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

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

by Yiannis Gabriel (Editor)


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199264483
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 04/15/2004
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Preface, Barbara Czarniawska
Introduction, Yiannis Gabriel
Part I: The Knowledge Narratives: Experience, Learning, and Truth
1. The Narrative Veil, Yiannis Gabriel
2. Knowing as Desire: Dante's Ulisse at the End of the Known World, Silvia Gherardi
3. The Blind People and the Elephant, Peter Case
4. Heaven and Paradise: Western Ways of Perfect (Non)-Organization, Dimitris Kyrtatas
Part II: The Heroic Narratives: Achievement, Leadership, and Power
5. Overcoming the Hydra: Leaderless Groups and Terrorism, Keith Grint
6. Divided Neither in Life nor in Death: Friendship and Leadership in the Story of David and Jonathan, Robert French and Patrick Moore
7. The Legend of Cu Chulainn: Exploring Organization Theory's Heroic Odyssey, Donncha Kavanagh and Majella O'Leary
Part III: The Tragic Narratives: Postmodernity and its Discontents
8. The Flying Dutchman and the Discontents of Postmodernity, Peter Pelzer
9. Arachne and Minerva: Women, Power, and Realization, Yvonne Guerrier
10. Prometheus, the Quest for Knowledge and the Promise of Salvation through Technique, Ulrich Gehmann
11. Phaethon, the Struggle for Identity, and the Reins of Power, Diana Winstanley
12. The Hymn to Demeter: The Curse of Insatiable Consumption, Heather Hopfl
Part IV: The Reflexive Narratives: Emotion, Identity, and the Nature of Relations in Organizations
13. The Velveteen Rabbit and the Emotional Construction of Organizations, David Sims
14. Shy William and the Gaberlunzie Girl, Tony Watson

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