David Boje & Robert Dennehy's
Managing in the Postmodern World
1st Edition 1993; 2nd Edition 1994;
3rd Edition September 1999.
For Free to you on the WWW.
You may copy for free and use in any teaching or training setting at no charge. You have our permission to copy. It was written as an undergraduate Intro to Management Text, but has been used at all levels, including in Management Training at Trader Joe's.

Consult Managing in the Postmodern World home page for more chapters as I get them done. There are also plenty of cases, syllabus copies, and additional  learning materials to go with this book - D. Boje 
(press here). 



Table 5.1


Pre-Modern Leadership.

Leaders are masters.

M Master. Head of the work institution. Owner of the slaves, serfs, and tools. Sometimes more skilled than others in a profession.

A Authoritarian. Enforces unquestioning obedience to the leader's own authority.

S Slave Driver. A leader oversees the work of others. A real taskmaster.

T Tyrant. Sovereign and oppressive control over other people.

E Elite. Leaders are regarded as the finest or most privileged class.

R Ruler. Leaders govern and rule over other people.

Modernist Leadership.

Leaders are panoptic.

P Panoptic. Leader does the gaze on everyone. Bertham's Principle: power should be visible and unverifiable.

A Authoritarian. Final evaluator of performance and quality.

N Network of penal mechanisms. Penal mechanisms are little courts for the investigation, monitoring, and correction of incorrect behavior and then the application of punishments & rewards to sustain normalcy.

O Organizational. Lots of divisions, layers, specialties, and cubbyholes to cellularize people.

P Pyramid. Leader sits at the top of the pyramid.

T Top. The head boss, the top of the hill, and the highest ranking person.

I Inspector. In charge of surveillance, inspection, and rating of everyone else.

C Centralist. All information and decision flows up to the center and back down to the periphery.

Postmodern Leadership.

Leaders are Servants.

S Servant. The leader is the servant to the network. Leaders serve people who in turn serve customers. De-differentiates self from the people.

E Empowers. The leader empowers participation in social and economic democracy.

R Recounter of Stories. Tells the stories of company history, heros, and futures.

V Visionary. Without vision the people perish.

A Androgynous. Male and female voices.

N Networker. Manage the transformation and configuration of the diverse network of teams spanning suppliers to customer.

T Team-builder. Mobilize, lead, and detach a web-work of autonomous teams.


What is Leading?

Directing and coordinating persons and temas concerning what task activities people do and how they are to do those tasks to achieve which plans and objectives.

PRE. Master. Leading is accomplished by authoritarian, slave-driving, master, tyrants who direct and oversee what and how tasks are achieved in a climate of fear.

MOD. Panoptic. Leading is centralized with many layers and divisions of panoptic gaze and menal mechanisms to apply punishments and rewards in ways that sustain power and status differences.

POST. Servant. Leading is de-centered with an ethic of servanthood as managers serve people who in turn serve customers in a de-differentiated network of relationships led by vision and story. 


Table 5.2

Differences between managers and leaders. I want you to get beyond management to the essentials of leadership.




PMA is situational

PMA is inspirational

Do the things right!

Do the right thing


Transforms by Example

Reaches Objectives


Plays the Game

Designs the Game

Authorizes, Scapegoats

Empowers, Trusts, Delegates

Status holder, Self-focus

Servant to others, Vision-focus

Status Quo, Secrets

Change Agent, Opens paths

Gives out data

Tells Stories

Talk Talk

Listen Listen


From the whips to the gaze and then to the storyteller, we will explore pre-modern, modern, postmodern leadership.

Rebelling Against Traditional Management/Leadership Theory.

Boj: Usually the instructor sets up leadership by saying that the field of leadership studied great men of leadership and could not find any philosophies, values, or behavior traits that could be taught to the "now" generation. This line of inquiry was abandoned. Then leadership pioneers at Ohio State and Michigan State began to identify initiating structure (planning and organizing) and consideration (human resource stuff). You know, the managerial grid, be the 9,9 leader who does both. Finally, after 40 years of no correlation between these two behaviors and performance, the contingency leadership theorists came along. Contingency people say a leader needs to be flexible: be autocratic and initiating in some situations, then be kind and humanistic in other situations. The current books out on the leadership market talk about empowering followers with grand visions, getting out of the leader office and visiting a customer or dock worker, and doing some alignment. But, to me, vision is just another word for superordinate goals and modernist planning. Empowerment is the old concept of delegation in a new cloak. Visiting workers is token participation. We need to look at how this "modern" leadership is just a lot of show, a new form of the gaze, and new plot to get people without a voice to adopt one vision and one logic for some grand narrative. I say the whole field is a pile of "cow maneuver." What if we start over, maybe we should go back and look at great leaders.

Bob: Let's look at the stories of some leaders. Let's trace their rise to leadership. What did they experience? What was happening in their lives? What was going on around them? What crisis were they experiencing? What expectation did they have of themselves? What did others expect of them? What patterns emerge? What concepts of leadership seem to be suggested? Let's look at the struggle and see what we can learn!


We have images of leaders from the fact and fiction. These images in turn, affect our beliefs about today's leaders. Joseph Campbell has provided us with the tale of the leader as a hero on a journey.1 (Unfortunately Campbell is less enlightening on the pictures of heroines).


Joseph Campbell tells us the hero goes on a journey with three episodes: separation, initiation, and return.

Table 5.3:

The Hero's Journey.







Begins as mercenary & materialist

Comes in late to save Luke Skywalker

Transformed to hero who has found he is compassionate human being


Rode out to encounter giants

Found windmills at time Mechanistic/machine interpretation of world was coming in vogue

Invents a magician who had transformed his giants.


Master technician put wings on his son, Icarus

Fly out and escape the labyrinth he had invented. "Fly the middle way" but the son flew into the sun.

Daedalus did fly the middle way. Danger of too much enthusiasm when going a new way.


John Lennon et. al innovate music.

Became sensitive to needs of the time.

Explored Oriental music forms.

In tune with their time and brought new spiritual depth to pop music.


Ascends mountain summit

Meets with Yahweh

Comes back with the rules to form a whole new society


Went on quest to get beyond world suffering

Found solitude beneath the Banyan tree of knowledge where he received illumination

Enlightened all of Asia


Went into desert for 40 days

Desert quest saw encounter with 3 temptations and then crucifixion

Transcended all pains of earth to show the way.


Camel driver goes to a cave each day

Meditates and a voice says "write this down."

Brings teaching to middle east


Mask put over his evil monster

When mask removed we see a man that is unformed, not developed. Balance of the force and the darkside

Darth is the bureaucrat living not for the self, but for an imposed MODERNIST system.

Table 5.4:

Contrast of Hero Journey's in Pre-Modern, Modern, and Post Modern Eras.

 Pre-Modern Heroes

Modernist Heroes

Postmodern Heroes

*Slays different monsters to shape the world out of unshaped wilderness

*Cookie molding of people to fit in the big mechanistic machine.

*Magic Johnson is a hero on the court and is being tested on a new journey

*Like Moses who ascends mountain, meets with God and comes back with rules for whole society.

*Follow precise paths with precise terms

*Star Wars monster masks represent real monster forces in the modern world. Vader's mask removed to show unformed man, undeveloped human

*Legendary hero is founder of something or of a new way of life

*Manhattan project. Big quest into unknown to bring back evil

*Vader was the modernist bureaucrat.

*Leaves on a quest to discover the seed idea

*Feelings are overcome and controlled. i.e. Darth Vader did not listen to his own heart till there very end.

*Luke Skywalker rejects the system's impersonal claims on him.

*Spiritual quest

*Mirror mirror on the wall who is the highest paid CEO of all?

*Luke "turn off your computer, turn off your machine... following... follow your feeling"

*Transitions to maturity

*Greed is good, Fear is good.

*May the Force be with you." Pour the energy into life, not programmed, political intentions

*Slay dragon drink its blood to draw its power

*Man is the modernist robot working in the bureaucratic system. The warriors have Vader masks.


So What? In pre, mod, and post stories of leaders, there is a journey of separation, initiation, and return. The leader brings back new rules to play by, new visions to share, new stories to tell, and the people respond. We are not looking at the traits and behaviors of the leaders, we are looking at the process of transformation that happened during the journey of the leaders. What can we extract from the journey's that can give us insight into our own leadership challenges?

The Story of Miliken


In order to survive, firms that once flourished despite their thick-porridge bureaucracies have had to become sensitive to technological pressures, flexible enough to respond to those pressures. Perhaps the most responsive firm in the textile industry is Miliken & Co., headquartered in Spartanburg, SC. It has not always been so responsive.



Premodern and Modern: Before the Revolution

Prior to 1981, Miliken & Co. was run as a dictatorship. Roger Miliken ran the total show. His raging impatience for dissidence and inaction wreaked terror among his managers. His despotism showed up when he summarily fired 600 managers under the premise that Parkinson's law had been in effect long enough. His ultra-conservatism became ultra clear when he ordered all Xerox machines removed from every Miliken office on the day after Xerox-sponsored documentary on civil rights appeared on TV. People were proud to work for Miliken, but tired. Not many people could work the expected 60 to 70 hours a week.

Roger Miliken loved bricks, mortar, and machines, but distrusted people and the market place. He did not feel comfortable allowing customers to help set his direction. He frequently became involved in minute details. Secrecy was important. The goals of efficiency and productivity required long production runs with few changes, tight control of incoming inventories and suppliers, and inflexibility for outgoing product and customers. "Never do anything in small runs". Relationships with suppliers were adversarial, stiff at best. The structure was hierarchical and militaristic.

Paradoxically, despite the seemingly short term philosophy, Miliken & Co. had a huge R&D facility and may have spent more on R&D than rest of the textile industry combined. Further, Mr. Miliken showed a fetish-like interest in the latest management tools: long-term planning, computerized MIS, quantitative techniques, and a 7-week training course for managers.


Enter Postmodern: Come the Revolution ("Pursuit Of Excellence-POE")

Most revolutions are perpetrated by outsiders with little to lose and much to gain. This one was completely driven by Roger Miliken himself as a result of two realizations. The first realization was that past paradigms were not acceptable. The comfort afforded by old accepted beliefs and ways of doing things (such as, "Quality is a luxury") was primarily responsible for failure to improve, and ultimately failure of the firm. Miliken realized that the firm's survival depended on avoiding this "paradigm paralysis" and accepting new paradigms (such as, "Quality is expected by everyone").

The second realization was that management was a problem. Mr. Miliken stood up on a table and explicitly admitted that he was the problem. He realized that quality was attained with people, not out of people. He then began to reverse his leadership style 180 degrees. He empowered employees (renamed "associates") and adopted a team approach to production with cross-functional teams including suppliers. He continued the massive training programs including training for suppliers. He, the CEO, (not just his first-line supervisors) attended Crosby's Quality College. Thus, Miliken mounted a cultural revolution.

Postmodern Continues: Come the Second Revolution (Total Customer Responsiveness-TCR)

Miliken & Co.'s focus on the customer began when Roger Miliken forced his foot-dragging salespeople to become involved in quality program. The driving energy of TCR comes form cross functional Customer Action Teams, including representatives from customers, manufacturing, sales, finance, and marketing. The purpose of these teams is to solve problems on how to serve current markets and create better ones.

For example, Miliken and Levi Strauss have joined together in a "Partners for Profit Program". This program gives the two firms the advantages of vertical integration without being vertically integrated. In effect, the programs uses JIT as a marketing strategy by linking it forward to the customer. The JIT partnership is implemented with five steps.

1. Miliken uses SPC to manufacture high quality fabric according to Levi's standards of color and roll sizes.

2. Computer/telecommunication linkages between Miliken and Levi provide for precise electronic coding and tell Miliken exactly how to load their trucks.

3. Miliken ship directly to Levi.

4. The fabric is unloaded at Levi's docks exactly when, how, and where Levi wants it.

5. Levi omits inspection, sorting, and storage of incoming Miliken fabric.

The result is a reduction in cycle times. Speed (timeliness) is an aspect of quality. It once took six weeks to have a customer agree on a sample, set up, produce, and deliver. Now that takes five days.

A more highly publicized result is that Miliken won the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in 1989. Their primary areas of excellence in winning this award were their improvement of customer satisfaction and their "Ten Four" goals, striving for improving quality indexes tenfold in four years. 2



Leaders in pre-modern times were the masters. Serfs, indentured servants, and slaves worked with craftsmen in the fields and shops. Even craftsmen were tied to their master's shop and could not just up and leave of their own accord to enter the service of another master. Pre-mod leadership has roots in the military organization, the university, religious orders, and as we have discussed, even fraternities and sororities. There are many pre-mod leaders such as Napoleon, Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, and Moses. To get an idea of the deep roots of pre-modern leadership we will look at Sun Tzu and Attila the Hun.

The Chinese Emperor's New Leader

Ho-Lu (King of Wu) said, "...Can you conduct a minor experiment in control of the movement of troops... Can you conduct this test using women?"

Sun Tzu replied, "I can."

The King thereupon agreed and sent from the palace one hundred and eighty beautiful women.

Sun Tzu divided them into two companies and put the King's two favorite concubines in command. He instructed them all how to hold halberds. He then said, "Do you know where the heart is, and where the right and left hands and the back are?"

