The organizational story as leadership

K Parry, Hans Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


Leaders are often noted for providing a compelling vision that inspires followers to act to fulfill the vision, often by telling stories. Here, we begin a separation of the notion of 'leader as person' from the notion of leadership as the discourse that represents such a vision. We transcend the notion that leaders tell stories, to the proposition that stories themselves operate like leaders. We suggest that people follow the story as much as they follow the storyteller or author, hence the story becomes the leader. In discussing the characteristics that stories share with leadership, we generate two propositions. First, within the context of organizational development, leadership development can move from 'people' development to the development of the narratives that resonate within organizations. Second, we decouple leader as person or position, from leadership as process in order to illustrate stories as leaders. We conclude with specific messages that individuals can take away.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Discourse
  • Leadership
  • Organizational stories


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