A Response To The Zeitgeist: The (De)Construction Of Shackleton's Leadership

A Response to the Zeitgeist: The (De)construction of Shackleton's Leadership


The story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's, an adventurer of the ?heroic age' of polar exploration has captured the imagination of generations of armchair readers. This paper is presented as a response to a current zeitgeist within leadership literature; namely that the "secrets of Shackleton's leadership success ? are ready for application by anyone in a position of leadership today" (Morrell & Capparell, 2001). Through the deconstruction of a key element of the ?heroic' narrative, the sailing of a 22ft long boat across 800 miles of the Southern Ocean, I am able to present alternative interpretations of the ?facticity' of the voyage. These interpretations throw new light onto the role of the ?greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none'; they will position other, displaced, actors within the central roles and explore how the construction of this leadership ?myth' should impact upon the relationship between the audience, the leader and the leadership narrative.


Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) was an Edwardian polar explorer who took part in the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-04) under Robert Falcon Scott and subsequently led three other expeditions to the Antarctic (1907-09, 1914-16 and 1921-22). Eleven years after his death during the unveiling of a memorial statue at the Royal Geographical Society's headquarters Lord Zetland stated that the outstanding achievement of Shackleton's career was his ?farthest south' journey of 1909 when he ventured to within 100 miles of the South Pole. However in the current era the story of Shackleton has once again emerged and his reputation has never stood higher since his ...
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