The women said, "We know."

Sun Tzu said, "When I give the order "Front," face in the direction of the heart; when I say "Left," face toward the left hand; when I say "Right" toward the right; when I say "Rear," face in the direction of your backs."

The women said, "We understand."

When these regulations had been announced the executioner's weapons were arranged.

Sun Tzu then gave the orders three times and explained them five times, after which he beat on the drum the signal "Face Right." The women all roared with laughter.

Sun Tzu said, "If instructions are not clear and commands not explicit, it is the commander's fault. But when they have been made clear, and are not carried out in accordance with military law, it is a crime on the part of the officers." Then he ordered that the commanders of the right and left ranks be beheaded.

The King of Wu...saw that his two beloved concubines were about to be executed ... "I already know that the General is able to employ troops. Without these two concubines my food will not taste sweet. It is my desired that they be not executed."

Sun Tzu replied: "Your servant has already received your appointment

as Commander Commander and when the commander is at the head of the army he need not accept all the sovereign's orders."

Consequently he ordered that the two women who had commanded the ranks be executed as an example. He then used the next seniors as company commanders.

Thereupon he repeated the signals on the drum, and the women faced left, right, to the front, to the rear, knelt and rose all in strict accordance with the prescribed drill. All without a giggle.

Sun Tzu then sent a messenger to the King and informed him: "The troops are now in good order. The King may descend to review and inspect them. They may be employed as the King desires, even to the extent of going through fire and water."

Sun Tzu then sent a messenger to the King and informed him: "The troops are now in good order. The King may descend to review and inspect them. They may be employed as the King desires, even to the extent of going through fire and water."

Ho-Lu then ralized Sun Tzu's capacity as a commander, and eventually made him a general.



Deconstruction Points.

1. Master Leaders. In this feudal time, around 300 B.C., the leader ruled supreme. Both the general, Sun Tzu and the King were elite rulers and masters over all their subjects.

2. Gender. It is interesting that the minor exercise led to the be-heading of females.

3. Fear Management. Leadership is by fear and intimidation. A public show of force gets the troops in order.

4. Strategic Choices. The general seized upon an opportunity to impress the king with his skills at disciplining troops.

Attila the Hun Story

As the story goes, a Gallic monk, provoked either by the horror of Attila's ambition or by a taste for martyrdom, created a new title for him. The monk hailed Attila not as "King of Huns" but as "the Scourge of God."

Attila, sensing the power this newly acquired title would yield on the battlefield and in negotiations, was quick to adopt it, for he knew the sobriquet would have the influence of an army of 100,000.

Attila pressed the advantage of his reputations as "the Scourge of God," ... In the year A.D. 446, Attila, preparing to launch his march on the empire, needed money to gain the supplies and material essential for the expansion of his army. So he invaded Thessaly...

Selecting the most vicious and ferocious-looking warriors from his army, Attila ordered them to wear garb of rough fur and leather, to eat only raw meat and to inflict the most horrible tortures on their prisoners. All of this planned fury was for the sake of perpetuating a legend.

...Theodosius allowed the utter destruction of more than seventy villages before he sought to make a truce at Thermopylae.

Because of Theodosius' earlier resistance and now his meek submission of the Eastern Roman Empire, Attila raised the price of peace. Roman prisoners were to be freed at a new cost of twelve pieces of gold instead of the usual eight.

Attila could have demanded much more. However, he knew the Romans would simply slap their subjects with new taxes to recoup the moneys. Attila had no wish to burden the peasants, merchants, artisans, plebeians or subjects of the empire, he simply sought to conquer its corrupt leaders. 3

Deconstruction Points.

1. Fear. Respect for authority is born of fear. But, if you push fear too far, the result is resistance, low morale, and sabotage (p. 46).

2. Privilege. The privileges of leadership are respected by the people so long as no harm comes to the people. Attila obtained tribute and ransom which he shared with his subordinates.

3. Respect. "Always pay proper courtesy to your subordinate leaders. Should you fail to accord them respect, so will their subordinates" (p. 48).

4. Delegation. "Even I, Attila, cannot accomplish for you what you are not willing to accomplish for yourselves. You must be willing to accept the responsibilities that I choose to delegate to you... You must trust to your subordinate leaders those responsibilities that fit their office" (p. 73).

Once a chieftain has delegated responsibilities, he should never interfere, lest his subordinates come to believe that the duties are not truly theirs. Such superficial delegation yields fury in the hearts of subordinates (p. 74).

A competent chieftain will delegate important assignments to even inexperienced subordinates in order that he might accomplish his mission, develop his subordinates' skills and demonstrate loyalty for and trust in his subordinates (p. 75).

5. Self. "Seldom are self-centered, conceited and self-admiring chieftains great leaders, but they are great idolizers of themselves (p. 102).

6. Positive Mental Attitude. "A wise chieftain never depends on luck. Rather, he always trusts his future to hard work, stamina, tenacity and a positive attitude" (p. 107).

For comparison, we have made up a table of leadership skills from Sun Tzu and Attila the Hun. 4



Table 5.5:

Sun Tzu Leader Skills

Attila the Hun Leader Skills

Moral Influence -cause the people to be in harmony with their leaders, so that they will accompany them in life and unto death without fear of mortal peril (p. 64, 102).

Command - The general's qualities of wisdom, sincerity, humanity, courage, and strictness (p. 65).

Doctrine - Organization, control, assignment of appropriate ranks to officers, regulation of supply routes, and the provision of principal items used by the army (p. 65).

Balance -Act expediently in accordance with what is advantageous and so control the balance (p. 66). A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates (p. 93, 101).

Deception - feign disorder, feign incapacity, avoid him where he is strong, anger his general and confuse him, pretend inferiority

Foreknowledge - Use secret agents to assess enemy situation (p. 144-149).

Loyalty -Listen to the loyal and remove the disloyal (p. 17).

Courage - Accepts risks of leadership. Not bewildered by adversity. confident in times of uncertainty (p. 17-8).

Desire - Wants to lead (p. 17); Competitive desire to win (p. 19-20).

Emotional Stamina - to recover from disappointment (p. 18).

Decisiveness - Knowing when to act and when not to act. Not vacillating or procrastinating (p. 19).

Anticipation - Learning by observation and through instincts to anticipate thoughts, actions and consequences (p. 19).

Timing - One often learns this skill by applying the lessons learned through failure (p. 19).

Self-Confidence - Personal feeling of assurance to meet challenges of leadership (p. 20).


Introduction. As the industrial revolution model of the factory bureaucracy became the dominant form of organization, the modernist leaders implemented grand systems for linking people to machines or to service bureaucracies. The factory bureaucracy was supposed to also control the dysfunctions of leaders like J.P. Morgan and others who accumulated massive wealth at the exploitation of everyone else. In the age of the machine, John Patterson was a ruthless king divinely appointed to make cash registers.

John Patterson's Story(NCR)

Patterson's dictum was simple: "When a man becomes indispensable, let's fire him." Rarely did he wait that long. Between 1910 and 1930 one-sixth of the nation's top executives had been trained - and fired - by Patterson. Dismissal came without warning or recourse. "There are just two things," Patterson would tell the soon-to-be-discharged. "Everything you say is wrong. Everything you do is wrong."


Those who remained were hardly unscathed. When executives were absent, Patterson periodically dumped the contents of their desks into the trash, permitting them, as he put it, "to start clean." When executives were present, they were subject to an unceasing flow of presidential memorandums by which Patterson sought to regulate their behavior, from the width of their ties to the percentage of the tips they gave.

Few areas of life escaped Patterson's attention.... If horsemanship helped to develop a sense of mastery, then all company executives would be roused before 6 A.M. for a morning trot... Male employees at NCR had a fully equipped gym and exercised every day - part of the company's program to enhance job performance... by 1905, 500 women worked at "The Cash." Exercise was part of their routine...


Patterson, a contemporary said, "thought himself divinely appointed to make cash registers." The efficiency of his factory and the diligence of his sales force brought him the bulk of the cash register business, but he wanted all of it.... One of his approaches to competition was lordly. A competitor would be invited to Dayton, all expenses paid, to tour NCR and be overwhelmed by the strength of the giant he was challenging. Tours ended in the Historical or "Gloom" Room, where cash registers built by then defunct challengers were piled; a buy out offer generally followed. Another approach was to flood an opponent with lawsuits which absorbed his time, drained his treasury and disrupted his plans...

In 1901, Patterson, angered that small firms were making money selling secondhand NCR cash registers, set up a dummy operation to drive them from the field. Backed with a $1 million budget, it undersold, undermined and bought out competitors. Meanwhile, the in-house competition department at NCR trained representatives known as "knockout men." Standard tactics included the following: if a customer was considering purchase of a competing machine, a knockout man would claim that the machine violated NCR patents and that the retailer would end up in court; the NCR man would offer to cover the legal expenses involved in reneging on the agreement.

One individual who was fired from NCR vowed "to build a bigger business than John H. Patterson has." Which, at IBM - the very model of the modern corporation - is exactly what Thomas J. Watson did. 5


1. Fear. Paterson ruled by fear.

2. Central Control. Patterson micro-managed his employees, including their personal habits. He fired anyone that got too powerful in his pyramid.

3. Authoritarian. He was the ultimate authority and had the last word.

4. Total Control. Patterson sought to control the entire life space of each employee as exemplified by the gym exercise requirements.

5. Competing Voices. His style was to destroy the external competition and to fire any competing voices, such as Thomas J. Watson. There was one voice, one logic, one way, and that was Patterson's.

6. Anti-bureaucratic. You do not find a heavy emphasis on bureaucratic layers and committees. Patterson moves about his domain with the determination of the pioneering entrepreneur who keeps all the reins in his own hands.



Some Background on Walt. Walter Elias Disney was born December 5, 1901. He was a cartoonist until 1926. After 1926, he did not do a single cartoon drawing, but he did perform as a storyteller and controlled story production.

Most people have an image of Walt as a kindly gentleman they watched on Sunday evenings. The public relations department accounts of Walt are part of the commodification of the Walt legend for profit and survival. The PR account is one grand story, but what we want to introduce here are differences in story accounts. There are many sides to this leader and the PR appearances can be deceiving. Walt was a control freak who ruled paternalistically. He was the innovator and the tinker. He fired as many people as Patterson. Walt wrote his story onto the world in such a dominant manner, that it is difficult to find skeptical accounts of the grand Walt legend.

Good leaders are good storytellers and Walt was a master storyteller.

Roy Disney recalls Walt's Story Style

I was eight or nine years and... I was upstairs in bed sick and it was a Sunday. And Walt and Lilly came over to have dinner with my mother and dad. And they came up and said hello to me. And Walt---(and Lilly went back down stairs) kind of cocked his eyebrow and stayed and said: "we're working on a story I want to tell you." And he sat down there on the edge of the bed. And he must have been there half an hour. And told me Pinocchio from end to end. With all the gestures and wonderful---he had a way of absolutely hypnotizing you when he told a story. And I sat there absolutely enthralled. And, I couldn't wait for that movie to come out.

What he did with me that night and what he always did with everyone when he was working on a story---he was testing it. He'd tell you this story and then if he saw a place that wasn't quite working, the next time he'd tell it he'd of changed it a little bit. And stories evolved with him that way (Transcription of Benson video, 1989). 6

Walt's animated films did not carry screen credits. The animators had no voice or signature for their work. According to Kinney (1988: 9) most of the general public thought Walt wrote the stories, made the drawings, did the layout, voices, and sound effects. 7 Jack Kinney, worked for Walt from 1931 until 1957. He was among the legions of who drew thousands of toons for hundreds of pictures, but in and out of Walt's organization had no voice.

Sometime after Walt's death, Ron Miller, Walt's Son-In-Law become CEO. His background was finance and he managed Disney with numbers instead of with stories. He did not tamper with the Disney machine, except to add a few more layers and a lot more committees.


Walt was a control freak; obsessed with control. These next stories gives some glimpses of the journey Walt traveled to become a control freak.

Sleeping Beauty Story

Once upon a time there was a Sleeping Beauty performer, who was late for the parade. She was fussing with the snaps on the back of her costume as she hurried by the Disney theme park guests. The rules said she was supposed to be fully dressed before she was to appear before any guests, in order not to spoil the illusion. Walt saw her and fired her on the spot without a comment.(Boje, 1990 interview).

The Security Guard Story

Walt was coming into the park one day. He approached the park entrance and the security guard asked to see Walt's pass.

Walt: I left it at home. I'm Walt Disney.

Guard: I'm sorry but you can not enter without a pass.

Walt: What is your name?

Guard: Dave Smith.

Walt: I am going to buy a ticket, but I'd like you to come to my office at noon.

Guard: Yes, Mr. Disney

The story ends with Walt promoting the guard to manager of all the park entrance shifts. Walt admired people who followed the rules (Boje, 1990 interview).



Charles Shows, Disney Writer

For instance, I was quite prolific at coming up with ideas for new television shows, and Walt needed ideas. According to studio policy, when I wrote up an idea for a new show, I was to submit it to one of the producers. However, the producer I worked under lived in a state of stark, naked fear! When I would submit a new show idea to him, he was so afraid Walt wouldn't like it that he would throw the show proposal into his wastebasket. He figured it was better that Walt didn't see the idea --- than to have Walt see it and not like it!

