Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
This paper considers the activities of senior managers as isomorphic with the activities of actors. It takes performing as not a matter of metaphor, but a matter of form; life at the top of an organization is intrinsically theatrical; each of us is blessed or cursed with histrionic sensibility. Proceeding by way of a comparison of Edmund Kean and Lee lacocca it touches upon matters of text and interpretation, rehearsal and performance and the importance of individuation. The argument – such as it is – is that both Kean and lacocca perform themselves, the former's Richard III, the latter's Chrysler being the fullest realizations of that which was, hitherto, inchoate and emergent. The final part of the paper is concerned with the implications of this perspective for education, training and development; current management education appears geared to reduce rather than to promote individuality. Techniques are imposed and answers are provided and the entire educational performance revolves around teachers as performers rather than managers as performers. The way to become a management star, it is suggested, is to do managing, not simply to be audience for academic stars.
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