Citius, Altius, Fortius : managers’ quest for heroic leader identities
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In this paper, we draw on Foucault’s concept “governmentality” to show how a cohort of middle-aged senior managers who engaged in competitive endurance sports fabricated (avowed) “heroic” leader identities drawing on this repertoire of discursive resources. Neoliberalism constitutes a form of governmentality which encourages people to regard themselves as autonomous and to aspire to personal fulfillment by investing entrepreneurially in themselves as “human capital.” Healthism, which requires individuals be responsible for their own health and wellbeing, is one program by which this is accomplished. We analyze managers’ talk about themselves as people who self-examined, and sought continually to transform (improve) themselves, to avow identities as superior (heroic) leaders. Our study contributes to the literature on governmentality by showing how in neoliberalism “healthism” constructs managers as enterprising selves.
Bardon , T , Brown , A & Puyou , F-R 2021 , ' Citius , Altius , Fortius : managers’ quest for heroic leader identities ' , Organization , vol. OnlineFirst . https://doi.org/10.1177/13505084211030644
Copyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
DescriptionAuthors are grateful to the Fondation Audencia for the support provided in order to transcribe empirical material.
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