Franz Kafka and the Truths of Leadership

Hardback

Franz Kafka and the Truths of Leadership

9781800379237 Edward Elgar Publishing
Leah Tomkins, Independent Scholar, Visiting Professor, University of the West of England, and former Visiting Fellow, University of Oxford, UK
Publication Date: April 2024 ISBN: 978 1 80037 923 7 Extent: c 224 pp
In this innovative addition to the New Horizons in Leadership Studies series, Leah Tomkins explores Franz Kafka’s expertise in the exercise of power, emphasising his own work as a leader. Through extensive primary research and original translation, she combines literary and philosophical critique with analysis of contemporary figures to craft a manifesto for leadership relations.

Copyright & permissions

Recommend to librarian

Your Details

Privacy Policy

Librarian Details

Download leaflet

Print page

More Information
Critical Acclaim
Contents
More Information
In this innovative addition to the New Horizons in Leadership Studies series, Leah Tomkins explores Franz Kafka’s expertise in the exercise of power, emphasising his own work as a leader. Through extensive primary research and original translation, she combines literary and philosophical critique with analysis of contemporary figures to craft a manifesto for leadership relations.

The book begins by using six of Kafka’s best-known stories to examine six prominent models of leadership, including authentic, relational and transformational leadership. Tomkins then discusses what these interpretations tell us about the tactics of good and bad leadership, particularly in relation to communication of the truth. This is relevant for leadership across the ages, but especially for a ‘post-truth’ world where facts are often overpowered by fictions and fantasies.

Providing a unique perspective on one of the most prominent writers in the modern canon, this book offers profound insights for scholars and students of leadership, language, discourse and literature. It will delight Kafka enthusiasts and prove enlightening reading for all those interested in the politics of leading and misleading in a digital age.
Critical Acclaim
‘This brilliantly incisive masterpiece will completely transform your understanding of Kafka and what he has to offer to the study and practice of leadership. An absolute must-read for management and organization studies scholars, and a stunning exemplar of what a properly in-depth engagement with a universally known but often misinterpreted genius can achieve. You will never use ‘Kafkaesque’ in vain again!’
– Alexandra Bristow, Associate Professor in Organizational Behaviour, The Open University, UK

‘This is a fascinating and beautifully expressed book that deserves a very wide readership. Professor Tomkins presents a path-breaking analysis of the nature of leadership and of the led that rests on a novel and scholarly reading of Kafka. Anyone who wants to understand how leadership dynamics constitute, and are constituted by, narratives, individual agency, and the power of the Apparatus should read what she has to say.’
– Alan Morrison, Professor of Law and Finance, Saϊd Business School, Oxford University, UK

‘In clear and graceful prose Leah Tomkins has accomplished an amazing feat with this truly learned and original study on leadership viewed through the works of Franz Kafka. Each of the three audiences she has in mind—students of organizational leadership, seasoned Kafka commentators, and general readers interested in Kafka—can profit from her fascinating interpretations and approach to the topic. As a member of the second audience, I believe that her notion of the Kafkan slip should become as important a concept as the “Kafkaesque”. This is a valuable addition to Kafka studies revealing his incomparable genius and relevance.’
– Ruth V. Gross, Emerita Professor of German, North Carolina State University

‘Leah Tomkins leverages her expertise and passion as a Kafka scholar to enrich the field of leadership with this truly original and innovative text. Kafka’s stories of transformation, misguided assumptions and fantastical characters provide new prisms through which leadership can be understood in all its paradoxical and subterranean aspects. This is a book that feeds the imagination and lingers long after its final page has been digested. I loved it.’
– Donna Ladkin, Birmingham Business School, UK

‘Full of rich original work, this book has intellectual verve, an admirable sprightly conciseness, and an elegant, unshowy erudition. Tomkins writes so well about issues that have engaged me in the past: Perhaps the great saying of André Gorz applies, when he speaks of the “chaud bonheur” of realizing that someone else “has suffered even more than oneself for the same great cause” - oh, let’s say, “suffered comparably”. Kudos!’
– Stanley Corngold, Emeritus Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Princeton University, US
Contents
Contents:
Introduction: Kafka’s Leadership Perspective
PART I TEXTS AND THEMES
1 The Judgement: Lessons for authentic leadership
2 The Metamorphosis: Lessons for caring leadership
3 The Trial: Lessons for relational leadership
4 In the Penal Colony: Lessons for embodied leadership
5 The Castle: Lessons for transformational leadership
6 Josefine, the Singer: Lessons for collective leadership
PART II INSIGHTS AND INSPIRATIONS
7 Tactics of version-control
8 The language of leadership
9 Writing and righting the self
10 A Kafkan manifesto for leadership
Bibliography
My Cart