Children’s Stories as a Foundation for Leadership Schemas: More than Meets the Eye

Leadership Lessons from Compelling Contexts

ISBN: 978-1-78560-942-8, eISBN: 978-1-78560-941-1

ISSN: 1479-3571

Publication date: 3 March 2016


This chapter examines how the stories can shape the leadership and followership schemas of children. We explore how television programs can shape attitudes toward leaders as well as providing role models for effective or desirable leadership and followership behaviors. In particular, we use personality assessments of characters from the popular children’s television show The Transformers to demonstrate how fictional stories can inform children of what characteristics are associated with leadership. Moreover, we demonstrate how the television program provided examples of both positive and negative styles of leadership and followership as well as providing normative information of what constitutes appropriate interpersonal behavior within organizations. These findings help illustrate the power of storytelling as a tool for leadership development, particularly in children.



Harms, P. and Spain, S. (2016), "Children’s Stories as a Foundation for Leadership Schemas: More than Meets the Eye", Leadership Lessons from Compelling Contexts (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 301-325.

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