in excessive power amassed in the hands of one individual, the CEO, and perhaps a few associates. This enabling compression of power and control at the top leads to the inevitability of a preponderance of organizational members who are dependent and powerless with regard to their employment. Leaving is not always an option, and moving to another organization may lead to the same outcome.

Workplace oppression has at its core pathological beliefs systems that lead to the self-righteous domination and elimination of others, both in-the-mind and in fact. Elimination is supported by their dehumanization and objectification. Settings filled with oppressive elements result in individual and group regression, fostered by defective containment, creating the breakdown of self and other boundaries. A case example is provided to explore and make available the nature of workplace oppression, together within some guidelines for fostering change.

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