Myths, Stories, and Organizations: Premodern Narratives for Our Times

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Overview

Each chapter of the 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 labor of love. The chapters are introduced by the editor and are arranged in four parts, each with its own introduction. The chapters in each part spring from stories that share a narrative character, and are labeled as Knowledge Narratives, Heroic Narratives, Tragic Narratives and Reflective 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 pother 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199264476
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/15/2004
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors
Introduction
1 The Narrative Veil: Truth and Untruths in Storytelling 17
2 Knowing as Desire: Dante's Ulysses at the End of the Known World 32
3 The Blind People and the Elephant 49
4 Paradise in Heaven and on Earth: Western Ideas of Perfect (Non)-Organization 66
5 Overcoming the Hydra: Leaderless Groups and Terrorism 85
6 Divided Neither in Life, Nor in Death: Friendship and Leadership in the Story of David and Jonathan 101
7 The Legend of Cu Chulainn: Exploring Organization Theory's Heroic Odyssey 116
8 The Flying Dutchman and the Discontents of Modernity 137
9 Arachne and Minerva: Women, Power, and Realization 151
10 Prometheus Unleashed: The Quest for Knowledge and the Promise of Salvation through Technique 165
11 Phaethon: Seizing the Reins of Power 176
12 Demeter and the Curse of Consumption 192
13 The Velveteen Rabbit and Passionate Feelings for Organizations 209
14 Shy William and the Gaberlunzie Girl 223
Index 236
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