The Power of Leadership Storytelling: Case of Adolf Hitler

Tuomo Takala, Tommi Auvinen


We consider the construction of leadership influence involving manipulation and from narrative standpoint. We use the career of Adolf Hitler as an empirical example - as a case - illustrating the huge, and potentially destructive, power of story-telling. Hitler is used as an illustrative case for how storytelling is involved in constructing great leadership influence - and with a view to making sense of such a leader's story. We have applied both conceptual and narrative analysis in our empirical case. In terms of the narrative analysis, we follow Polkinghorne's definition on narrative inquiry. Despite the significant attention given to storytelling in the contemporary management literature, less research has been devoted to understanding its connection to destructive leadership. As a result of the case we have constructed a rich description of evolving process of destructive leadership. Leaders all over the world can get practical guidance and support for their aims to be better leader and to resist bad leadership.


Leadership, ethics, Nazis, Hitler, story-telling

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