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Literature and Strategic Leadership, University of Chicago (Booth)

online resource
posted on 2022-07-07, 13:10 authored by Post Discipline AdminPost Discipline Admin
Using timeless stories and characters as case studies can illuminate strategic challenges in powerful ways. Great stories offer characters with memorable traits and leadership styles, without losing sight of each character’s complexity. And the settings in those great stories provide us with rich contexts that can serve as archetypal strategic environments. This course will use timeless works of literature to explore current issues in strategic leadership. We can broaden our view of such issues by using stories from other times and places, thereby considering them in other contexts and looking for universal themes. These distant settings will also allow us to consider how leaders’ world views shape the ways in which they frame and respond to strategic problems. Besides providing valuable strategic environments, the stories that we read and discuss will present us with memorable characters, who have varied traits and bring distinct approaches to the challenges they face. We can use these characters to explore different ways that leaders bring their individuality to bear on strategic problems. By considering these nuanced characters in context, we will also attempt to understand their virtues and flaws in richer and deeper ways than typical business case studies and modern media accounts allow for. Strategic problems and the leaders who take them on are often multifaceted, and this complexity is not easily captured by modern media caricatures of business heroes and villains. This course will include – among other themes – a special emphasis on ways in which the political environment that businesses operate in can distort communication. We will devote part of our time to 1984 by George Orwell and to a dialogue by Plato on rhetoric (Gorgias). We will use these readings to explore leadership strategies for delivering and interpreting messages in the modern communication environment, and will examine the role of rhetoric, principles and thoughtful communication in dealing with it. This information has been collected for the Post-Discipline Online Syllabus Database. The database explores the use of literature by schools of professional education in North America. It forms part of a larger project titled Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities, led by Dr Merve Emre with the assistance of Dr Hayley G. Toth. You can find more information about the project at Data was collected and accurate in 2021/22.


Subject Area


Geographic Region

East North Central

University or College

University of Chicago (Booth)

Funding Status


Endowment (according to NACUBO's U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20) ($1,000)


Annual Tuition and Mandatory Fees 2021-2022 ($) (Resident; Non-resident, where applicable)


Course Title

Literature and Strategic Leadership

Terminal Degree of Instructor(s)


Position of Instructor(s)

Clinical Professor of Economics

Academic Year(s) Active

2019/20, 2020/21

Course Enrolment


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