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Management professor publishes book on archetypal narratives

Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives

Sandford Borins, professor and founding chair of the department of management, has just published Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives. The book explores archetypal narratives about management that occur in movies and novels, and also discusses how story-telling can be used by managers to achieve their goals.

One archetypal narrative he examined was that of the transformational teacher in the inner city, presented in movies like Stand and Deliver and Freedom Writers. But with each archetype there are counter-narratives that distort or satirize it, for example the recent French movie Entre les Murs (The Class) in which a hard-working but misguided literature teacher fails to transform his class of African immigrants.

Borins also looks at how story-telling can be used to achieve managerial or political goals. For instance, Winston Churchill’s famous “We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches” speech incorporated a long narrative about the progress of the war to that point to lead to a national commitment to total war – war in which there would be no safety for civilians – against Nazi Germany.

The book is published by Information Age Publishing.


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