After wasting precious weeks of time creating new ideas for television shows --- only to have them discarded --- I decided to bypass the barrier by using the "fear system." Neatly, I typed my ideas on studio stationary and at the top wrote the magic words: "Carbon copy to Walt Disney." My fearful supervisor now was afraid Walt might see my idea and like it --- and fire him for failing to submit a good idea" (Shows, 1979: 75-76). 8


Walt had Charisma. He was an autocratic and a fanatical perfectionist who controlled every facet of the business. While he surrounded himself with the best talent, he retained absolute sovereign control over every phase of every project. If a project did not met his personal standards for perfection, it was shelved. Charismatic leader tell stories and Walt was perhaps the finest storyteller of all time. Followers imitated his storytelling style.

Pre-modern Animation. Before Walt Disney, animation was a cottage industry, controlled by craftsmen and their apprentices. It was an art form and the artist sketched and designed and planned and crafted his art medium. In the pre-modern phase of animation, a support system of animators got together around each new project. Walt created the studio system that would keep artists and artisans fully employed by moving them from a piece of one project to a piece of another project, and so on. He put craftsman into functional teams, and kept them employed year-round. Before Walt, animators and story men were subject to seasonal employment.

Mickey Mouse

In 1927, Walt launched a cartoon series with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as the main character. Oswald had many of the soft-cured physical features of his future character: Mickey Mouse. Charles Mintz, the distributor for the toons, tried to cut Walt out in order to reduce his costs. He hired away several of Walt's best animators and claimed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit belonged to him. Mintz copyrighted the name of the character. Walt was furious. He developed a new character called: Mortimer the Mouse and he never, ever let anyone copyright or control anything Disney ever again. Walt's wife thought Mortimer was a pretentious name for a mouse and suggested: Mickey Mouse. The rest is history.

In 1930, Ub Iwerks, who had worked with Walt since Kansas City, doing short cartoon features, was lured away by one Pat Powers, who Walt had contracted to distribute his Mickey Mouse cartoons. Pat being a finagler, did not give Walt detailed financial reports and would send Walt a few dollars from time to time. Iwerks could do 700 drawings a day. Powers used Iwerks to try to squeeze a $2500 a week distribution contract out of Walt. Walt turned Powers down and gave his distribution contract to Columbia pictures and hired a whole staff of New York animators to replace Iwerks.

After these incidents, Walt made it a habit to keep his plan for each project in his head, assembling a project part by part, team by team, keeping central control until his empire was visible for all to see and for him to possess.

The Transition to Modern Management. Walt institutionalized a control process that consisted of departmentalizing the production process phases from story plot department to dialogue and sketch departments, music departments, inking departments, background painting departments, voice departments, and the like. Walt had bureaucratized tooning. Walt attended story performance meetings and assessed the weakness of plots, dialogue, sketches, and the like. Walt's stenographer recorded the meetings.

In 1952, Walt set out to make his vision of twenty years, a reality. His story department sketched and built models of his theme park. Main Street, for example, was Walt's vision of the heart of a small Midwestern town that Walt knew as a boy and calculated to correspond to his archetype of the American town. The Disney Sunday night TV show helped Walt to give his vision of Disneyland theme park maximum public exposure. Walt's toons, movies, and theme parks had an appeal to the emotions of millions of people. In 1958 Walt said: "Dream, diversity and never miss an angle."


Disney's empire was a story-processing machine, where every element was carefully related to each other element. His movies, shows, and parks were clean, simple and highly controlled. Walt centralized all project planning and operation decisions. Walt was at the top of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, and everyone that worked for him, was at the bottom. There was a clean and tidy place fore everyone and everyone kept in their place. Every element was pre-planned to be noncompetitive with every other element. The films, TV shows, and theme parks were complementary elements in the overall Disney empire. These were backed up by training, research, and an elaborate infra-structure. He was not a theory "Y" leader. He ruled by fear. It was a flat structure. There was no "real" middle management, just Walt at the top.

Walt died on december 15, 1966 at St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank, across the street from his studio. While the Disney production system was institutionalized, Walt's creative imagination and decisive control was not. When Walt died, gross earnings were $120 million, they floundered in the early 1980's and they now exceed one billion.

Ron Miller Inherits the Modernist Story Machine. Ron Miller, Walt's son-in-law became CEO. He was a finance guy and managed Disney with numbers. He did not tamper with the Disney machine. There was a lot of pressure to get into the PG-13 and R movie markets. Films like Pete's Dragon and The Black Hole did not do well at the box office, but Disney animated files like The Jungle Book, The Aristocrats, Robin Hood, The Rescuers, and the Fox and the Hound did OK. Even a 1984 rerelease of the Jungle Book netted $15 million. It was Miller who launched touchstone pictures and released Splash as a strategy to keep the Disney family image uncontaminated by PG-13 and R movies. Kids thought it uncool to go to G movies anymore. After Vietnam, people wanted movies like M*A*S*H, Easy Rider, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, American Graffiti and The Graduate. But, few creative geniuses were willing to work in the Disney method of film production.



Committees in the Mouse Museum. Ron Miller did not get into the details of production planning, project selection, and project management. He left decisions to a committee system that evolved after Walt's death. People asked: "What would Walt do?" The committee system kept Disney a conservative and risk-averse company.

Corporate Raider. Saul Steinberg, the corporate raider, smelled a victim and bought up Disney stock with the goal of carving up the Disney empire into bite size pieces that could be sold off, leaving an empty corporate shell. Ron Miller fought back by buying real estate and businesses to dilute Steinberg's ownership. Miller threatened Steinberg with the poison pill tactic: a leveraged buy back of Disney stock at a price that would put Disney too far in debt for Steinberg to be able to sell off the pieces of the empire. Finally, Ron Miller paid greenmail to Steinberg and an imitative second raider: Irwin Jacobs. Roy Disney Jr., son of Walt's brother Roy, lead the charge to oust Ron Miller.

Enter the Postmodern White Knight.

In 1984, Michael Eisner succeeded Ron Miller as CEO. Eisner and his knight, Frank Wells awakened Sleeping Beauty in her castle and with the help of the princely Bass brothers and their money, drove away the takeover artists. Eisner brought in the creative wizards: George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola to build some new attractions like Star Tours and Captain EO. Eisner's style of leadership was not rooted in the storytelling style and story-control processes that Walt had used to control his empire. Walt had been a visual man, a cartoonist who liked each of his project made visual. Eisner was from the movie industry, where scripts were written down. Whereas Disney had sketches made and pinned to the wall for his inspection and approval. Eisner and friends transformed the "mouse museum" into a major film studio, multiplied the theme parks, and kept the Disney Empire together (Boje, 1990). 9

Deconstructing the Disney Legend. We organized the stories according to voices, totalism, universalism, essentialism, and panoptic gaze. We will look at three leaders: Walt Disney who invented Disney and took animation from the pre-mod to modern; Ron Miller who symbolizes the bureaucratic, modern manager of the Mickey Mouse museum; Michael Eisner, who rode in on a white horse to rescue Disney Corporation from its bureaucratic cage as well as a hostile takeover and symbolizes, to us, the initial transition to postmodern leadership.

Voices. As you read the Disney stories, deconstruct the "voices." Who gets a voice in the Walt stories, whose voice is marginal, who guests no voice at all? In Walt's stories there is typically one voice and it is Walt's. Walt rarely allowed any "voice" other than his own to be heard. Walt refers to his wife, Lilly, as "Mrs. Disney." Perhaps a formality of his generation, but a signal of possession none the less. Walt took ownership of everything about Disney. Musicians and composers of the musical accompaniment for Disney's movies and short were referred to as "my musicians". Cartoonist were "my artists". "My brother, my uncle, my father, my daughter, my pal" are all references to people made by Walt, but none of whom was ever given a more personal reference by name. Certainly none were ever the voices of Disney's storytelling organization. There is one exception to Walt's possession of people and their talents; his characters. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tico Tico, Goofy, Jose Carioca (a parrot), all are allowed a voice in the Disney organization; mostly because they are the Disney organization. Walt recognized this.

When we looked at the Eisner stories, the deconstruction process shows how he gives identity to the many voices that are present at Disney. George Lucas, Michael Jackson, and Walt all have stories as actors and participants in the Disney organization. Whereas Walt uses personal experience narratives, Michael Eisner tells more third person stories through a narrative style. For example:


Actually on the 30th Anniversary night, I came down here with Frank and the writer from New York Times and I was proudly telling about all the things we were doing at Disneyland and I got to the George Lucas-Star Wars rides and having heard from Dick and other people the attractive attraction which Disneyland ever had was during Inner Space, I told her we were replacing it. We're going to put in this great Star Wars attraction with technology that has never been seen before. It's gonna be the attraction that's going to replace that "dog" Inner Space. She said, "How can you say - that Dog? That's the most brilliant attraction ever at Disney. Walt Disney himself designed it. How can you ruin Disney?" She then dragged me to go over on it. We rode it twice. She called me a monster. And I haven't told anybody it's a dog. So it's not my fault. I just want you to know that it's not gonna be as good as the Star Wars attraction will be. (line 898-913, VT699; Boje 1992).

Totalism. In deconstruction, a totalism is an historical account which privileges one particular and rather narrow point of view. To deconstruct, we look at the stories that are not told as part of the grand story of Disney. As part of Walt's dominating voice at Disney is the history of told by Walt. History is a recount of events as seen and enacted by participant observers. Disney's "official" history was told by one man from one perspective. The Disney story is a commodification as well as a control device. It is commodification because Walt is himself one of the characters of Disney, the way that Mickey Mouse is a character of Disney. Walt's story is control because it contains the embellishment of the Disney philosophy, the one man logic of what to do, what to say, how to walk the Disney walk. The story contains the Disney focus on neatness, order, the enactment of life in the Midwest town.

For Ron Miller, even though I did not record any of his storytelling, I do know the ghost of Walt was remained at the helm. In the many committees that reproduced during Miller's administration, people would often say: "what would Walt have done?" They would tell the story of how Walt handled a similar situation and then do it that way. People called Disney the Mouse Museum referencing their traditional Walt-Midwestern values, their conservative deals --- people who took on Disney film projects got paid less than industry standards. Walt's story of Disney was continuing its life force without Walt peering out of the castle tower at his expanding empire. I think there was no room at the top of Disney for both Ron and Walt.

When I look at Eisner's approach to totalisms, I see more paradoxical accounts. The paradox is Eisner could both reference Walt's history and attack Walt's strategy as out of date for Disney in the same discourse. For example, while Eisner would invoke the Walt legend to bridge into his own strategies "This is how Walt did it" he would then challenge the Walt legend "but, this is where Walt and I part company."


I couldn't follow it (said Eisner). I'd go down there and they'd go through the story boards. And you go through one storyboard and they'd bring in another story board. And, I';d sit there for hours and I couldn't remember what was in the first story board. And, it was a hard process for me to deal with. I'd been used to working in the script area.

And, I was a little critical of some of our animated films that had been done before Walt died. Because I think there were great scenes but a lot of scenes put together. But, sometimes the art of the story (as he motions his hands back and forth in an art in the air) didn't follow the way I was used to thinking about stories, or what I learned in school about the construction of ---the stories and all that. And I'd keep thinking about this.

And every time I'd say: "How was it done in the past?" And I'd hear about Walt. He'd just be there and he'd jump up and down and he'd go back and between thing and so forth. And Roy Disney (Jr.) told me a story about how he sat on his bed when he had the flu or the mumps or something and told the entire story of Pinocchio in the bed. And, I finally discovered they did have a script (emphasized).

And the script was in Walt Disney's head. We didn't have Walt Disney. And therefore we didn't have a single mind, tracking the entire movie. We had (a) committee of minds. And that was the problem. And now we do scripts (Lines 2817 to 2942; Benson, 1989 Video; also in Boje, 1992).

Eisner is telling his story in a way that deconstructs the Walt Disney Story. He is pulling on one of the strings of the story's fabric, and in the process, unraveling the grand account. Walt's control over the storytelling process of Disney is going to change to allow Eisner to get scripts instead of storyboards, to have script meetings instead of storyboard meetings. Eisner is also using the stories he hears of Walt as an inquiry into the Disney system. Eisner is not postmodern man. Rather, he is opening up the modernist account that Disney has been living out for many generations to other interpretations. The history of animation that is Disney, still does not give much voice to the legions of artists and technicians that made Disney. For these stories look to Charles Shows (1979) who was a scriptwriter for the TV shows and movies and tells his side of working with Walt. See Jack Kinney's (1988) side of the story of animators, how the animator's lived in the most marginal quarters, away from the main lot in a dilapidated apartment building, not getting their names on their work. Schickel (1985) tells the tale of Disney commerce and art. 10 Finally John Taylor's (1987) account of Storming the Magic Kingdom tells the multi-facets stories of how Disney transitioned from Walt to Miller and then to Eisner leadership.11



Universalisms. A universal is a grand and macro principle, a sweeping statement to gloss over a lot of differences in the local accounts. Walt advocated, for example, that Disney stay with the "G" movie market. He felt that it would be bad for business to get his cartoons, TV show, and theme park associated with "R" films, even though it was clear that the youth market was increasingly repelled by the idea of being caught dead at a "PG" let alone, the staple of Disney, the "G" movie. In this next story, we get a story of a story. Eisner, speaking at the 1984 stockholder's meeting is recounting a portion of a speech (a story) that Walt once gave (Walt's story).

