Change Management, Management, Managers and mimetic desire

This modest post is similar advantage in an open question for each of us as an application of mimetic theory of René Girard. It comes from many discussions with friends (e) s, executives, senior managers and executives in moments of Business transformations. In these times of profound changes, more than anyone because they more often have access to information, managers are strongly affected by a transition they often face and accompany without always understanding the purpose. Since information is power, instinctively, everyone tends to keep it for their own purposes, by protective instinct. We are here in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This is not because we know since Freud neuroses that they have disappeared; in 60 years, needs-they would have also changed drastically by having been analyzed? In its Pyramid, Maslow identified five requirements

1. Physiological Needs
2. Security needs
3. Needs of love and belonging
4. Need of self-esteem
5. Need for self-realization


The fourth level is important about the world of work, especially in times of change! There are two types of esteem needs. The first is self-satisfaction that is the result of competence or mastery of a task. Second, there is the attention and recognition that comes from others. This is similar to the level of membership, however, want to be admired is linked to the need for power … that can arise when in a position of making.
If changes in a company X are accompanied only by a rise in rank positions and skills, the only problem that may be encountered is that related to the competence of a given individual to his new position. This is not without reminding us the work of Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull known as The Peter Principle (« in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence » and corollary « over time, any position will be occupied by an employee unable to take responsibility. ») This is dangerous for the Company and competent colleagues.
Human knowledge, knowledge that has ceased to increase, a change as mentioned earlier it is still likely? No, one suspects. By definition, though knowledge can be part of a logic of infinite progress, individual knowledge is in man’s image, limited in itself. Every human being is different, each of us have our own finitude, it is more or less important in relation to his « colleague », and especially the IQ tests remind us. When a change comes where the tables are removed from play, beyond the immediate satisfaction of the second need (safety) for all concerned levels 3 and 4 of the Maslow pyramid then manifest. Although new jobs are created, more skill requirements, older they continue to exist as long? You can create posts for a smooth transition, with « sounding titles » and less responsibility; this can help to meet the security needs while ensuring that people in their majority do not have to acquire skills they cannot appropriate. In this regard, we talk more aptitude than to know (it can be learned, then it is a false barrier is mentioned). But what happens if you have 10 stations for 20 people? If you create 10 positions higher responsibilities to disappear by 20 positions slightly lower responsibilities, it will remain 10 people who will have to accept a position at best less responsibility. The financial aspect may be treated, it is easier, but what about in terms of the level 4 of the Maslow pyramid? How to accept a loss of power, when tasted this hard drugs? How to accept a loss of recognition directly related to the title that was lost? We must not take for idiots concerned, they all know what it is.
What some evoke under the word jealousy, René Girard’s perhaps better expressed here the theory of mimetic desire, of triangular desire. The latter explains indeed at the origin of all our conflicts, our crises, there is this « triangular desire. » This desire is desire as « other », that is to say, desire to be the other with what he has. Not that this object is necessarily valuable in itself or particularly interesting, but the fact that he possessed (or can be) by one to whom I try to identify myself makes it desirable. In all desire, so there is a subject, an object and a mediator (the one that tells about what to be desired). Every desire, from this point of view is triangular. For René Girard, this structure some stability when the « spiritual distance » between the Ombudsman and the subject is not reached; it loses its stability, when the Ombudsman and its object approach the subject. We then the external mediation to internal mediation. This theory postulates of desire, in fact, that every desire is an imitation (mimesis) of the desire of the other. Girard takes on against the foot of the « romantic illusion » that the desire that this subject would object to such a singular, unique, inimitable. The subject maintains indeed the illusion that his « own » desire is aroused by the object of his desire (a beautiful woman, a rare item); but in reality his desire is aroused by a model (present or absent) that the subject admires and often ends up being jealous. Contrary to popular belief, we do not know what we want, we do not know on what object (what woman, what food, territory) carry our desire. Only after hit in retrospect that we give meaning to our choices by passing for a deliberate choice (« I chose you (e) between a thousand »), then it is nothing. But the moment that another has focused its attention on an object, as any it is, then this object (that no one looked far) becomes an object of desire may clear all others. For example, I want such a post although at the time of my desire’s file is not complete … my colleague also wants precisely this position! The choice of this or that position without the detailed job description is not yet produced is a marker of this mimetic desire, I desire for my or my colleagues also want! Who has not encountered this situation in his business?


