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Storytelling in OrganizationsFacts, Fictions, and Fantasies$
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Yiannis Gabriel

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198290957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198290957.001.0001

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Facing God

Facing God

Chapter:
(p.191) Chapter 9 Facing God
Source:
Storytelling in Organizations
Author(s):

Yiannis Gabriel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198290957.003.0010

This chapter charts the dominant fantasies that subordinates have about their leaders, by focusing on a particular scene, which features regularly in organizational stories, a scene in which an ‘ordinary’ member of an organization comes face to face with the organization's top leader. This echoes not only the archetypal Christian scene of meeting God as supreme ruler on the Day of Judgment, but also a fairly regular episode in some works of literature and the stage, such as Tolstoy's War and Peace or Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. In their personal histories, individuals may experience their first meeting with a great leader or a charismatic individual as a ‘liminal moment’, presaging an important turn in their lives. The proportion of leader-centred stories varied across the organizations but they were a significant feature in most of them. Some of these stories are presented to amplify arguments raised by students' accounts, to illustrate the extent to which older organizational participants have fantasies about their leaders, and the nature of these fantasies.

Keywords:   fantasies, leaders, organizational stories, God, Tolstoy, War and Peace, Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov

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