Five have a leadership adventure

Jennifer Ann Naylor (NHSBT Blood Donation, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Publication date: 7 September 2010



This study proposes to examine whether tales from childhood influence the psyche and self of the adult in their professional role as a leader in a large organization. It is positioned within a social constructionist and postmodernist framework.


The methodology development was challenging; to capture the level of abstraction within which it was positioned. Using narrative inquiry allowed for a less rigid methodology, data collection and analysis. The data were collected using a non‐structured single interview with a known subject, the data analysed using an initial thematic analysis followed by an in‐depth analysis of the themes against the background of an Enid Blyton novel.


This research project has shown how all are products of their whole life experiences to date; thus the tales from childhood must also impact on adult lives. This project identified links between the adult professional self and the characters in the tales, which were read as children. Leadership can be read as an adventure story or fairy tale, a myth born out of the narratives and language often used to describe it, reflecting tales of quest and achievement.


The interpretations on offer are only one version; another reader or teller would experience a different interpretation; finding her own story, while constructing herself as a researcher, was unexpected and surprising. There are at least two stories running throughout predominantly: the subjects’ story and the story of the research.



Naylor, J. (2010), "Five have a leadership adventure", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 437-458.

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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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