Manfred Kets de Vries is a leadership and organisational behaviour expert who straddles the two worlds of management and psychoanalysis. He has pioneered the use of psychoanalysis to understand what happens when executives go off the rails. The Neurotic Organisation, the book he co-wrote with Danny Miller in 1984, examined the relationship between personality, leadership, corporate culture and strategy. This set the tone for his later books: Organisations on the Couch (1991) and Struggling with the Demon (2001).
Nowadays, his research interests focus more on what makes for healthy organizations employing high-performance teams. Many CEOs are obsessive and tend towards narcissism. But a certain amount of self-love and self-belief is necessary to prosper in corporate life. Kets de Vries calls this constructive narcissism.
Manfred Kets de Vries’principal interest lies in the interface between psychoanalysis/dynamic psychiatry and management.
His specific areas of research include:
- Effective leadership
- Organizational stress
- Career dynamics
- Entrepreneurship and family business
- Cross-cultural management
- The process of organizational transformation and change
- The darker side of leadership
- High performance teams and high performance organizations
- Cross-cultural differences in leadership styles
- Leadership derailment and its prevention
- Relationships between leadership, corporate culture and strategic decision-making
- Entrepreneurial leadership
- Leadership and the career life cycle
- Leadership audits
- Creating executive role constellations
- Psychodynamics of leadership transition