Drama, Narrative and Charismatic Leadership

case study 'charismatic leader' — Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. The framework is tendered as a useful device through which narrative and storytelling, impression ...
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Drama, Narrative and Charismatic Leadership The Case of Steve Jobs

Work and Organisational Studies

University of Sydney

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)

October, 2008

Abhimanyu Sharma

Declaration I hereby declare that this thesis is my own work and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, it contains no material previously published or produced by another party in fulfilment, partial or otherwise, of any other degree or diploma at another university or institute of higher learning, except where due acknowledgement is made in the text.

Abhimanyu Sharma

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Dedication For my parents, Atul and Nandita, who sacrificed everything to give me a better life.

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Acknowledgements There are many people to whom I owe great thanks. First, thank you to my supervisor, David Grant, whose wisdom, patience and humour has made a tremendous impression on me. I am grateful to Mark Westcott, Diane van den Broek, Arlene Harvey, Susan McGrath-Champ, Bradon Ellem, John Shields and Rages Palanisamy for extending me their time, counsel and encouragement at various stages during the last two years. Thank you also to my family and friends for their love and support; congratulations on enduring the very best and worst of me. Finally, I would like to pay homage to Buddha, whose teachings give me strength, and an unyielding belief that I can make the world a better place.

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Abstract Since the 1970s, management scholars have been captivated by the emotional and symbolic aspects of leadership, particularly charismatic leadership — a form of influence independent of tradition and formal authority. More recently, dramaturgical scholars have sought to augment orthodox understandings of charisma by examining leadership as a ‘performing art’: a ‘front stage’ social interaction between ‘actor’ (leader) and ‘audience’ (followers). Whereas existing research has examined the nature of charismatic leadership through, for example, impression management and social constructionism, this thesis suggests that dramaturgical scholars have largely neglected to demonstrate the value of the theatrical metaphor by testing, evaluating and building on extant theory through a case study leader. The thesis seeks to augment extant theory by revealing the importance of i) ‘narrative and storytelling’, and ii) the ‘stage management’ of leader performance to the audience’s attribution and maintenance of what constitutes a ‘charismatic’ leader. Accordingly, this thesis develops a narratologically informed dramaturgical framework of analysis to examine six public performance texts by a case study ‘charismatic leader’ — Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. The framework is tendered as a useful device through which narrative and storytelling, impression management, organisational outcomes, and the social construction of charismatic leadership may be further examined.

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Table of Contents Declaration

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Dedication

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Acknowledgements

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Abstract

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List of Tables, Figures and Exhibits List of Abbreviations

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Chapter One Introduction

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Chapter Two Charismatic Leadership, Drama and Narrative

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2.1 Introduction

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2.2 Charismatic Leadership

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2.2.1 The Emergence of the ‘New Leadership’ Paradigm

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2.2.2 Charismatic Leadership Theory

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2.2.3 Alternative Approaches to Charismatic Leadership

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2.2.4 The ‘Dark Side’ of Leadership and Charisma

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2.2.5 The Long Term Impacts of Charismatic Leadership

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2.3 Drama 2.3.1 Dramaturgy and Impression Management

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