The Ghost Leader: An Empirical Study on Narrative Leadership
Auvinen, T. (2012). The Ghost Leader: An Empirical Study on Narrative Leadership. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 17 (1), 4-15. Retrieved from http://ejbo.jyu.fi/pdf/ejbo_vol17_no1_pages_4-15.pdf
Julkaistu sarjassaEJBO : Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organizational Studies
© Business and Organization Ethics Network (BON)
Studies on leadership too often focus on the leader rather than on leadership. The starting point for this study is the argument that leadership is not equal to the leader as a "real" person but is at least partly costructed in organizational storytelling. This empirical study dissects the construction of leadership in storytelling in terms of typical organisational events, such as the arrival of a new leader, confronting resistance and a leader leaving an organisation. The data consists of interviews with a leader and his followers in a large high-tech organisation. The findings show that the leader existed in organisational storytelling before his first formal encounter and he remained in the discourse after leaving the organisation. The leader is embellished with stories about accomplishements of failures. Although there may be one leader in the real world, there may be countless leaders in the world of imagination. I propose the metaphor of the ghost leader to illustrate organisational storytelling that casts an ambiguous discursive character over leader(ship). This paper contributes to storytelling leadership, particularly to the discussion of "the story is the leader" using an empirical case.