How can we use Lacanian psychoanalysis to better understand notions of employee subjectivity and identity?

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skipperb | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Lacan's three registers and the Mirror Stage and Ego can be used to examine employee self-worth and the ways in which interaction with mentors and superiors can influence employee perceptions of his/her's professional identity.

The Imaginary theory can demonstrate how professionals view themselves, other professionals around them, and how the professionals around them view the employee. Thus, how an employee internalizes their image of themselves while reconciling that with the perceived and actual evaluations from others is dictated by the symbolic registry which includes an organization's norms, customs, and expectations. The symbolic register can also determine how an employee evaluates his/her's coworkers.

The real register refers to elements just beyond the consciousness of the employee's awareness or the subconscious.

Perhaps, an employee doesn't trust a boss but this thought is not on a conscious level yet-- it could be an instinctive reaction.

Lacan's concept of the Mirror Stage can be applied to the mentor/mentee relationship or between a supervisor and a subordinate.

Lacan defines the ego as a series of negative self-images, or perhaps, negative self-talk.

A new employee is trying to "master" a new skill, and the mentor or supervisor is the mirror image that the employee wants to emulate.

The employee believes that he/she will one day become just as competent and self-confident as their superior which is not a guarantee but a way to cope with the initial frustration and confusion when starting a new job.

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