Take A Chance

And I quote (says Eisner).

When I was 21, I went broke for the first time. I slept in chair cushions in my studio in Kansas City and ate cold beans out of the can. I took another look at my dream and set out to Hollywood. Foolish? Not as a youngster. An older person might have had too much common sense to do it. Sometimes I wonder if common sense isn't another way of saying, fear. And fear too often spells failure. In the lexicon of youth there is no such word as fail. Remember the story about the boy who wanted to march in the circus parade. The band master needed a trombonist so the boy signed up. He hadn't marched a block before the band master demanded, "Why didn't you tell me you couldn't play the trombone?" The boy said, "How would I know? I never tried it before." (line 195-207)

Of course the speech was given by Walt Disney and it was entitled: "Take a Chance." Walt was already a grandfather at that time and concluded the speech this way:

"If I am no longer young in age I hope to stay young enough in spirit never to fear failure, young enough still to take a chance and march in the parade." (line 209-212; Boje, 1992)

This is one of many places in this stockholder meeting that Eisner invokes the Disney legend.

"In 1923, Walt arrived in Hollywood with drawing materials under his arm, $40 in his pocket, and a dream. Waiting for him at Union Station was his brother Roy who would dedicate his life to making Walt's dream come true. Together with their wives: Lily and Universalism, working alongside them at night around the kitchen table, they struggled to keep a tiny studio alive (lines 223-229; Boje, 1992).

There is an official discourse and there are many marginalized discourses in every organization. What is interesting, is that though Roy and Walt were partners, Roy has no character and no voice at all in the Disney account. Here is Eisner giving Roy a characterization, that was not in Walt's egoist account of the founding of Disney. For Walt, it was Walt Disney alone who developed the Disney machine of Walt Disney Productions. Look at how animator and author, Jack Kinney renders the account:

It was a lovely spring evening in Paris. Roy Disney, Sr., and Jack Cutting had just finished a fine dinner and were taking a stroll. They talked of various subjects related to the studio, mixed with general small talk. They were relaxed and in a reminiscent mood, and finally Jack asked, "Roy, now that Walt is gone, why don't you take some of the credit for the development of the studio since the early days?" Roy stopped Jack with a hand on his arm and said, "Let me tell you a story.

When Walt and I first started in business, we had a little studio on Vermont Avenue - really a storefront, with a gold-leaf sign on the front window reading 'Disney Brothers Productions.' As we prospered, we needed larger quarters and we found them in a building on Hyperion Avenue, close to our original store. One evening when Walt and I were discussing our move, Walt said to me, 'Roy, when we move to Hyperion, I'm going to have a large neon sign erected, reading "Walt Disney Studios, Home of Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies." He looked at me as if expecting an argument. I said, 'If that's the way you want it.' And Walt said, 'That's the way I want it and that's the way it will be!' And that's the way it was. So you see, Jack, I think it's a little late now, and besides, that's the way Walt would have wanted it." (Kinney, p.198)

Eisner, goes on in his stockholder speech to further turn on the legend:

"No one was more sensitive to change nor more attuned to its possibilities than Disney himself. I believe that Walt would take great pride in announcing with me today that our company has concluded an arrangement with George Lucas hose film-making innovations have created the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series of movie... I don't know if Walt would be more pleased with this announcement because George today comes closest to the creative level of Walt himself or because George as a child was there 39 years ago at the opening day of Disneyland.... In Disney's business the fundamental idea can apply to a motion picture, a Disney Channel, or network TV show, a new pavilion, a theme park attraction, or a merchandise offering" (lines 237-256; Boje, 1992).


The universal's here are the ways in which the story of Walt is reshaped by Eisner to fit his particular vision of Disney, the Corporation, is to react to change; how Disney the man, would have welcomed the creative genius of George Lucas; how Disney the spirit lives on in the merchandise. Eisner is like Gorbachev, reshaping the Marxian Grand Narrative to sent the Soviet Union down a new path. In Eisner's case, he is opening the doors of the Disney museum and letting new curators rearrange the exhibits. It is still the same story, but the base of participation is being widened by Eisner.

Walt had a universal vision of a vast empire in which his cartoons, characters, TV shows, and Films would culminate in the production of Disneyland theme Park. The theme park was based on Walt's vision of a small Midwestern town, the one Walt knew as a boy. Disneyland is Walt's archetype of an ideal American town. All facets of the Disney operation "synergized." The toons and movies produced the characters which became theme rides and exhibits and walking characters in the theme park. The TV show, movies, and toons told the Disney characters and the TV series sold the concept of a theme park.

To deconstruct Disney is to look at the stories that get marginalized by the official Disney legend: the account to Walt's founding story and his triumphs in animation, theme parks, and merchandising.

Essentialism. An essentialism, is similar to a universal, except that it is a micro theory, an appeal to a foundation essential of human character. We have seen several already, in the accounts of Eisner about Walt. Walt has the character to "accept the risk," "make the change" "act like a young man," "be the creative genius." These norms are held out to the flock.

If you read the lesser accounts of Walt, such as those of Kinney and Shows, then you hear Walt referred to as "Der Fuhrer" and "Mr. Fear." In the office art, one a set of drawings called "the Seven Faces of Walt" circulated (Kinney, p. 157) Walt was Simon Legree, Der Fuhrer, The Bountiful Angel, Mr Nice Guy, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Beezelbub the Devil, and of course Mickey Mouse (with a dollar sign as the s in mouse ("mou$e"). Jones (1991) has suggested that people tell these informal accounts when the strong ideation system of the organization does not allow for people to speak up about the oppression they are enduring.12

By most non-official accounts, Walt is said to have ruled with an iron fist. If you disagreed with Walt, you could get fired. If you broke a rule of Walt's you would be fired. Everything was owned by Walt Disney Productions. Walt was everything, including all people.

Frustrated by the noise of a lawn mower outside the conference room window... He opened it, and yelled at the top of his voice, "Shut off that goddamned machine and get the hell away from here, you stupid son-of-a-bitch!"

The roar of the power mower stopped abruptly. Once again, all was quiet. The Disney executives resumed their meeting.

Ten minutes later the session was interrupted again, by a phone call. It was Disney [Walt]. His tone was stern. He ordered Harry to come to his office "at once".

"Harry," Walt growled, appraising him, "I understand you just raised hell with one of my gardeners."

"I'm sorry, Walt," Harry shifted uneasily. "I guess I lost my cool."

Walt glared at him. "That old man has been with me twenty-two years," he snapped, "and if I ever hear of you cussing him out again --- I'll fire your ass!"

"I'm sorry, Walt," Harry murmured, shaken. "It won't happen again --- I promise." and he started toward the door.

But Walt stopped him in his tracks. "And another thing," he barked "Always remember this --- I'm the only son-of-a-bitch around this studio!" (Shows, p. 70)


Walt was very intense and moody and was not above using scare tactics in his meetings. He had strong likes and dislikes and held a grudge forever. What is interesting about this observation and the next story is the way in which the grand story of Disney and the public personification of Walt is the nice guy who made it big by being creative and enterprising. It is as if you are dealing with a family that is in denial, that they have a perfectionistic, workaholic addict that often uses temper to keep the family in line. Schaef (1987) has written about the ways in which organizations exhibit process addictions and behave much the same as substance-abuse families. 13 No matter what daddy does, tell the right cover (up) story to everyone. Look at the dysfunctional games below.

Walt roamed his domain with a hard-heeled stride that, along with his distinctive cough, warned us of his arrival. He'd crash through the door, stride to a chair, sit down, and tap his fingers on the arm until one of the guys grabbed a pointer and proceeded to tell the story.

He'd usually allow the guy to finish, then all the boys would hold their breath until he started talking. We studied him the way he studied the boards. If he coughed, you knew you'd lost his attention. A slow tap meant he was just thinking, but a fast tap meant he was loosing his cool... If you had something good, Walt usually said he liked it right out. Then everybody could relax and get on wit the meeting. Sometimes he could be very enthusiastic, and all the guys would fly high around the room and pitch in to use his suggestions for tightening the stuff up, then help move the boards into the director's room and into production.

If he didn't like it, he'd want to get out before any more money was spent. He'd stomp from the room, leaving the poor guys responsible with egg on their faces. (Kinney, p.151)


Suddenly I heard the unit door bang open, and with a few coughs, Walt made his appearance, quickly sitting in front of the boards and immediately starting to drum his fingers on the chair arm. This was a surefire tip that he was in one of his gorilla moods. Frowning at the empty chairs, he lit a cigarette and said, "Okay, Jack, let's get going. What are you waiting for?"

So I started telling the each of the various groups gathered, they realized that "man was in the forest" ( a line from Bambi) as they quietly seated themselves. (Kinney, p. 93)

Walt also made it a habit to keep his plans in his head, assemble each project part by part, team by team, while keeping central control. Walt moved animation away from a system of seasonal employment for skilled animators and in its place concocted a system of departments, production phases, and interorganizational contracts. Instead of a skilled craftsmen doing a job from story to drawings to inking to background, Walt split the production process into phases, put a department over each phase, appointed a department head, and in the end bureaucratized cartooning. In story meetings, Walt would listen to story plot ideas, give the OK to some and shelve the rest.

Walt was the king of his Sleeping Beauty Castle. Everyone that worked for Walt was his subject. It was a clean and tidy place, with a place fore everyone, and everyone kept in their place. Every element was pre-planned to be noncompetitive with every other element. Walt, by all accounts (Kinney, 1988; Shows, 1979) ruled by fear. There was not much middle management. It was the ideal flat structure with just enough layers to be efficient and to leave Walt in control.

Walt's Panoptic Gaze. In an organization that commodifies stories by buying up options for children's stories at low prices, putting the story through the Disney machine, and out-putting it as cartoons or movies, followed by merchandising, and then theme park exhibition, it is no surprise that storytelling is itself a valued commodity at Disney. Walt prefer "G" rated stories. But, Walt used the process of storytelling as a process of control.

It all began when Webb Smith, around 1931 pioneered the process of story boarding. Webb, it seems, was a hell of an artist, but a bit messy for Walt's taste. Webb had the nasty habit of sketching gag sequences instead of writing them down, and then tossing them in (to others) a rather confusing mess all over the floor of his office. To avoid Walt's penalties for being uncleanly, Webb took to pinning his sketches on the walls. Walt was initially quite furious: "the holes will ruin the walls, that I spent good money redecorating" (Schieckel, 1985: 148; Kinney, 1988: 62). Webb began pinning his rough sketches to 2 by 8 foot and later 4 by 6 foot boards. He could easily reposition the sketches until the continuity of the story scenes had been achieved. Scene backgrounds and dialogue could then be pinned to the sketches. Hundreds of drawings on Webb's storyboards would get repositioned until the story was ready for telling at a story meeting. The idea spread, with Walt's advocacy, and every story meeting, every project, and over the years every film, every them ride, every layout was story boarded. A group could work with the story board, perfect the story, and use the boards to coordinate production. Walt took the process a step further.



Walt's Gaze. Walt, it seems was an obsessive control snoop. He made it his habit to roam the halls at night so he could take a peek at the progress of every project in his domain. Unit managers ("straw bosses") would also snoop and run back and forth to report the progress of each project to Walt. Foucault (1977: 175-180) defines the panoptic gaze as a multiple, automatic, continuous, hierarchical, and anonymous power functioning in a network of relations from top to bottom, from bottom to top, as well as laterally to hold the enterprise together with no shade anywhere to hade from the eternal gaze. 15 Walt could roam his kingdom and literally gaze his empire's projects through the story boards and thereby look at the workings of each departmental cell. Biographies, such as Kinney's report that Disney people learned to internalize the gaze. They would behave as if Walt had actually visited last night, inspected what they were doing, and was getting ready to raise hell. Foucault refers to this internalized gaze as Bertham's Principle: power should be visible and unverifiable (p. 203). Actually Disney's was a less than perfect cage of subjection. People knew the signs to look for to discern Walt's gazing rituals. If Walt had come in the night, then Chesterfield cigarette butts would be everywhere since Walt was a chain smoker. Walt could also not resist messing with the boards.

As mentioned above, Walt had a stenographer record story meetings. A typical story performance session could last from one to three hours and involve as many as twenty people. Walt not only gazed the story plots for sellability, he assessed the neatness of the boards. Kinney's (1988) story of Walt's leadership style gives us insight into how Walt had constructed his cartoon machine. Before reading the story, I need to insert that what is postmodern about this story of Walt, is that we are getting one of the very few glimpses of the non-official story of Walt. Kinney is a marginalized character at Disney, an artist who does not get to sign his own work, by his account someone paid less than fair market value for art that is sold for millions. A single frame of a thousand frame cartoon drawn by Jack Kinney now commands thousands of dollars. In looking at Kinney's story, we are deconstructing Walt and Disney's side of the Disney monologue.

