Where the Wild Things Are: How Dreams Can Help Identify Countertransference in Organizational Research

de Rond M., Tunçalp D.

ORGANIZATIONAL RESEARCH METHODS, vol.20, no.3, pp.413-437, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1094428116689706
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.413-437
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Where the study of organizations involves prolonged or deep engagement with informants, the research experience can generate psychodynamic reactions. Countertransferenceor the redirection of a researcher's emotional response onto informantsis one such reaction and can influence data collection, analysis, and presentation. The methodological question then is how to identify and act on countertransference reactions during research. Drawing on psychoanalytic approaches, we suggest that researchers' dreams can serve as methodological resources in enhancing reflexive practice. We illustrate our approach with an autoethnographic account of 199 days of fieldwork with a Cambridge Boat Race crew and outline several recommendations to help organizational researchers keen to see how they and their dreams are implicated in their work.