Object Relations, Work and the Self: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Object Relations, Work and the Self

1st Edition

By David P. Levine


154 pages

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pub: 2009-10-07
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In this book, David P. Levine applies psychoanalytic object relations theory to understanding work motivation and the meaning of work. Drawing on the writings of authors such as Donald Winnicott, Otto Kernberg and Melanie Klein, he explores three factors central to our effort to understand work: guilt, greed and the self. Special attention is paid to the factors that determine the individual’s emotional capacity to do work that engages the self and its creative potential and to the related matter of impairment in that capacity. Chapters include:

  • the problem of work
  • greed, envy and the search for the self
  • skill, power and authority
  • work and reality.

Object Relations, Work and the Self will be of interest to psychoanalysts and organizational consultants as well as anyone concerned with what determines the quality of life in the workplace.


"For anyone involved in working within an organisation, especially one in which the person identifies with the aim of the organisation in which they work, this book is a real gem. The author applies psychoanalytic and object relations theory to ‘understand work motivation and the meaning of work’ and especially in relation to three central factors: guilt, greed and the self…this is a fascinating and valuable book to use and reflect on in relation to work based dynamics." - Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 55, 2010

Table of Contents

Introduction. The Problem of Work. The Group at Play. Greed, Envy and the Search for Self. Life and Death at Work. Reparation, Empathy and the Public Good. Skill, Power and Authority. Work Identity. Work and Reality. Conclusion.

About the Author


David P. Levine is a Professor and Director of the International Administration degree program at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. He has published extensively in the fields of applied psychoanalysis and group dynamics.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Industrial & Organizational Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health