Eisner's Gaze is the Script. Instead of storyboard sessions, there are now script meetings. Instead of a visual blueprint, there is a written narrative blueprint. The difference being the script is not quite the control mechanism that the storyboard system was. Walt could walk the corridors of his empire and visually examine the progress of each department by inspecting their storyboards. The script is not so perfect a cage as a network of storyboards in every aspect of the empire. Storyboards give more surveillance opportunities than scripts. Storyboards also give more direct control over production by a central leader. Walt could control and monitor the juxtaposition of dialogue, music, scene design, and scene sketching.

Table 5.6:


The Storyboard Gaze

The Script Gaze

1. Animators drive the story process.

2. Plot gets re-worked in sessions as Walt tells the story to get it ready for an audience.

3. Characters get re-developed with/input in story sessions.

4. Sequence re-worked to improve continuity and gags.

5. Control over one department to the next in the chain of production.

6. Focus on final visual impact of the customer.

7. Plot is in Walt's mind, not available for debate.

8. Pace and continuity of action is tightened in pre-planning sessions before they go to full production.

1. Writers drive the story process.

2. Plot is in tact.

3. Character left in tact with little input.

4. Sequence left in tact and gags left in tact.

5. Control by Script team at get go, then delegated to production people.

6. Customer focus. How will customers go for it?

7. Plot is in the script.

8. Dialogue is tightened as the production progresses.





Story Man. People in the story department, mostly men, were called "story men." Story men had their own story telling styles. Kinney catalogued four styles: cool, violent, emotional, and irreverent.

Table 5.7:


Four Storyman Styles

Cool Style

Each guy had is own style of presenting. Some tried to "cool" approach, "acting a wee bit above it all" but that was really just a cover-up for incompetence. The best story guys could act up a story, laugh uproariously at their favorite gags, and outshout everyone, while using a wooden pointer to emphasize the main elements.

Violent Style

Roy Williams added his own nuances with the "violent approach," kicking the boards and beating them to bits while he told the story. That was crazy to watch. He always had us in the palm of his hand just like a used-car salesman.

Emotional Style

Then there was the "emotional approach," typified by Homer Brightman. Homer was a real ham actor. One time he made a particularly dramatic exit with the line "...quack, quack, quack." One of the boys got up and locked the door after him. He left him banging on the door and broke for lunch.

Irreverent Style

It was Mike's debut in front of all the hard-nosed, experienced story guys. His story starred Donald Duck and Pluto. Mike took his position in front of the eight-by-four foot storyboards filled with continuity drawings and a hush fell over the assembled group...

"Well, we open on Donald Duck's house, it's early morning. The f___in' sun's just peekin' over another f___in' rooster, and boids atart whistlin'. A cat yowls, Pluto wakes up an' starts chain' the goddam cat, leaps outta bed maddr'n a goddam harnit. He trips over a pair of shoes and falls on his ass, then the f___in' tree, raisin' hell with that f___in' cat. Then the f___in' duck runs on, at ol' Pluto, his f___in' underwear, a goddam nightshirt, anna lotta socks and other f___in' stuff, the f___in' duck gets hisself all f___ed up with all the goddam clothes offa the f___in' line an' he trips an' falls on his f___in' ass again..."

The guys are now laughing up a hurricane at Mike's recitation.

"Hold i!" yells Dave [the Manager], over the uproar. "Hold it!! Mike, hold it," he shouts.

Mike stops and says: "What the f___ for, I'm just gettin' started!"

"Yeah," says Dave, "but you can't tell a story like that!"

"Why the f___in' hell not?" says Mike.

"You gotta clean up your dialogue," Dave answers. "Walt won't hold still for you referring to Donald as "that f___in' duck."..... [Adapted from Kinney, p. 63-5]


1. Style. Each style has a distinct story performance style and relationship between teller and audience.

2. Supervision. During the ritual storyboard events, there was a supervisor approval process that depended up the story man's story performance skills.

3. Formality. The storytelling style was less formal when Walt was not around, and more formal when he was present. Story men did not insult the Duck or the Mouse when Walt was around.

4. Circulating Fear Stories. Walt took actions that circulated stories of fear throughout his kingdom. The story's recipe was: if you do things Walt's way, you are treated like royalty by Walt. If you cross him or break the rules, then you are gone. People did things the way they heard that Walt would want them done.

5. Walt after Death. After his death, people shared stories about Walt to answer the central question: "What would Walt have done?" Then people would recount a story of how Walt had responded to an analogous situation. In fact, training for new cast members at the Disney Theme Parks is informally handled by a mentor. After a brief tour of the facility, the mentor tells stories. And, who could argue with these stories. After Walt's death revenues increased by 230 percent and profits by 285 percent.

6. Sequencing. In the case of rides, the storyboard unfolded the ride like the sequences in a toon. A set of pre-planned visual events where the audience is the camera moving on rails through the events of the story line as they walk or are carried through the theme park. You walk up Main Street (the Midwestern Town scene) then your eye catches sight of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Reaching the Castle, at the center of the park, the themes are arranged clockwise around the castle tower: Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. A railroad, monorail, and other rides are the take the visitor from one setting to the next, in a sequence that tells Walt's story, unfolded in the very design of the park as a whole. It is a calculated sequence of visual events.

7. Harmony. Taylor, Mayo, Skinner and other utopians had their vision of how to create harmony between the individual and the organization. Walt's harmony was fashioned on a story board as a set of continuity sketches to perfect his particular vision of a corporate structure. Walt deconstructed and reconstructed the continuity of each project in his empire by storytelling and story boarding. He had a sense of harmony that was pleasing to the common man and revolting to intellectuals. Each action, each sketch, each voice contributed directly to the whole design. There was no clutter, no waste, and there was a place for everything and everything and every body was in their place.

8. Leadership through Quality. Walt's production machine was fabricated quality products and services.

9. Storytelling as Inquiry. For example, as Michael Eisner tells his story, he is making sense of how the pieces fit together. He is culling the stories of Roy Jr. and other Disney people to find out what is going on at Disney. Why does it not make sense to him? Eisner is using his story as an inquiry system to discover that the script is in the mind of Walt and Walt is no longer here. Eisner and his recruit: Katzenberg use scripts to discuss, select, and then product stories.


Mr. Fear Story

Once upon a time the MiniScribe Corporation, a computer disk-drive manufacturer, hired Mr. Q.T. Wiles to be their CEO. Everyone was so afraid of Q.T. that they faked financial statements and went through hell to falsify sales and inventory records.

"In one instance, the company shipped bricks to distributors and marked them down as computer component sales. In another, repackaged scrap metal and obsolete parts were made to appear to be new products." 16

For division managers, their life depended upon reaching the goals set by Q.T.

Dash Meetings Q.T. held court in his "dash meetings." "At one of the first such meetings he attended says a former division manager, Mr. Wiles demanded that two controllers stand, and then he fired them on the spot, saying to everyone, "That's just to show everyone I'm in control of the company."


"At each dash meeting, division managers had to present and defend their "dash books," Mr Wile's term for business plans that had to conform to a set formula. Invariably Mr. Wiles would find such plans deficient and would berate their authors in front of their peers. A former controller said Mr. Wiles would throw, kick and rip dash books that displeased him, showering his intimidated audience with paper while yelling, "Why don't you understand how to do this?"

Q.T. and the executives he brought with him to run MiniScribe became known as "the VC" derived from "venture capitalists."

"Basically," a former MiniScribe accountant says, "Q.T. was saying, "This is the number we want to hit first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and so on, and it was amazing to see how close they could get to the number they wanted to hit."

...On one occasion, an analyst relates, it shipped more than twice as many disk drives to a computer manufacturer as had been ordered... the excess shipment was worth about $9 million.

..."Everyone wanted to do good by Q.T.," says a customer representative, describing how division reports would be doctored as they rose from one bureaucratic level to the next.

Before long, the accounting gimmickry became increasingly brazen. Division managers were told to "force the numbers," ... one division controller ... quit when ordered by a vice president to lie about financial results. In this tense atmosphere, wild rumors abounded. Workers whispered that bricks were being shipped just so a division could claim to have met its quota. Others joked that unwanted disk drives were being shipped and returned so often that they had to be repackaged because the boxes were wore out."

..."It was almost like a fraternity party, with everybody huddling together to figure out how to keep the house dad from knowing what was going on."

Q.T.'s Denial The house dad may not have wanted to know. After investigators showed him several memos that had been distributed at a meeting he attended, Mr. Wiles acknowledged that they "indicated the opposite of what he had previously been told." He denied having seen them and noted that if he had seen one particular memo, "he would have certainly read it as saying 'somebody's cheating.'"

After the scam was exposed, stocks dropped from $15 a share to $3 a share. Before the news broke, MiniScribe executives collectively sold 350,000 shares.

As the story goes, Q.T. "abruptly resigned, telling board members that the company's problems were far more pervasive than he had realized."


Deconstruction Points.

1. Addicted System. An addicted system is an addict (Q.T. Wiles) and an entourage of co-dependents (the executives and managers of MiniScribe). Addictive systems always have these two components: addict and co-dependents.

2. Illusion of Control. Q.T. tried to control by fear in order to stay in control. His "Dash Reports" were designed to do the Gaze, to monitor and control the executive's performance. But, the co-dependent, executives just told Q.T. what he wanted to hear.

3. White Male Myths: Q.T. was a God and everyone else was his subject. There was no women's reality, no accounting story, no black reality. There was only Q.T. reality. 16

Myth # 1. The White Male System is the only thing that exists. Q.T. was the only person who understood reality.

Myth # 2. The White Male System is innately superior. Anyone not using Q.T.'s system was innately inferior.

Myth # 3. The White Male System knows and understands everything. Anything outside Q.T.'s system did not exist.

Myth # 4. It is possible to be totally logical, rational, and objective. Q.T. believed by being fearful people would reach the numbers.


4. Process Addiction. What kind of addict was Q.T. By all accounts he is addicted to work and addicted to his own system of fear. These are process addictions as opposed to substance addictions. Like any addiction, the addict lives in a perpetual state of denial, compulsive-perfectionism, dependency, and crisis. The role of his co-dependents is to keep everything all right by perpetuating the denial even if it means deception, lies, and loss of self. 17

Leadership Archetypes. An archetype is a characterization, a metaphor, a story theme that frames relationships. For example, Q.T. Wiles archetype was "V.C." (Viet Cong) because of his system of fear and dependency. Walt Disney has many archetypes in his stories: from rags to riches, Gestapo, to fear. Michael Eisner's archetype is the Prince in the Sleeping Beauty theme. Eisner rescued Sleeping Beauty from the Mouse Museum and with the help of the princely Bass Brothers from Texas drove away the evil take-over knight. Sleeping Beauty got some new rides. Eisner brought in George Lucas and other geniuses to once again do the Disney Magic. The Disney magic is a package approach to marketing. You do a film with Speilberg like Roger Rabbit. Then you franchise the dolls, build the theme rides, and fold the characters into the park. You bring in Michael Jackson and create Captain EO. They are working on folding all aspects of "Honey, I shrunk the Kids" into the Disneyrama.

Keep the notion of the hero's archetypes (good or bad hero) in mind in the next stories.


Modernist Leadership in the Edison Utility

SCENE One: Carbon Copy Heroes and Customer Service Rediscovered. In this next part of the transcript, I ask the group about corporate heroes.

Boj "Who are the heroes of Edison?

Mike "We don't have any strong heroes, if anything it is a hero committee that makes the decisions.

Rich "If anything the hero is a faded image, an image that has been photocopied too many times.

Doug "I think wherever Watson went, Wood would ever go. He would probably do the same things that he did at IBM. But, I guess I go back to the old line company. Maybe its not a person, but its a square-dealing, courteous treatment thing that we tattooed on our wall. What is it? Square dealing, courteous treatment and (pause)

Mike "I always forget the third part.

Rich "Good Service.

Mike "Ok, then its the courteous treatment I always forget {lots of sustained group laughter at this inside joke)... they used to have these great big signs you know? Square dealing, courteous treatment, and good service. You know? And I dare say, the company does pride itself on that still. And there is nothing wrong with that. That's good.

Boj "What about the heroes?"

Doug "Its the legendary officers, each one of them, a carbon copy of the one before that kind of define the company.

Boj "It's interesting that there is no hero. No, there is no person now you would define as hero.


Rich "But follow the carbon copies. You get the eighteenth generation carbon and you loose resolution.

Mike "You loose some of the clarity of the image (said with humorous tone)

[Group chimes in many voices in many ways to say "Right, I think that's it."]

Rich "And [still laughter in group] I don't know about the real early leaders, but to come up with a third of a slogan that says "square dealing" that's faded to me.

Mike "Yeah.

Rich "And although we may try to apply the principles of what we are saying. I don't know that any employee would say those three things with a straight face.

Mike "Rich, notice how we laugh.

Doug "There's the customer too. It's not that I'm a square dealer with you Rich, but I am a square dealer with the customer. That's the company motto or credo was that--- dealing with the customer, good service, square dealing --- but, that doesn't mean we, but that's what you're talking about.

Mike "In effect, in the last couple of years they've made a big effort to go back to that original motto. Remind everybody to put out statements like corporate goals. That sort of sign that some people feel that people have forgotten about it --- that was the way we did it...

