Nathan Tong (ESSCA School of Management, France)
Michael J. Urick (Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government, Saint Vincent College, USA)

Bend the Knee or Seize the Throne: Leadership Lessons from the Seven Kingdoms

ISBN: 978-1-80262-650-6, eISBN: 978-1-80262-647-6

Publication date: 12 June 2023


Tong, N. and Urick, M.J. (2023), "Prelims", Bend the Knee or Seize the Throne: Leadership Lessons from the Seven Kingdoms (Exploring Effective Leadership Practices through Popular Culture), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Nathan Tong and Michael J. Urick

Half Title Page

Bend the Knee or Seize the Throne

Series Page

Exploring Effective Leadership Practices through Popular Culture

Series Editor: Michael Urick

The aim of this series is to examine modern and innovative business theories and methods via relatable popular cultural themes. The books will provide academically rigorous and credible applications and solutions to practitioners and upper-level business students, in a format designed to be highly engaging and effective.

Titles in Exploring Effective Leadership Practices Through Popular Culture

  • A Manager’s Guide to Using the Force: Leadership Lessons from a Galaxy Far Far Away

    Michael Urick

  • Leadership in Middle Earth: Theories and Applications for Organizations

    Michael Urick

  • Leadership Insights for Wizards and Witches

    Aditya Simha

  • Leaders Assemble! Leadership in the MCU

    Gordon B. Schmidt and Sy Islam

  • Bend the Knee or Seize the Throne: Leadership Lessons from the Seven Kingdoms

    Nathan Tong and Michael Urick


  • Against All Odds: Leadership and the Handmaid’s Tale

    Cristina de Mello-e-Souza Wildermuth

  • Cross-cultural Leadership in the Four Nations: Lessons From Avatar The Last Airbender

    Sy Islam and Gordon B. Schmidt

  • Slaying the Vampires, Werewolves and Demons of Ineffective Leadership

    Aditya Simha

Title Page

Bend the Knee or Seize the Throne: Leadership Lessons from the Seven Kingdoms


Nathan Tong

ESSCA School of Management, France


Michael J. Urick

Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government, Saint Vincent College, USA

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

Copyright Page

Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2023

Copyright © 2023 Nathan Tong and Michael J. Urick. Published under exclusive license by Emerald Publishing Limited.

Reprints and permissions service


No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency and in the USA by The Copyright Clearance Center. Any opinions expressed in the chapters are those of the authors. Whilst Emerald makes every effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of its content, Emerald makes no representation implied or otherwise, as to the chapters’ suitability and application and disclaims any warranties, express or implied, to their use.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-80262-650-6 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-647-6 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-649-0 (Epub)

Dedication Page

This book is dedicated to my family and loved ones who have supported me through thick and thin. I wouldn’t be where I am in life today without you. Thank you for being there for me and for being my cheerleaders behind the scenes. And to Spot and Aibi in particular; thank you for watching Game of Thrones with me, even though you had no idea what was going on.—NT

I dedicate this book to all my friends who shared in (over)analyzing Game of Thrones every time we saw a new episode, especially Jim, Dave, and Nick. Thanks for sharing your time, energy, and happiness with me, not only in watching and/or discussing the show, but in all aspects of our friendship.—MJU


