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Public Myth and Metaphor: Negative Narratives, Lost Reputations and Bankers' Leadership Illegitimacies from the Media during the Financial Crisis of 2008–2009

Destructive Leadership and Management Hypocrisy

ISBN: 978-1-80043-181-2, eISBN: 978-1-80043-180-5

Publication date: 8 July 2021

Abstract

The global financial crisis proved profoundly shocking for economic and political life. In the United Kingdom, media reporting of sudden insolvency in the banking sector, its teetering on the edge of collapse and subsequent injection of taxpayer funds by a desperate government thrust sector leaders and negative aspects of their leadership into the public glare. This is particularly significant in light of pre-crisis reporting narratives that ignored negative attributes in favour of financial successes and dealmaking. Many sector leaders had been previously unknown, but where certain individuals had featured in prior media reports, they were often lauded for dynamism, risk-taking and ‘great man’ attributes. However, with the outbreak of a crisis and search for blame and responsibility, previously celebrated or ambiguous values and activities were surfaced for public judgement and found wanting or even dangerous to society. Whilst political and economic aspects of the crisis have since generated a great deal of research, only limited scholarship has focused on narrative understandings and myths generated around positive and negative leadership behaviours. Whilst heroes and villains have served as metaphors for human behaviour since early societies started telling stories, the abrupt nature of this crisis triggered metaphorical narratives to the fore. This chapter will consider the dual phenomena of press coverage generated around negative leadership stories and how patterns of villainy, illegitimacy, demonisation and ruined reputations contributed to shared myths of the crisis.

Keywords

Citation

Myers, F. (2021), "Public Myth and Metaphor: Negative Narratives, Lost Reputations and Bankers' Leadership Illegitimacies from the Media during the Financial Crisis of 2008–2009", Camgöz, S.M. and Ekmekci, Ö.T. (Ed.) Destructive Leadership and Management Hypocrisy, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 211-224. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-180-520211014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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