Boj "Hum, I'm sort of intrigued with the hypothesis that maybe we've Xeroxed too many copies and the image has gotten a little diffused.

Doug "That's a goodie.

Mike "Because the leadership of this company is really truly a corporate body, not an individual. Mr. G., they say, rules with an iron hand in a very subtle way. I don't believe that entirely. Because I think this operation is so immense, so massive and so diverse that it can't be headed by one person anymore than a government can and I think that as CEO we have statesmen. As president we have politician. And both of them are superb at that and they are not in the same body. Up in there we have a couple of financial geniuses, at least one, which the other statesmen and the politician aren't. And the company is structurally organized for participative management. Even right from the top. We have a management committee. I don't think they function as a team.

Doug "But they still function as a committee.

Mike "They function as a committee but not as a team in an interpersonal way. And a lot of the stories that I hear in my work --- you know --- are the interpersonal you know? Unfortunate games that get played at that level and they are very costly.

SCENE Two: Revising the System Reproduces the Same System.

Rich "If you wanted to do a content analysis of this little book (he had gone next door to get the history book of Edison sometime after discussion of the faded motto started) It would tell you something about the values of the company. This is our management guide. This [is] a credo, the corporate philosophy. First edition, 1956, and it has been revised five or six times since then.

Doug "Every time there is a new president.

Boj "They revise it?

Mike "But nothing changes.

Doug "Nothing changes! (with emphasis on the word nothing) {lots of group laughter ensues].





Leaders are weak carbon copies

Follow the carbon copies, to the 18th generation

They are a corporate body, not individual heroes

It is a committee, not a team

The top is a committee, not one strong hero

Our motto has lost its resolution, its faded, too many copies.

We must recover, rediscover, find --- our motto

Summary. As we began looking at modernist leaders such as Patterson of NCR, Walt Disney, and Q.T. Wiles, we found very forceful and authoritarian leaders who ruled their organizations with a controlling hand. As the modernist era became increasingly bureaucratic, leaders like Ron Miller of Disney and the carbon copy leaders of Edison Utility were not nearly as swashbuckling and decisive or pivotal. They were more the manager-types, stuck a top a pyramid, part of the panoptic strings and levers that is the bureaucratic machine, but far less impactful on changing the rules or the game. We think that this transition to carbon copy leaders, with less heroic journeys, has become the role model and prescription for too much of today's writing on leadership, as well as the sacred text of traditional management texts.



The Journey via Storytelling. Leaders lead us on the journey. They tell the story of how life will be when we reach the next port, cross the next bridge, and win the next battle. We see ourselves on the ocean tacking and hauling canvas; we see ourselves laying the planks for the bridge; we see ourselves gathering the hay to feed the horses, polishing the armor, and mounting our steeds to head for the battle field. The leader is the storyteller of our future. We see ourselves playing valuable roles in some realizable future. Gifted leaders are able to see how diverse, talented, and unique people can have supporting story lines that contribute to the grand vision. The leader does not mount a stage and walk to the microphone to convince in a few minutes, with a few home spun phrases, an entire organization to tackle the next mountain. Each day, each meeting, each golf game, each drive is an opportunity to get one person's story line in the open and figure out how it will contribute to his own campaign. Instead of cloning, he is diverging. Instead of taming, she is unleashing. Instead of manipulating, he is understanding. Instead of preaching, he is listening. They are co-producing the story line that will bring the future into the present. Together, they go off on the hero's journey.

Two legendary organizational story tellers are Sam Walton of Walmart and Fredrick C. Crawford of TRW. Both were spellbinders. Crawford was self-effacing with his success. "I could never fully accept the fact that I was head of a business. It seemed a mistake. I know people in their forties are supposed to be serious and grown up, but I never felt that way. That's why I love stories." 18

Jack Welch, CEO, of General Electric is another accomplished storyteller. Bob observed Welch in the Pit-lecture-hall at the Management Development Institute. Welch could not only captivate the audience for hours with his stories of speed, simplicity and self-confidence but was also adept at drawing out stories from the listeners. The dialogue became a real working session.

When John Thorbeck assumed the presidency of Bass Shoe Company in 1987 he recognized the value of stories in the 111 year old company. He began resurrecting stories about George Henry Bass, who founded the company in 1876 and about the shoes made for Admiral Byrd and Charles Lindberg. He also hired an archivist to put together a company history. By identifying the company's personality, values, and idiosyncrasies, he would then try to match them with new market realities. The archivist uncovered a loyal work force who closely associated with the hallmark of quality of the original Bass family. There was, in short, a set of historical organizational values that could be used to make a whole framework out of manufacturing, marketing, sales, and accounting. 19


The Leader's Role in Diversity Storytelling. What kills diversity is not knowing the stories of others who are different from you, who think different from you, who act different from you. The leader's job is to get other people to learn stories about diversity. People fear and do not trust what they do not apprehend. Stories are windows into the differences that make people unique and the similarities that derive from being on the same planet. Before people can celebrate and value diversity, they have to hear the stories. Leaders need to evaluate people on their understanding of diversity. The best thing the leader can do is clear away some bureaucracy to create some space where the storytellers can do their educational thing. Report the successes that come from diverse teams of folks getting a new idea to market, toppling an obstacle to performance, finding a synergistic path to quality. Stories get people past their entrenched opposition and their distrust for differences. The leader's job is to increase diversity by creating story sharing times.

Servant Leadership. To summarize what we know this far from our chapter sections on planning, organizing, and influence ---- the postmodern organization will be a network with many nodes, flatter than before, more skilled than its bureaucratic predecessor. The periphery will consist of many semi-autonomous working units, there will be a high proportion of minorities, and there will be an equal mix of males and females. What will leadership look like in a postmodern setting?

Postmodern leadership is usually defined in terms of telling a "vision" of the future to teams of people, empowered to achieve that vision. 20 We would like to expand the postmodern concept of leadership by looking at servanthood and networking as leadership constructs.

De-Differentiation. One answer is that it will not be Theory X, like Walt, nor will it by the Theory Y of Human Relations theory. The answer lies in de-differentiating people and their leaders. De-differentiating means getting rid of status differences. That includes privileged parking, separate dining and washrooms, and glutinous salaries. Why should executives in the US be the most highly paid in all the world, while they lay off more people than their lower paid counterparts in Japan, West Germany, and Sweden? Leaders are farthest away from the productive action of the firm, and have all the privileges and make all the money too. De-differentiation means moving the worker closer to the leader. Let the worker plan, organize, influence, control, and even lead. Lessen the manager's authoritarian monopoly. This means training and skilling the worker to think. De-differentiation is a re-balancing of power between leader and follower. The leader gets a little less status, money and managerial prerogative. The worker gets a little more.

Servanthood. After de-differentiation, the next task is servanthood. The role of the leader will be to serve customers by serving the people in the network of relationships. Peter Drucker and Tom Peters both advocate that the purpose of business is to create and to maintain a customer. One of the silent customers is the environment. The role of the leader is to empower people to make a value-added difference for the customer. The servant leader pays attention to customers, supplier, people at the core, and people at the periphery.

The servant leader is setting an example. Being courteous to customers requires being courteous to people. If the network is customer focused, then the leader puts the customers and the peoples interests ahead of his or her own. In the age of Michael Milken and Mr. Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan, this is a radical ethic. These leaders sought to be served and to serve themselves, not to serve the interests of others.

In Matthew 20:26 the verse reads "whoever would be first among you must be your servant." The concept of servant leader has therefore existed since the time of Christ. The servant leader does not take maximum bonus for him/herself when the people are being laid off, as in the case of Chrysler's Lee Iaccoca.

Those customers, vendors, and network workers affected by a decision should participate. Instead, the status leaders seek to impose their will on others, to "lord if over them." In pre-modern times, the sovereign ruler ruled over the people. In modern times, the bureaucratic manager lead from a position of authority. The military leaders issued commands that were to be obeyed without question. The recent books on leadership by Bennis and Nanus (1985) and Peters (1987) advocate that leaders communicate a vision that inspires people to follow, rather than relying on orders, commands, rules, and rights. In the postmodern networks, the leader will not have the power to coerce that s/he has enjoyed these past centuries. The vision must be attractive and reasonable and inspiring to the participants in the network. Without vision the people perish; without vision the network perishes. The job of the leader is to help people in the network fashion the vision that will take them forward. Vision gives order to the transition to the future. Vision lets people focus on what needs to be changed. This duality is expressed by Whitehead:


The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.

- Alfred North Whitehead



Precision Lenscrafters Story

Precision Lenscrafter, a division of the United States Shoe Corporation, opened its first store in 1983. Since then it has gone to grow over 250 stores throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico and is quickly becoming the number one super-optical in this country. The guiding theme of Lenscrafters is complete customer satisfaction. Not only are the highest quality lenses and frames guaranteed, but a commitment to make the glasses in about one hour provides the basis for customer service. This common goal is attained through the joint efforts of the Lenscrafters associates including: frame stylists, cashiers, lab technicians and opticians, all coordinated under the General Manager (GM). The GM of the store #153 in Yonkers is a Mr.Smith.


On an average Saturday, in a 11 hour period, store #153 can have as many as 75-100 jobs to complete. On hectic days like these, the one-hour service is put vigorous test and tensions occasionally flare among customers and associates alike. The one hour service, working on the basis of an assembly line, is very affected by unpredicted absences. On Saturday two lab technicians called in sick leaving four to do the work of six. By 2:00 p.m. the store was filled with customers expecting to receive their glasses in one hour. One customer, an elderly lady with a very high bifocal prescription, had her frame and lenses sent into the lab at 3:00 p.m.. The frame stylist failed to realize that due to the help shortage the job may be delayed. The lady, returning at 4:00 p.m., grew quite irate when she learned her glasses were not started yet. An argument broke out between the frame stylist and the lab technicians which resulted in all jobs being put on hold. The one hour service was thrown into disarray. Mr. Smith witnessing the growing hostility in the lab, rushed in to resolve the conflict. He stated that arguing would not get the glasses done and that they all should calm down. The lab was under a lot of pressure and in desperate need of assistance with the jobs. Mr. Smith put on a lab coat and started cutting lenses in addition to working on the floor dispensing eyewear. Using his laboratory skills he made and dispensed the elderly lady's difficult prescription in 45 minutes. Although quite upset at first, she grew very satisfied when she witnessed the personal care and attention received.

Later that evening when the crowds diminished and everyone was a bit more relaxed, Mr. Smith held a store meeting. He congratulated the lab on its efforts to keep up the one hour service even when they were short handed. In order to avoid a similar situation in the future all frame stylists were told to inform the lab on any more difficult jobs so a proper completion time can be passed to the customer. Mr. Smith also proposed an idea of cross-training associates. Lab technicians would be taught selling techniques and customer service while frame stylists would be trained basic lab skills as cutting and grinding, This way a shortage in the lab or on the floor would be avoided by utilizing idle labor.


1. Vision. Smith articulated his vision of the eyewear production from choosing the frame to dispensing the final product.

2. Servant. He was servant to the network by coordinating the activities of frame stylists, cashiers, lab technicians, and opticians.

3. Networker. He acts as liaison between the lab and the floor to insure one hour service.

4. Empowers. To anticipate problems, closer links were drawn between the frame stylists and lab technicians.

5. Team-builder. Cross-training of lab technicians and frame stylists would provide complementary skills.

6. Voyager. The leader must voyage into the network, visit all its participants, and listen to what is going on. The servant works with the people on the firing line, at the point of contact with the customer, and the people that are adding value to the customer's products and services. As the leader encounters the vital point in the network, s/he learns what makes the network work, instead of assuming that s/he knows what makes it work, or worse, that what made it work last year is what will make it work effectively this year.


New York Stock Exchange Story.

The scene is downtown Manhattan-Wall street to be exact. Mr. Gallo is walking towards his office from the subway station. On the way, he stops to talk to Jerry Campbell, a construction superintendent, about a job that has recently been completed. It is Mr. Gallo's responsibility to see that all constructions projects for the New York Stock Exchange are architecturally sound since he is both a project manager and a licensed architect for the corporation.

At the office, he begins to make arrangements for a meeting at Metrotech with representatives from SIAC and the NYSE. A few months ago, Mr. Fearon, V.P. for Recovery and Planning conceived the idea of having a contingency trading site for the NYSE. This site would need to be totally independent of trading floor on Wall Street. Since Mr. Fearon did not have a strong background with projects of this magnitude, he was forced to rely upon the skills of others. For all practical purposes, the job of finding a site was given to Mr. Gallo.

After a great deal of consideration, Mr. Gallo found the Metrotech building to be a suitable site. The only problem was that the building already had an existing tenant. The Securities Industry Automation Corp. (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE was already established in the building. SAIC was resistant because there was nothing for them to gain and they stand to lose approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of office space and control over their electric, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and telephone systems.


