The spatial psychodynamics of management learning

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This article addresses the question: how can we help managers to understand the emotional and political dynamics that surround and permeate their managerial roles? A conceptual framework is presented that is based on the integration of literature on space with literature that has taken a psychodynamic approach to management learning. The term spatial psychodynamics describes the way in which juxtapositions of material, relative and relational space in the management classroom can reveal dynamics that help managers to perceive the emotions and politics that are part of their roles. Three characteristics of spatial psychodynamics are presented: unconscious dynamics and the interpretation of learning space, the political effects of fantasy in learning space, and how juxtapositions of space create distinctiveness of place. An example is discussed in order to illustrate how this concept can improve our ability to engage with emotional and political dynamics in the management classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
Number of pages15
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • fantasy
  • spatial psychodynamics
  • psychodynamic
  • learning space
  • emotions and politics


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