Leadership, Storytelling and Alternative Facts

Lecture | April 26 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Kevin Orr, University of St Andrews, UK

 Institute of European Studies

This session examines leadership and storytelling in an age of alternative facts. It draws on empirical research studying narrative practices of an elite group of public administrators: local government chief executives (UK) and city managers (US). Using the lens of relationality, the discussion explores the collective dimensions of leadership. The focus on leadership and stories embraces the narrative turn in political studies and organization theory. The contribution to theory is a qualitative understanding of the relational ways in which stories and narratives are used in everyday leadership practices. These include: inviting an emotional connection and commitment to public service, making sense of organizational realities, provoking reflections on practices and assumptions, and managing relations with politicians. The session offers an appreciation of how leadership influence can be generated by expressive narratives and storytelling rather than stemming from bureaucratic authority. It ends by inviting reflections on the ethical questions that arise from these insights in an era of the fall of experts and the rise of fake news.

Professor Kevin Orr, Fulbright Scholar & Visiting Scholar IES, and University of St Andrews, UK.

 heike@berkeley.edu, 510-643-4558