There has not only been a problem with the terms of the proposal, but also with the way the negotiations were being handled. Due to his lack of experience, Mr. Fearon has hindered the progress of the project. Instead of holding group meeting with the outside architectural firm, engineering firm, construction consultant and Mr. Gallo, Mr. Fearon had held his own separate meetings with the individual parties where he was unable to work effectively and efficiently. Mr. Gallo has since brought the team together. He has brought all of the outside consultants together with the representatives from SIAC and the NYSE to try and come to a compromise. Through these meetings, SIAC has come to the realization that the NYSE is going to follow through on their projects. SIAC is not entirely pleased with the arrangement, but they have agreed to work with the NYSE in accomplishing their goal.


1. Servant. Gallo successfully coordinated the activities of the consultants, SIAC, and NYSE.

2. Networker. A deteriorating situation was turned around by deft interpersonal skills.

3. Vision. Gallo has a clear picture of the final outcome and facilitated the final outcome.

4. Team-builder. SIAC is a reluctant participant, but it showed sufficient commitment to work with the other members.

5. Celebrator. Celebrate successful customer service, successful product improvement, successful cost savings, and failure. People need to be celebrated for taking a risk, trying something out, finding out what does not work.


I work at a men's clothing store in the Galleria Mall in White Plains. The majority of our clothing consists of finer men's clothes and suits, on which we offer expert tailoring at no additional charge. In front of the store there is a sign which reads "Instant Pants" - referring to our better dress pants which all have unfinished bottoms and require tailoring. The tailoring is done right on the premises and our tailor, Alex Hernandez, ranks among the best in his field. Our objective is complete customer service and satisfaction.

On an average day, the tailor does approximately six to eight of these "Instant Pants" while the customer waits. In addition to this, Alex has other suits and garments sold previously and promised for specific days. A day filled with several requests for pants-while-you-wait, therefore, can hinder the already promised work and set the tailor behind schedule.


One particular Sunday a customer came into the store to pick up a suit which he was to wear that same day at a wedding. After the customer tried the suit on, it was obvious the pants were substantially mismarked and far too short. Alex does not work on Wednesday or Sunday, which presented a big problem. The customer demanded the pants to be either replaced or re-altered. We assured him that the situation would be rectified as soon as possible yet explained there was no tailor available on a Sunday. The customer referred to the "Instant Pants" sign out front and demanded an explanation. At the bottom of the sign it read, in considerably smaller letters, "almost always". By this time the customer became quite irate and an argument broke out between the customer and the salesman. At this time Jerry Aaron, the store manager, witnessing the growing hostility rushed over to attempt to resolve the conflict. Jerry took the pants downstairs to Field Brothers, a competitive store, to see if their tailor would help him out and correct the bottoms in time for the gentlemen to attend his wedding. As it turns out Field Brothers does not have a tailor on Sunday's either, but their store manager is trained to perform simple alterations such as plain bottoms on pants. Understanding the predicament Jerry was in Field Brothers corrected bottoms.

The following day Jerry contacted our district manager Ed Dobson and informed him of the transactions which transpired the previous day. Ed agreed that cross-training the store manager and assistant manager to perform simple alterations on pants would help dissolve many conflicts which arise. Very often customers who need pants while they wait are turned away on Wednesday and Sunday and hiring a part time tailor for those two days would prove to be rather expensive.

In this particular business, the tailor shop's relationship with the sales crew is extremely important. One cannot function without the other. Ed congratulated Jerry and the staff on their efforts to maintain customer service during this rather unpleasant incident. In order to avoid a similar situation in future, the manager and assistant manager were taught to perform simple alterations using the blind stitch machine. The task is not difficult and would be limited to situations when customer service is threatened. Discussions are still in process regarding the validity of the "Instant Pants" sign and the repercussions of having "almost always" in such small print.


1. Servant. Jerry knew that the customer should be served. He took the unusual step of using a competitor's facility to accomplish the feat.

2. Empowers. Jerry did not hesitate to do the right thing. Ed Dobson had set a climate for the proper activity.

3. Recognition. Ed congratulated the team for their superior performance under adverse conditions.

4. Beaming. The staff congratulated itself for outstanding customer service.




The Third Dimension of Power. Steven Lukes (1974) defines it as the power to shape perceptions, cognitions and even preferences in ways which promote the interests of one group over another. People are complicit in their own oppression and accept the status quo; some groups are even aware of the their oppression over other groups of people. In pre-modern times one groups subordination to another group was ordained by God. In modern times it is merely survival of the fittest. The advancement of these claims by one group versus another is itself an exercise of power.

The new leader. The new leader cultivates uniqueness and diversity. Each person is the hero of their own journey and the leader's role is to help each person along their individual journey. Rather than put people into normalized categories, find out unique ways each person can serve customers and add value. Clear the field of bureaucratic barriers so each individual can assert their uniqueness. Jack Welch of GE claims that leaders have a passion for excellence and hate bureaucracy and as well as all other nonsense that comes with it. 21 Help everyone tell their story in a way that gains respectability in the organizational community. Give them their voice, rather than having them mimic the bureaucratic monologue.

The leader's role is to get the person's success story broad casted. The system adapts to its heros. The leader can find the heroes that others in the system need to model. Get the individuals to tell their story. Xerox, once a year has "Team Xerox" day. Teams of innovating people, who have innovated, improved quality, fashioned a new service, saved money --- are brought on stage and televised to Xerox audiences around the world. Each team tells its success story and receives the attention of everyone at Xerox.



Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968 )

"I Have A Dream"


... I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.":

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that: let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.


When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!" (Civil Rights demonstration, Washington, D.C., in 1963).


1. Vision. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a vision for America. A vision is a story of the future that empowers people to take action. His vision was persuasive. It recommends a particular course of action.

2. Equality. Aristotle wrote, "Equality consists in the same treatment of similar persons."


Symbolize Vision

Persuade Change

Point to Values & Priorities

Point to Precedents




Telling them

Hearing them

Crafting them (by priority; by vision; by policy) (Storyboarding)

Scripting new heroes

Systematic Collection

Assessing: "What is the story around here?"

Control over your own storyline (Role & Destiny)

Revisionism (New slant to history)

New positioning of stories that support change


General George S. Patton

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.22


Donald Peterson at Ford

Leading By Listening & Empowering

As the story goes, in 1980, there was an unannounced visit to the automotive design center and the visitor tapped design chief Jack Telnack on the shoulder.


"You're a professional designer. You're far and away the most knowledgeable person there is about what we ought to do," the visitor said. "Do you like these cars? Do you feel proud of them? Would you park one of these cars in your driveway?"

Telnack wasn't quite sure what to make of it. You see, the visitor was Donald Peterson, the company's president and chief operating officer. At first, Telnack was tempted to stand by he company's plan. But he saw an honesty in Peterson's inquisitive face that he couldn't ignore .

"Actually, no, I don't like these designs," Telnack told him.

Peterson granted Telnack a few weeks to come up with a new model. Telnack sketched the kind of car he'd personally love to own - a sleek, aerodynamic model with features similar to the European styling found in Mercedes-Benz's and BMW's. Telnack didn't realize it at the time, but the sketch he had just made... Ford Taurus, destined to become the best-selling midsize care in the United States.

"That one conversation turned everything around," says Telnack. 23



1. Empower. Don Peterson empowered Telnack to do the design he wanted without worrying about bureaucratic B.S. Telnack already knew how to design a better car. He just need to be empowered to self-define his job.

2. Listen. Don Peterson heard Telnack's story. He diagnosed the story and the rest is Taurus history.

3. De-bureaucratize. If you know Ford, you know that the designer is at the mercy of bureaucratic review and monitor and approval committees. Peterson cut through all that by making Telnack the champion of the new design. The enemy is not the Japanese flexible manufacturing system, it the American bureaucratic pyramid!

4. Leadership by Dialogue. Peterson's simple conversation was transformational because it opened the door to moving out of the pyramid and into team work.

5. Customers. Telnack was thinking like a customer.

6. Servant. Peterson got out of his office and went down to the trenches to see how he could serve his people. A servant asks other how to improve the job, how to make things better, how to become more successful. The people doing the work know more than the high-priced experts.

7. Implement Suggestions. By 1984 employees of Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz made 666 suggestions and implements three fourths of them (p. 76). It is not as impressive as Toyota's hundreds of thousands of suggestions with 95% implemented, but it is a damn good start.

Peterson & Deming

After watching a TV documentary on what Deming did for Japan after World War II, Peterson spent the next five months trying to convince Deming to visit Ford.

"Deming wouldn't come until Peterson got on the phone and assured him that he personally would listen to what Deming had to say. When Deming arrived in January 1981, he went straight to Peterson's office. What he offered was a statistical system that ensured that products would be built right the first time - without defects that would have to be repaired afterward... What he preached was "continuous improvement."

... In meetings at Ford he came on strong, ridiculing management for what they'd done to Ford employees. Deming says that 80 percent of quality problems are caused not by hourly workers but by poor management" (p. 79-81).



Networking Leadership. Clegg (1990) thinks Japan has postmodern organizations because their structure is more flexible and flatter (in number of layers) than the Western model. Further the ringi-ko decision making structure focuses on wide participation and consensus processes. The networking of suppliers, enterprise, and government is part of network leadership in Japan (zibatsu). Japanese workers trust their leaders to make decisions for the benefit of the enterprise which will also benefit the people of that enterprise.


Postmodern Japan. A post-Weberian and post-Fordist rationality is in place in Japan. Where Japan falls short is in the restricted role of women in Japan and in the U.S. the restricted role of minorities. Women and minorities attain only the more peripheral leadership positions. In that peripheral position skills and wages are less than in core (central) positions. Japan has gone beyond Fordism (modernism) by reintegrating the workers' skill, knowledge and creative thinking back into the production process.

Flexible manufacturing system While Japan uses flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) to produce niche products the U.S. uses FMS to further control the worker. While Japan is using FMS to produce a higher variety of output in many niches, the U.S. is using FMS to produce larger batches of standardized products with de-skilled workers (Clegg, 1990: 213). According to case studies by Shaiken, Herzenberg and Kuhn (1986) FMS is being used to diminish worker autonomy and responsibility for planning. In Japan, workers are part of multi-skilled work teams using KAIZEN systems to continuously improve production processes. The U.S. is still using the modernist strategy of using capital to buy fancy robotics as a way of getting rid of skilled workers so they can show short term profit.

Building Worker Skill While West German auto production has focused on building worker skill and increasing their participation, the U.S. auto industry has de-skilled the auto worker. According to Clegg's (1990: 215-216) review of West German organization studies, the automotive, machine tool and chemical industries have stayed focused on worker skill training, while trying to find ways to treat workers as an intelligent part of the production system. Production is being re-organized to allow for more multi-skilled workers to be utilized. One of the added skills, is the ability to work on the production system itself, rather than relying on experts. The final result is that the division and specialization of the work force is being lessened. This development allows for more sophisticated technologies to be implemented with a more and more skilled workforce. The problem is, that the workers who do not get on the training bandwagon are being left behind (displaced). They will find that their lack of skill or multi-skills will keep them out of higher paying jobs. In the U.S. automotive jobs are dumbified so de-skilled workers can perform the jobs at lesser rates of pay. This de-skilling is relevant to leadership, because it increases the gap between leaders and the people doing the work in America.

Working Partner. While the Swedish Automotive industry has focused on making the worker a more democratic & economic partner in the enterprise, the American Automotive industry is still de-skilling the worker. Within Sweden, workers participate in the capital ownership of the firm by the investment of "wage earner funds." And why not? Why should U.S. executives get stock participation and ownership incentives, but those same opportunities are denied to American workers? The division of labor between menial and manual work versus brain work is less in Sweden than in the U.S. Can participating in capitalism be opened up beyond just the behind-the-scene investor to the worker? In Sweden, labor has a high profile in economic management: investment and labor planning, decision-making, and control. In Sweden the problem is not defined as "unemployment." Instead it is defined as labor "redeployment." 24

A series of statutes, known as the Aman laws, redefined the rights of shop stewards, safety committees and employees in general, as well as imposing obligations on employers to accept worker directors and to disclose and negotiate over all corporate plans affecting their workforces (p. 231).

Exclusionary versus Inclusionary Postmodern Leadership. The metaphor of the brains versus the hands fits here. In the U.S, the postmodern movement is being stalled, in comparison to both Japan, West Germany, and Sweden because in the U.S. leaders are investing in themselves first, then in capital & technology, and least in skilling the workers. Japan's postmodernism is exclusionary, while Sweden's and West Germany's is inclusionary. American postmodernism is a dream. It is a dream because American leaders do not want to increase worker skills or to grant democratic participation in capital control. Why should they? As Clegg (1991: 234) suggests, leaders participate in the "enclaves of privilege" which are barred to workers. American leaders would rather take their fat bonus, row off to shore, and watch their ship sink.








Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enthusiasm. Select the leader who is enthusiastic about bringing the network's vision into being. Be enthusiastic about quality improvements. If a leader can locate quality improvements and spread the story of quality improvement to the rest of the network, then that leader is a servant to the entire network. That leader is affecting the positive growth of the network by being enthusiastic about change and innovation and quality. A leader who is enthusiastic about customer service is a servant to the customers of the network. Networks survive because they effectively meet customer needs. Enthusiasm is contagious.










Skeptical Analysis of Postmodern Leadership.

