Each chapter of this book takes as its starting point a myth, a legend, a story or a fable, and explores its contemporary relevance for a world of globalization, organizations and, consumerism. Each contributor is inspired by a relatively short but rich text which is then used as a springboard for an analysis of contemporary social and organizational realities. The idea behind this book is that by looking at contemporary society through the prism of pre-modern narratives, certain features emerge in sharp relief, while others are found to be entrenched in societies across the ages.
The texts that have inspired the authors of this collection differ - some are myths, some are stories, one is a children's tale. The origins of these texts differ, from the scriptural to the folkloric, from high art to oral tradition. What all the texts have in common is a distinct and compelling plot, a cast of recognizable characters with an ability to touch us and speak to us through the ages, and, above all, a powerful symbolic aura, one that makes them identifiable landmarks in storytelling tradition. The driving force behind this project was each author's love for their narratives. It is not an exaggeration to say that the book is a true labour of love.
The chapters are introduced by the editor and are arranged in four parts, each with it own introduction. The chapters in each part spring from stories that share a narrative character, and are labelled as Knowledge Narratives, Heroic Narratives, Tragic Narratives, and Reflecive Narratives.
The book offers a set of probing, original and critical inquiries into the nature of human experience knowledge and truth, the nature of leadership, power and heroic achievement, postmodernity and its discontents, and emotion, identity and the nature of human relations in organizations.
Different chapters deal, among other things, with the nature of leadership in the face of terrorism, friendship, women's position in organizations, the struggle for identity, the curse of insatiable consumption and the ways the hero and heroine are constructed in our times.
About the Editor:
Yiannis Gabriel is Professor of Organizational Theory, School of Management, Imperial College, having taught previously at Thames Polytechnic and Bath University. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London, where he also carried out post-graduate studies in industrial sociology. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. His main research interests are in organizational and psychoanalytic theories, consumer and cultural studies. He has written numerous books and articles and is well-known for his work on storytelling in organizations. He has carried out research on leadership, management learning, the dissemination of organizational knowledge, and chaos and complexity in organizations. He has been Editor of the journal Management Learning and is Associate Editor of Human Relations.