In romantic and novelistic truth Lie (1961), René Girard makes a distinction between « external mediation » when the hero wish, like Don Quixote, imitates a model that is « far » from him by rank, age or status (the case of Amadis of Gaul, fictional character) and therefore not likely to become his rival and « internal mediation ». Indeed, the model becomes internal when it is close to that which imitates and becomes an obstacle for him as a model, a hated obstacle as a model slavishly imitated and adored. This « barrier-style » is another envied, whose value is imagined (or imagined), as well as the value of the object that accompanies it (as a « relic », writes René Girard). Yet our modern world, with its competition, goals, etc., is much closer to a world of Don Quixote, a world of rivals, there is always a more successful rival, who seems happier and that we want to emulate (unconscious) and which one is thus jealous. From that moment, the fruits of triangular desire are nothing more than the rivalry:

1. If it has been, we have more desire, disappointment is total
2. If you do not have it, one remains eternally « tongue hanging out. »

The desire becomes mimetic, so imitative, when the subject wants the object desired by its model. If the subject is moving in a different world of his model, he cannot possess the object of his model and establish with it an « external mediation ». For example, if her favourite actor, who became his model, and myself, live in different environments, direct conflict between him and me is impossible and that « external mediation » does not raise any conflict. However, if the subject lives in the same environment as its model (which is then neighbour « ), then the objects of his model are accessible to him. Therefore, the rivalry arises. This type of relationship is called mimetic by René Girard « internal mediation ». It then strengthens constantly and always generates more symmetry because of the mental and physical proximity to the subject and model, the subject tends to imitate as much as his model imitates him. One evolves towards greater reciprocity and therefore more conflict, what Rene Girard is the report of « double ». The object disappears behind only obsession rivals who then is to defeat the opponent rather than acquire the object which becomes superfluous, mere pretext to exasperation of the conflict. Mimetic crisis, double crisis arises when the roles of the subject and the model are reduced to this rivalry. It is the disappearance of the object that makes it possible and eventually she becomes exasperated and spreads contagiously nearby.
But how far can this lead? For the next stage, René Girard speaks of « scapegoat. » More mimetic rivalries are aggravated, the more rivals are fascinated by each other. This hate fascination up to the hypnotic trance. At this stage, the selection of a single antagonist, a single enemy will do for mimetic reasons contingent. As mimetic power of attraction is multiplied with the number of individuals polarized, a time will inevitably come when the whole (unanimous) will be located community gathered against a single individual.
But before this stage, before the rivalry does not clash we see distinctly not appear also sometimes other events? The rivals who can battle for fear of losing the fight for what they think desire, will they not then unload that anger, that frustration? There may now appear a scapegoat if unfortunately ready to play, that scapegoat may also be a group, a category of employee to whom we want to support its likely failure.

The solution without the goat (s) emissary (s)?

1. Persons who consider themselves competent in any point more competent than their colleagues opt for discriminating competence. But what competence exactly? The knowledge? The know-being? The skills? The set?
2. Abandonment of change if it reveals that mimetic desire and violence that accompanies it? However, if there is change, is that the company that puts in place has little choice!
3. An adequate support change? In a business where change is common, it is evident that the shocks are less violent, less desire exacerbated because the object of desire less rare, he regularly returns (promotions etc). In a company where changes are rare, those affected then more easily enroll in this logic of mimetic desire and violence (against oneself, against others) must appear, in various forms.
4. A change of type « creating a sense of urgency » as cited by Kotter (Leading Change, etc.)? Here the fear of losing his job allows to silence the 3 and 4 levels of Maslow’s pyramid, being individuals think only of satisfying their need for security, even if the Department did not in its planned strategy to destroy as many positions advertised.
5. Etc.

The only conclusion that appears here is that for any change to be accomplished within a business, it does not harm that this change is conducted directly and not relocated, export rivalries lowering violence that could occur if the rivalry concerning the desire is too close geographically and functionally. In fact, a change in a company is violent for the employees concerned. In addition, also allowing for violence between them could prejudice same term to the desired change. The how of change after his reason is a cornerstone for the success of the latter and it is only too stressed that the party and too often inadequately treated: each company has its own culture and any changes must adapt before that it can in turn evolve if necessary, change the corporate culture.

