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Profaning the sacred in leadership studies: A reading of Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase

Śliwa, M and Spoelstra, S and Sørensen, BM and Land, C (2013) 'Profaning the sacred in leadership studies: A reading of Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase.' Organization, 20 (6). 860 - 880. ISSN 1350-5084

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The leadership literature is full of stories of heroic self-sacrifice. Sacrificial leadership behaviour, some scholars conclude, is to be recommended. In this article we follow Keith Grint's conceptualization of leadership as necessarily pertaining to the sacred, but-drawing on Giorgio Agamben's notion of profanation-we highlight the need for organization scholars to profane the sacralizations embedded in leadership thinking. One example of this, which guides us throughout the article, is the novel A Wild Sheep Chase, by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. By means of a thematic reading of the novel, we discuss how it contributes to profaning particular notions of sacrifice and the sacred in leadership thinking. In the novel, self-sacrifice does not function as a way of establishing a leadership position, but as a way to avoid the dangers associated with leadership, and possibly redeem humans from their current collective urge to become leaders. Inspired by Murakami's fictional example, we call organization scholars to engage in profanation of leadership studies and, in doing so, open new vistas for leadership theory and practice. © The Author(s) 2012.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Christopher Land
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2012 09:17
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2021 20:15

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