Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

A Story for our Times by Nicholas Blake

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Nicholas Blake is a mature age, part-time PhD student in the philosophy program at the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia). He has an undergraduate degree majoring in mathematics and English literature, and masters degrees (MLitt and MPhil) in philosophy. His research interests focus on Heideggerian philosophy and its relevance to theories of organisation and management.

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A Story for our Times: Byham's and Cox's HeroZ

Business novels are a form of didactic literature. The Zapp! employee 'empowerment' books by W.C. Byham and Jeff Cox are examples of this genre. They are also examples of a purportedly more humanistic management tradition. The particular business solutions which they offer are premised on the assumption that a significant part of who we are is derived from our work, and that to improve our work (necessitating greater commitment from us, whilst we also derive greater meaning from our work) is therefore to improve and enrich our individual lives. But to what extent are they likely to succeed in these humanistic aims?

By way of example, I consider how Byham's and Cox's fable HeroZ , especially insofar as it self-consciously situates itself within the fairy tale genre, nevertheless fails to situate and fully reflect upon its own contexts and especially ideological limits of writing. Perhaps typical of contemporary (and ultimately either management inspired, appropriated or consistent) approaches to life in general, the normative 'solution' which HeroZ offers ultimately fails to provide a way of living in which human beings can fully be the beings we are.

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Updated 21 Jun 2013


Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

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