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About this book

This book aims to develop a philosophy of leadership from the fiction of C.S. Lewis. Using such works as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Cosmic Trilogy, and Till We Have Faces, the author focuses on the benefits of fiction for leadership philosophy, including the use of models for leadership from narrative worlds. Exploring topics such as agency theory, conflict, authentic leadership, and dark leadership, this book will offer researchers in HRM and leadership studies a fresh perspective of the fictional works of the foremost Christian apologist of the 20th century.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Leading Between the Lines

Abstract
Literature is a helpful lens for leadership studies and C.S. Lewis’ literature is especially helpful. Lewis’ continued impact on popular culture in addition to continued scholarly engagement with his work makes his literature especially valuable. While there might be concerns about drawing from Lewis as an example, readers are still encouraged to learn from the stories he has provided. Yet even so, Lewis presents insights from his own knowledge and life that are beneficial to the leader. By playing with Lewis’ stories, the reader can apply wisdom that may not have been conscious to Lewis but that still fits contemporary questions and concerns. Such play does not refuse to take the stories seriously, but to take them seriously without ignoring their nature as stories. In this study, readers will, hopefully, see the value of stories for leadership content and formation; see the storied nature of the self and the world; lead with fresh energy in their personal lives.
Aaron Perry

Chapter 2. If Jadis Ran the N.I.C.E.: Philosophy of Leadership

Abstract
A philosophy of leadership is an action-logic that undergirds leadership actions. This action-logic includes values, beliefs, and claims. Some of these elements are uncritical and assumed and can form an embedded philosophy of leadership. Leaders will be well-served to examine and develop their own philosophy of leadership critically in order to act with consistency and to develop follower trust. In order to analyze one’s philosophy of leadership, it is helpful to ask questions of being (ontology), value (axiology), and knowledge (epistemology). Lewis’ critique of Weston’s philosophy of life through Ransom shows the value of engaging Lewis’ fiction to develop philosophy of leadership.
Aaron Perry

Chapter 3. Defeating Dragons by Reading the Right Books: Narrative and Leadership

Abstract
Lives are stories and the stories with which we interact form us, including as individuals and societies. As such, stories are useful for leadership reflection and leadership formation by forming virtues, inspiring action, simplifying the complex, and expanding perspectives. Lewis’ own stories provide appropriate material to inspire these reflections for leadership formation. Lewis’ own reflections on the use of narrative affirm these possibilities.
Aaron Perry

Chapter 4. Womb of Worlds or Silent Space? Imagination and Leadership

Abstract
Imagination is not simply the ability to conceive the future, but also to conceive the past. It is also an ability to conceive and see the present properly. Imagination analyzes and synthesizes. Too much imagination and leaders may be paralyzed for fear or complexity, but with too little imagination leaders may not conceive reality well or act properly. Lewis’ own ability to analyze, synthesize, and present reality in creative ways is a benefit for our reflections. For Lewis, the imagination is a sense-making organ. As such, it is not neutral. Imagination is in pursuit of images and allows proper understanding of images. Images are not simply mental pictures, but wider sensations, including emotions. Imagination is a point of connection between leader and follower. Improperly formed, the imagination will be misused and will mislead others. Properly formed, the imagination connects with reality and facilitates the connection of other imaginations with reality.
Aaron Perry

Chapter 5. Let the Prince Win His Spurs: Agency Theory and Agency

Abstract
Agency theory allows leaders and theorists to reflect on issues of efficiency and ethics. The relationship of an agent who acts on behalf of a principal may arise because of opportunity for greater work, contexts where specific skill or knowledge or presence is required. At times, discrepancies may emerge between the agent’s aims and the principal’s aims. Lewis provides an opportunity for reflection on agency theory by showing that leadership often includes acting on behalf of another and that the agent takes on certain characteristics of the principal. Leadership should also focus on developing agents who are capable of self-leadership, taking meaningful, responsible action.
Aaron Perry

Chapter 6. Saving Faces: Authentic Leadership and the Tension of Self-Disclosure

Abstract
Leaders are faced with a tension of self-disclosure. What is appropriate to share? What might have an adverse effect on the follower’s or the leader’s own health? Authentic leadership provides some help by arguing for self-awareness, self-regulation, and congruence between one’s self and one’s actions. Yet authentic leadership recognizes tensions, such as the leader adapting to different contexts. Lewis provides wisdom in this discussion through his use of the face and the mask. For Lewis, the face acts as a trope for identity and influence. As one’s face changes, so is one’s self changing. The mask, however, is not always presented negatively. At times, the mask is beneficial for the leader. Yet leaders must be aware that masking their identities may result in significant consequences.
Aaron Perry

Chapter 7. Upsetting a Basket of Deplorable Words: Overcoming Dark Leadership

Abstract
Dark leadership may be seen as a twisting of charismatic leadership or transformational leadership, or as a set of traits in the leader, including Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and psychopathy. Lewis contributes to a picture of dark leadership through his description of a deficient practical mind, leadership vacuums, social structures, and bureaucracy. In Lewis, dark leaders have limited power and meet ironic ends. In order to avoid dark leadership, leaders should maintain just pursuits of knowledge and engage in self-monitoring, attending to one’s words, deeds, and character.
Aaron Perry

Chapter 8. A Lewisian Way of Leading

Abstract
A philosophy of leadership from Lewis’ fiction is a way of leading. A Lewisian way of leading is presented as seeing one’s context as a battleground of beauty. Beauty is to be found in the givenness of the leader’s context, yet the leader’s context is also a place of battle. Leaders can influence, but also can be influenced. As a result, a philosophy of leadership considers four themes that fit this context: courage, communication, comedy, and company. A philosophy of leadership values courage as faithfulness; practices honest, clear, humble, and personal communication; values humor and has a conviction of hope; and sees leadership as a team endeavor, valuing unique, individual contribution. These themes combine to form within the leader a conviction that all is gift.
Aaron Perry

Backmatter

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