To go further, check out:

1. Six Change Approaches
2. Forget Borrow Learn
3. Organic Organization
4. Analysis of Force Field
5. Appreciative Inquiry
6. Positive Deviance
7. Changing Organization Cultures
8. Culture Types
9. Theory of Hard Core
10. Theory of Planned Behavior
11. Reengineering Management Process
12. Kaizen
13. Change Management
14. Basis DICE
15. Equation of Change
16. Dimensions of Change
17. Results Oriented Management
18. Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change
19. Needs Theory
20. Spiral Dynamics
21. Ashridge Mission Model
22. Theory of Two Factors
23. Theory Y Theory X
24. Hawthorne Effect
25. ERG Theory
26. Theory of Expectations
27. Customer Satisfaction Model Kano
28. Emotional Intelligence
29. Cultural Intelligence
30. Cultural Dimensions
31. Coaching
32. Mentoring
33. Leadership Styles
34. Stages of Team Development
35. Leadership Pipeline
36. Leadership Continuum
37. Hagberg Model of Personal Power
38. Managerial Grid
39. Path-Goal Theory
40. Contingency Theory
41. Competing Values Framework
42. Results Oriented Management
43. Social Bases of Power
44. September Surprises for New Presidents
45. September Good Habits
46. Leadership Based on Results
47. Level 5 Leadership
48. Leadership-Servant

and :

Works by René Girard:           René_Girard

Romantic and novelistic truth lies (1961)
Dostoevsky: double Unit 1963
Violence and the Sacred (1972)
Critical in an underground (1976)
To Double Business Bound: Essays on Literature, Mimesis, and Anthropology, Baltimore,Johns Hopkins University Press. (1978)
Things hidden from the foundation of the world (1978) with Jean-Michel Searches Oughourlian and Guy Lefort.
The Scapegoat (1982)
Ancient Road of evil men (1985)
Violent Origins Walter Burkert, Rene Girard, and Jonathan Z. Smith is Ritual Killing and Cultural Formation. Ed. Robert Hamerton-Kelly. Palo Alto, California, Stanford University
Shakespeare: the fires of envy, 1990
When these things begin … 1994: interviews with Michel Treguer.
I saw Satan fall like lightning, Robert Laffont, 1999 251 p ..
Home from the Hill (2001), with three short essays and an interview with Maria Stella Barberi.
The real unknown Voice (2002)
The Sacrifice (2003)
The Origins of Culture (2004), interviews with Pierpaolo Antonello and Joao Cezar de Castro Rocha, followed by a response to his critics on Regis Debray published in The Sacred fire 2003.
Oedipus Unbound: Selected Writings on Rivalry and Desire edited by Mark R. Anspach Stanford, Stanford University Press
Truth or weak faith. Dialogue on Christianity and Relativism (2006) (Verità o fede debole. Dialogo e su cristianesimo relativismo), with Gianni Vattimo. At cura di Antonello P., Transeuropa Edizioni, Massa.
God, an invention? (2007) and Alain André Gounelle Houziaux.
From violence to the deity, 2007
Complete Clausewitz, 2007, Conversations with Benoît Chantre. North Carnets 2007
Anorexia and mimetic desire, 2008, L’Herne
 Mimesis and Theory: Essays on Literature and Criticism, 1953-2005, under the direction of Robert Doran, Stanford University Press, 2008
Christianity and modernity, in collaboration with Gianni Vattimo, Paris, Flammarion, coll.
« Current fields », 2009
Conversion of art. Paris: North Carnets (book + DVD)

Psychopolitics (2010), Writing the preface of the book by Jean-Michel Oughourlian, Paris, Francois- Xavier de Guibert
Conversion in the art, ed. Benoît Chantre and Trevor Cribben-Merrill, Paris, Flammarion, coll.
« Field tests » in 2010
Geometries of desire preface Mark Anspach, Paris, L’Herne, 2011.
Complete Clausewitz. Interviews with Benoît Chantre, Paris, Flammarion, coll. « Field tests » 2011
Bloody origins. Interviews with Walter Burkert, Renato Rosaldo and Jonathan Z. Smith, Paris, Flammarion, 2011


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