1. Servant. Take the case of H. Ross Perot. In his speeches, he typifies himself as a "servant to the people." He says he will create electronic town hall meetings to allow people to vote their preferences on policies he is considering. He is not going to run unless people in every state collection signatures to put his name on the ballot. Is H. Ross Perot a servant leader? Certainly, General Motors' Board of Directors does not think so. It is one thing to use the rhetoric of being the servant to the people and quite another to be that servant.

Bureaucrats will often say that have been appointed to serve the people. The motto of the Los Angeles police force is "to serve and to protect." The Los Angeles riots suggest that there has not been enough serving.


2. Empower. How can leaders empower anyone but themselves? Can another individual empower you or do you have to empower yourself? Empowerment means that you were somehow disempowered. In fact, when someone says "I empower you" they usually hand you a stack of work to do. Is putting a suggestion into a sealed box empowering? Jack Kemp wants to economically empower the people of housing projects across America to self-manage their own buildings, to take on jobs running their own community from which they had been excluded, and to even get into apartment ownership. But are these people really empowered? To be empowered, the people of public housing developments would have to be let off their reservations and made powerful participants in white, middle class society. To be empowered is not to be on the margin or periphery of a society, corralled into a housing development, while armed and dangerous Los Angeles police patrol cars keep poor people away from non-poor neighborhoods. Is this empowerment or containment? There is a language game in the empowerment approach to leadership. Political leaders promise empowerment, but people are losing power.

3. Recounter of Stories. In the Michael Eisner stories, as he took over Disneyland, he revised the Walt legends to empower his own vision of command and control. Telling stories of history, heros, and the future options does not mean it is a postmodern leadership approach. The thing that Eisner did do that was postmodern was to put in more voices and points of view into his stories of Disney. In this way he de-centered his own voice and became somewhat more responsive to the many voices of Disney.

4. Visionary. Martin Luther King's speech was empowering and captured an agenda for our times. However, now every executive and bureaucrat and college dean across the country is using the word vision on top of every planning and control document that is reviewed by countless committees in countless retreats. Surely calling something a vision does not make it postmodern. Some visions are worthy, others are holocausts, bureaucratic control strategies, and most are fluff without connection to the ethics and dynamics of corporate life. The question to ask is who participates in the vision? Who is privileged and marginalized by the vision? Who implements the vision? How does the vision change or reinforce the status quo? Does it open up or narrow participation? Is there more or less exploitation? The British had a vision of the U.S. as a colony. We responded with the American Revolution. This means that there can be a conflict of visions and that leadership is helping people sort through that diversity.

5. Androgynous. There is a male and a female voice. The male voice dominated pre-modern and modern discourse. It also dominates in postmodern discourse. The female voice has been socialized to be weak: to please, to mother, to agree, to relate, to listen, to empathize, to appreciate, to follow, to show empathy. The male voice has been socialized to be strong: to command, to tell, to father, to direct, to dominate, to lead, to be rational. For women, the choice is to fit in by using a weak and subordinated voice or to be self-assertive and to adopt a stronger voice.

In the postmodern organization, both voices are viable and worthy. Both genders can use both voices without getting stuck in one or the other linguistic practice.

Real androgyny, defined not as simply adding together the misshapen halves of male and female, but rather as a complex process of calling out that which is valuable in each gender and carefully disentangling if from that which is riddled with the effects of power, is a political struggle" (Kathy Ferguson). 25

In a centralized leadership system, American organizations adopt a White Male Voice. Everyone on the periphery of the core White Male structure adopts a subordinate and decidedly female voice. De-centering and de-differentiating leadership as we move to flatter, more networked, more equalized patterns of organizing --- will mean more self-defined, self-managed, and self-directed human action. Female skills for relating, nurturing, opening, expanding, and inviting in will be more valuable than male skills of pyramiding, demanding, closing, excluding, and expelling. As power balances shift, the gender skill needs will also shift.

Dominance is more a characteristic of pyramid and bureaucratic life than of network life. The leadership of post-bureaucratic organizations will necessitate androgynous voices.

Women need power in order to change society, but power within bureaucracies is not change-making power. The organizational forms and discourse of bureaucratic capitalism institutionalize modes of domination that recreate the very patterns of oppression that feminism arose to combat... Bureaucratic discourse both creates and reflects the masculine notion of the subject, then posits that version of subjectivity as universal. But women's experience provides a vision of human relatedness and autonomy in which subjectivity is rooted in relatedness and autonomy... Feminist discourse would insist upon judging technology in light of the standards of autonomy and community named in the discourse. Many kinds of modern technologies.... are compatible with decentralized and participatory decision-making... Under the value system named in feminist discourse, calculations of efficiency and productivity would include an ongoing concern for the development of the individual, the needs of the community, and the requirements of nature (p. 203-5)

  1. Networker. Just because we move from pyramid builder to a networker approach to leadership does not mean that it is postmodern? Electronic surveillance can be used in very flat networks to achieve leadership command and control in ways that are confining and exploitative. It is not the configuration or the global span of the network that makes it postmodern, it is how it equalizes and de-centers the power relationships and privileges.

7. Team-builder. Most of the postmodern teams are in fact, just bureaucratic committees by another name. For the Japanese, as we have discussed at length, the team concept in manufacturing makes every worker a generalist, while denying that specialist brought into synergistic relation as on a baseball or football team is a viable model. Putting people in teams is not all that positive. Students, working in student project teams, know that when you are dependent on one another, the team members and the team leader can exploit the allocation of work loads, scheduling, and the administration of rewards for results. Teams are often not too empowering. Maybe it would be more postmodern to recommend fewer teams and a return to an emphasis on individualism.



Postmodern Leadership Summary. The postmodern project is to de-hierarchize, de-centralize, and de-differentiate bureaucratic division of labor. In planning we looked at the re-integration of planning and doing. In organizing, we looked at network patterns that move from vertical divisions of labor to horizontal arrangements. In influencing, we looked at self-discipline and self-initiative. In leading, we have looked at post-white male leading. In leading, we substituted service for dominance. To lead is to empower the network to participate, to coordinate, to reconfigure, to invite diversity, to enlighten discourse, to envision alternative to bureaucratic life, to equalize participation, and to get a dialogue of many voices with many stories to happen.


Sun Tsz, the elite master, intimidates the troops. Attila the Hun, the self centered tyrant, displays his control through fear. Remnants of these premodern leaders exist today's organizations.

Modernist leaders are illustrated in the John Patterson's authoritarian control at the NCR pyramid and Walt Disney's storytelling gaze.

The visionary, networking, team-building, empowering postmodern leader serves and tells stories. This leader is particularly sensitive to both male and female voice. Examples range from Lenscrafters to the New York Stock Exchange, and from the United States to Sweden, Japan, and Germany.


Study Guide Question

1. What is the difference between master, panoptic, and servant leading?

2. What are key differences between managers and leaders?

3. Deconstruct the Sun Tzu story of command leadership?

4. What is the story of Attila the Hun?

5. What is the basis for Attila's PMA?


6. Compare Sun Tzu and Attila leadership skills? Which are similar and which are the most different leader skills?

7. Why is Patterson, founder of NCR, a modernist leader?

8. What is a knockout man?

9. What was Walt's method of panoptic gaze?

10. Who was the White knight? Who is Steinberg? What has this all got to do with Modernism?

11. Describe the role of the Story Department in Walt's Division of Labor?

12. What are the four storyman styles of storytelling?


13. What is leadership by Fear?


14. What lengths did Charles Shows do to get his ideas approved? How does this relate to modernism?


15. How did Merrill De Maris sell Walt?

16. What did Eisner discover about Walt's method of leading Disney?

17. Compare the Storyboard and the Script system?


18. How did Q.T. Wiles employ management by fear? What were the results? Deconstruct the story?


19. What is a leadership archetype?


20. What happened to leaders at Edison over time?


21. What are the three stages of the Hero's Journey? What is the Journey of two characters in Star Wars?


22. Why is Magic Johnson a Postmodern Hero?


23. How do Navajo Indians use Archetype Hero stories?


24. In what ways are the Japanese postmodern?


25. In what ways are the West Germans postmodern?


26. In what ways are the Swedes postmodern?


27. Define De-differentiation? How is it different from de-centering?


28. What is leadership by vision?


29. What was the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.?


30. What is leadership by storytelling?



31. How is General Patton applying the situational leader model?

32. Deconstruct the Pattersen story of the Ford Taurus?


33. What is the difference between inclusionary and exclusionary postmodernism?


34. What are male and female voices? How do they relate to postmodernism?

35. What is the feminist case against bureaucracy?


36. How do you replace control by procedure with control by vision and trust?



  1. .Campbell, Joseph The Hero with a thousand faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949; Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, New York: Doubleday, 1988; Also see Bly, Robert Iron Man: A Book About Men. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1990.
  2. . Business Week, (1981). How Roger Miliken runs textiles' performer, January 19, pp 62-73. Main, J. (1990). How to win the Baldrige award. Fortune, April 23, pp. 101-116.
  3. .Roberts, Wess Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun. New York: Warner Books, 1985: 45-6.
  4. .Griffith, Samuel B. Sun Tzu: The Art of war. Translated by Samuel B. Griffith. London: Oxford University Press,1963.; Roberts, Wess. Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun. New York: Warner Books, 1985.
  5. .Adapted from Bernstein, Mark "John Patterson rang up success with the Incorruptible Cashier." Smithstonian Magazine, around 1990: 150-166.
  6. .Boje, David M. 1992 "A Postmodern analysis od Disney leadership: The story of storytelling organization succession from feudal and bureaucratic to 'Tamara-land' discourses." Invited paper to the 1992, New England Symposia: Narrative Studies in the Social Sciences, hosted by Harvard, MIT, and Boston Universities (May 9th).
  7. .Kinney, Jack. 1988. Walt Disney and Assorted Other Characters: An Unauthorized Account of the Early Years at Disney's. New York: Harmony Books.
  8. .Shows, Charles, Charles. 1979. Walt: Backstage adventures with Walt Disney. Huntington Beach, CA: Windsong Books International.
  9. .Boje, David M. "Storytelling is the business of Disney." LMU working paper (August) 1990. The story is a compilation of facts and experiences from a number of sources: Benson, Alan 1989 "the Walt Disney Story." G-Man Video Production. Burbank: Walt Disney Company; Finch, Christopher 1973 The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdom. Burbank, CA: walt Disney Productions; Kinney, Jack 1988 Walt Disney and assorted other characters: An unauthorized account of the early years at Disney's. New York: Harmony Books; Schickel, Richard 1985 The Disney version: The life, times, art and commerce of Walt Disney (Revised). New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc. ; Shows, Charles 1979. Walt: Backstage adventures with Walt Disney. Huntington Beach, CA: Windsong Books International; Taylor, John 1987. Storming the Magic Kingdom: Wall Street raiders and the battle for Disney. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
  10. .Schickel, Richard. 1985. The Disney version: The life, times, art and commerce of Walt Disney (Revised). New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
  11. . Taylor, John, 1987 Storming the Magic Kingdom: Wall Street raiders and the battle for Disney. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
  12. .Jones, Michael O. 1991. "What if stories don't tally with the culture?" Journal of Organizational Change Management, 4 (3): 27-34.
  13. .Schaef, A. W. 1987. When Society Becomes an Addict. San Francisco: Harper & Row. Also see Schaef, A.W. and D. Fassel. 1988. The Addictive Organization Sand Francisco: Harper & Row.
  14. .Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Vintage.
  15. . The story is derived from these sources: Reuters, From. "Panel Alleges 'Massive Fraud' Committed by Ex-MiniScribe Officials." Los Angeles Times September 13, 1989.; Zipser, Andy. "Cooking the Books: How pressure to raise sales Led MiniScribe to Falsify Numbers." The Wall Street Journal. September 11, 1989.
  16. .Schaef, Anne Wilson When Society becomes and Addict New York: Harper & Row. 1987.
  17. .Besides Schaef's work, see: Beattie, Melody Co-dependent NO MORE. Center City, MN: Hazelden, 1987; Wolititz, Janet G. The Self-Sabotage Syndrome: Adult Children in the Workplace. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications, Inc. 1987.; Harvey, Jerry B. "Organizations as Phrog Farms,' Organizational Dynamics (spring) 1977.
  18. . Dyer Davis. "A voice of experience. An interview with TRW's Fredrick C. Crawford" Harvard Business Review, Nov/Dec 1991. pp. 115-126.
  19. .Thorbeck, John 1991. "The turnaround of value of values." Harvard Business Review (Jan/Feb): 52-61.
  20. .Clegg, Stewart, Modern Organizations: Organization Studies in the Postmodern World, London: Sage. 1990: 201; Kotter, J.P. The Leadership Factor, New York: Free Press. 1988.; Peters, Tom Thriving on Chaos.; Bennis, Warren & Burt Nanus, Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge, New York: Harper & Row. 1985: 87-109. and many others.
  21. .GE Annual Report, 1991.
  22. .From War As I knew It Houghton Mifflin.
  23. .Hillkirk and Gary Jacobson, Grit, Guts, and Genius: True Tales of MegaSuccess: Who Made them Happen and How they did it. boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990: 73-4.
  24. .Clegg, 1992: 224-8.
  25. .Ferguson, Kathy E. The Feminist Cast against Bureaucracy Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984: 170.




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