About the Authors x
Acknowledgments xii
Chapter 1: Introduction: Bend the Knee or Seize the Throne 1
Chapter 2: Leadership Styles and Behaviors 7
Decision-making Styles 7
Daily Interaction Behaviors 10
Motivational Behaviors 12
Other Types of Leadership 15
Leader–Member Exchange 16
Summary 18
Chapter 3: Power and Influence 21
Bases of Power 21
Effective Use of Influence 23
Abuses of Power 25
Summary 26
Chapter 4: Leader Emergence and Sustainability 27
Cersei Lannister 28
Sansa Stark 29
Other Characters 29
Learning and Adapting 30
Summary 31
Chapter 5: Communication 33
The Communication Process 33
Fairhurst’s Types of Communicators 34
Ethical Considerations 36
Summary 36
Chapter 6: Ethics 39
Leadership and Decision-making 39
Ethics and Decision-making 40
Ethical Decision-making Frameworks 40
Decision-making Examples from Game of Thrones 42
Ethical Frameworks in Organizational Contexts 43
Summary 44
Chapter 7: Motivation 45
Defining Motivation 45
Determinants of Motivation 47
Expectancy Theory 47
Goal-setting Theory 48
Summary 50
Chapter 8: Trust 51
Why Trust Matters 51
Types of Trust 52
Outcomes of Trust 55
When Trust Matters 56
Summary 56
Chapter 9: Justice 57
Identification and a Sense of Belonging 57
Why Justice is Important 58
Four Dimensions of Justice 59
Overall Justice 61
Outcomes of Justice 62
Organizational Citizenship Behaviors 62
Counterproductive Workplace Behaviors 63
Summary 64
Chapter 10: Negotiation 67
What Negotiation is (and is Not) 67
The Stages of Negotiation 68
Potential Biases in Negotiation 72
Negotiation Tactics 72
Summary 74
Chapter 11: Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity 75
What is Culture? 75
Cultural Elements 76
Why Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity Matter 78
The Benefits of Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity 79
The Downside of Not Being Culturally Aware or Sensitive 80
Summary 82
Chapter 12: Conclusion 83
Effective Queens and Kings Understand Their Context to Inform Their Leadership Styles and Activities of Making Decisions, Communicating, and Motivating in Order to Achieve Common Goals 83
Effective Queens and Kings Know That the Traits and Behaviors that Helped Them Emerge as Leaders Will Not Necessarily Make Them Effective in Their Roles; Instead, They Learn from Challenges, Find Ways to Influence Others That Fit Their Context, and Continuously Adapt 84
Effective Queens and Kings Leverage Multiple Bases of Power, Often Alongside Servant or Transformational Leadership Approaches, in an Ethical Manner That is Focused on the Common Good 84
Effective Queens and Kings Communicate in a Manner That Accurately and Truthfully Conveys Meaning to Multiple Audiences 85
Effective Queens and Kings Thoroughly Understand the Values They Care About Most and Deliberately Use Them to Guide Their Decisions 85
Effective Queens and Kings Understand How to Motivate Followers 86
Effective Queens and Kings Know They Will Not Sit on the Throne for Long if Their Followers Do Not Trust Them, So They Actively Seek to Build and Maintain Trust 86
Effective Queens and Kings Understand That Perceptions of Fairness are Ultimately Linked to Their Ability to Influence 87
Effective Queens and Kings See Negotiations as an Opportunity to Grow and Receive Positive Outcomes, and They Leverage Negotiation Styles That Best Fit Their Context 87
Effective Queens and Kings Seek to Understand Multiple Cultures 88
Summary 88
Appendix : List of Game of Thrones Characters Mentioned in This Book, with a Brief Descriptions of Each 91
References 95
Index 103

About the Authors

Dr Nathan Tong, PhD, MBA, is an Associate Professor of Management at ESSCA School of Management at the school’s Lyon campus in France. He received his PhD in Business Administration (Management/Organizational Behavior focus) from the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati. His MBA is from the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago and his bachelor’s degree in Psychology is from John Muir College at the University of California San Diego.

His research interests include organizational justice and fairness, non-traditional work arrangements, and workplace interactions and relationships. His work has appeared in Academy of Management Review as well as The Oxford Handbook of Justice in the Workplace. He regularly presents his work at the annual Academy of Management conference, as well as other regional and international academic conferences. Currently, he teaches courses in Organizational Behavior and Leadership. He has also taught courses on Human Resources, Organizational Strategy, and various introduction to business courses, and led workshops on leadership and teams.

Dr Michael J. Urick, PhD, MBA, MS, SSGB, is Dean of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA as well as a Professor of Management and Operational Excellence.

He received his PhD in Management (Organizational Behavior focus) from the University of Cincinnati. His MBA (focused in Human Resources Management) and MS (in Leadership and Business Ethics) are both from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting with Management and English minors is from Saint Vincent College. Dr. Urick has taught undergraduate and graduate courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, communication, conflict, organizational culture, operations, and research methods.

The Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program at Saint Vincent, which he directed for nearly 10 years prior to his role as Dean, focuses on providing aspiring leaders with cutting-edge management techniques to effectively problem solve, minimize waste, and continuously improve their organizations. Under his directorship, the program was consistently ranked as a “Top 50 Best Value Master’s in Management” program by Value Colleges and as a “Top Online Non-MBA Business Graduate Degree” by US News and World Report.

He is Six Sigma Green Belt Certified, Diversity Management Certified, a Certified Conflict Manager, Project Management Essentials Certified, and MBTI Certified, and is also certified through the Society for Human Resource Management as well as the True Lean program at the University of Kentucky. He is the recipient of an “Excellence in Teaching” Award from the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati, the “Quentin Schaut Faculty Award” from Saint Vincent College, and a “Teaching Excellence” Award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs among other pedagogical honors. Internationally, he was also recognized by the Institute for Supply Management as a “Person of the Year” in the learning and education category.

Urick is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Leadership and Management based in Poland, the North American Associate Editor of the Measuring Business Excellence journal, and is on the Editorial Board of Management Teaching Review. He is also the Editor for the Exploring Effective Leadership Practices Through Popular Culture book series from Emerald Publishing.

His research interests include leadership, conflict, and identity in the workplace. Much of his work focuses on issues related to intergenerational phenomena within organizations. He also often examines how popular culture can be used to advance organizational behavior theory. In addition to authoring or co-authoring over 50 publications including multiple books and peer-reviewed articles, he has regularly presented at academic and practitioner international meetings such as the Academy of Management, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and Institute for Supply Management conferences. He is a regular speaker on age-related issues in the workplace throughout the United States and internationally (having presented on four continents) and served as a consultant on issues related to workplace interactions, organizational culture, and ethics for various organizations. He has served as a reviewer for a variety of academic publications including the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Journal of Family Issues as well as the Organizational Behavior and Human Resources divisions of the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in addition to other conferences.

Professionally, he has served on the Boards of ISM-Pittsburgh (in various roles including President) and the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival (a top-rated community event). He has also served on the Westmoreland Human Resources Association (a regional SHRM chapter) Board in various positions including Vice President. Prior to academia, Urick worked in a variety of roles related to auditing, utilities, environmental issues, and training and development. Through these experiences, Dr. Urick became fascinated with interactions in the workplace and how they might be improved which has influenced his academic career.

For fun, he enjoys music and, since 1998, has been a semi-professional jazz musician and toured through over a dozen US states while releasing multiple recordings with various ensembles.




My entire family, Yung, Rebecca, Ming-Jinn, Catherine, Tran, Rita, and the kids, who have all supported me while I’ve chased all my ambitions and dreams.

Dr. Mike Urick, my eternal gratitude for inviting me to be part of this phenomenal series and supporting me during the process.

All my friends who have listened to me talk about this book incessantly; it’s finally here.


My family especially Janet, Lucy, Mickie, and Rick who were always supportive of my writing.

My colleagues, especially Dr John Delaney and the Faculty of the McKenna School at Saint Vincent, for being receptive to unique areas of leadership scholarship including those that examine pseudo-medieval fantasy fiction.

Dr Brigitte Biehl for her insights into leadership in Game of Thrones.


We want to thank the team at Emerald Publishing, especially Fiona Allison, Dr Daniel Ridge, and Lydia Cutmore, for continuing to provide an outlet for this series of books that make academic theories and concepts accessible, relatable, and, most of all, fun for people to understand. Without these types of books, learning about leadership and management would largely remain in the classroom and from first-hand experience and mistakes. This series provides people the opportunity to learn about leadership through their favorite films, television shows, and other pop culture properties in a way we hope is entertaining and exciting.

We certainly cannot forget to thank George R. R. Martin, the entire team at HBO, and the extremely talented cast, crew, and countless other individuals who came together to create the magic that was, and still is, the Game of Thrones television series. Your imagination, hard work, and dedication created an amazing fantasy world for millions of people to escape into every week. We gasped, we cried, and we cheered for eight seasons, all thanks to your creativity, commitment, and passion to bring the world of Westeros to life. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.