Table of contents(17 chapters)
In order to consider fiction’s contribution to understanding organizations and their ethics, we need to examine the connection between creativity and morality. This chapter explores six possible relations, drawing upon a variety of works (creations) from a poet, a playwright, and several philosophers. I argue that any relationship between fiction/creativity and morality is multi-dimensional and should be treated as such in future research in business ethics and organizational studies. In particular, we are not entitled simply to assume that fictive creativity will bolster existing norms or engender virtues. On the contrary, in some cases, fiction reveals just how difficult it is to apply norms or to identify the virtuous course of action, given that we often do not have an accurate understanding of what is going on in an organizational or business setting, much less a cogent grasp on whether the behavior is right and good.
Informed by Jung’s analytical psychology, this chapter discusses Kafka’s short-story The metamorphosis in relation to moral reflection on organisational life. Adopting the view that fiction offers a promising path to engage the reader’s imagination and reflection on moral issues, I explore such process in light of The metamorphosis. I argue that this story not only outlines important moral issues of relevance to workers in modern organisations, but is also particularly effective in eliciting a reaction from the reader which calls for further analysis. Reading about Gregor Samsa’s transformation precludes indifference; instead, it asks us to reflect on our own moral values and behaviours, and to ponder on our tolerance for what is ‘other’. In turn, this enhanced knowledge and understanding of ourselves help explore ethical issues in organisations in a more subjective, creative and holistic manner.
How can public institutions achieve their goals and best nurture virtue in their members? In this chapter, I seek answers to these questions in a perhaps unlikely place: the television series The Wire. Known for its unflinching realism, the crime drama narrates the intertwined lives of police, criminals, politicians, teachers and journalists in drug-plagued urban Baltimore. Yet even in the thick and quick of institutional dysfunction the drama portrays, human virtue springs forth and institutions (despite themselves) sometimes perform their roles. I begin this exploration of The Wire by drawing on Montesquieu and other political theorists to evaluate the problems facing state institutions – problems of diversity and principle as much as selfishness and power-mongering. I then turn to the prospects for virtue within modern institutions, developing and applying the system of Alasdair MacIntyre and paying particular attention to the role of narrative in cementing and integrating virtue.
In the past, leadership scholars have tended to focus on leadership as a force for good and productivity (Ashworth, 1994; Higgs, 2009; Padilla, Hogan, & Kaiser, 2007). However, recently attention has been given to the ‘dark side’ of leadership (see Higgs, 2009; Judge, Piccolo, & Kosalka, 2009). The aim of this chapter is to explore dark leadership from the perspective of the narcissistic leader using a fictional character from a popular film.
Using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994 (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) as an operational definition of narcissistic personality disorder we explore the psychology of the narcissistic leader through a fictional character study in a popular film.
We have created a psychological profile of a narcissistic leader which identifies specific behavioural characteristics within a toxic organizational culture.
This study has implications for employees within any organizational culture. It is significant because it can illustrate how dark leadership can impact negatively within organizations.
The use of actual living persons on which to base case study material in the study of dark leadership is problematic and constrained by ethical issues. However, the use of characters in fiction, such as contemporary film and drama, represents an excellent source of case study material. Given that little empirical works exists on narcissistic leaders and leadership, the chapter adds originality and value to the field.
The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the deviant behaviour of individuals in organisations. Deviants are those who depart from organisational norms. A typology of perceived deviant behaviour is developed from the deviance literature, and subsequently tested.
Star Trek: Into Darkness text is qualitatively analysed as a data source. Three different character arcs are analysed in relation to organisational deviance. Starfleet is the specific, fictional, organisational context.
We found that the typology of deviance is conceptually robust, and facilitates categorisation of different types of deviant behaviour, over time.
Deviance is socially ascribed; so better categorisation of such behaviour improves our understanding of how specific behaviour might deviate from organisational norms, and how different behaviours can mean individuals can be viewed positively or negatively over time.
Further research might determine management responses to the different forms of deviance, and unpack the processes where individuals eschew ‘averageness’ and become deviants.
The typology advanced has descriptive validity to describe deviant behaviour.
Social institutions such as organisations ascribe individual deviants, both negatively and positively.
This chapter extends our understanding of positive and negative deviance in organisations by developing a new typology of deviant behaviour. This typology has descriptive validity in understanding deviant behaviour. Our understanding of both positive and negative deviance in organisational contexts is enhanced, as well as the utility of science fiction literature in ethical analysis.
Neither moral philosophy nor history provides a satisfactory explanation for Oskar Schindler’s extraordinary rescue of more than 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark does. Although Schindler’s Ark is technically a work of fiction, that generic label obscures its contribution as a fictionalised account of true events. By using a novelist’s tools to tell an historical story, Keneally allows us to make inferences as to the motives of his protagonist and thereby helps us to understand what propelled the moral behaviour of Oskar Schindler.
This chapter offers a critical evaluation of the narrative of the entrepreneur-adventurer common in business schools today. It suggests that this narrative stands in the way of meaningful ethics integration in business education in part because it fails to encourage or even acknowledge insights that are “felt” rather than merely intellectually registered. Philosopher-writers like Henri Bergson, William James, and Friedrich Nietzsche agree that a large part of experience escapes purely theoretical frameworks. We need nontheoretical, evocative narratives to make visible those parts of reality that are easily overlooked when we are focused on the practical and utilitarian side of existence. These philosophical theories, combined with the concept of “felt knowledge,” help determine where the current business narrative falls short and serve as a foundation for a few suggestions about how this narrative might be changed from within.
Our focus is on the use of narrative in ethics education in organisations. The effectiveness of stories as a basis for executive education and organisational development has been described in other chapters in this book and elsewhere. Many writers provide examples linking stories and ethics, but the examples are drawn most often from overtly ethical stories. We offer a more expansive and inclusive view, suggesting that all stories are valuable for teaching ethics. We use Booker’s (2004) finding that all stories belong to one of seven basic plots – overcoming the monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; and rebirth – to show that no major category of narrative need be omitted from those which can provide examples or links to the development of virtue in organisations. We provide examples of how stories can be used to encourage the development of specific virtues including courage, integrity, hope, inquisitiveness, humour and prudence. Six further aspects are considered – whether only moral stories are useful, the value of complexity, the benefit of familiarity, stories of failure, the selection of appropriate stories and whether non-fiction can be included.
With the large majority of colleges and schools of business integrating ethics into their curricula, business ethics educators must work to improve the quality of instruction and find methods that enhance student learning. Because many films now address business ethics issues, the content of these films may be used to enhance the teaching of business ethics to undergraduate and graduate business students. This chapter suggests films that may be presented in business ethics classes to illustrate the four ethical categories set forth by the accrediting body for schools of business, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), in their 2004 report on ethics education in business schools: ethical decision-making, ethical leadership, responsibility of business in society, and corporate governance.