TITLE

Screening leadership through Shakespeare: Paradoxes of leader—follower relations in Henry V on film

AUTHOR(S)
Warner, Nicholas
PUB. DATE
February 2007
SOURCE
Leadership Quarterly;Feb2007, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Abstract: This paper focuses on the depiction of leadership in Kenneth Branagh''s cinematic interpretation of Shakespeare''s history play, Henry V, with substantial comparative discussion of the earlier version directed by Laurence Olivier—an important and justly celebrated film, but one that lacks the Branagh film''s nuanced, detailed emphasis on leader–follower relations. Blending analysis of performance and film technique with the insights of leadership research in the social sciences, this paper explores the film''s treatment of transformational leadership, charisma, task vs. relationship approaches, and follower empowerment. The paper argues that in terms of leadership technique, King Henry exemplifies what contemporary theory generally associates with effective, inspiring leadership. In terms of leadership content, however—content understood here as the goals and consequences of leadership—Branagh''s film seriously qualifies and darkens the moral dimensions of Henry''s rule. Throughout the film, follower empowerment paradoxically operates as a form of follower control, serving chiefly to advance the king''s own agenda of imperialism and power aggrandizement. Ultimately, Branagh''s Henry V is a brilliantly realized artistic examination of how the most compelling, follower-enhancing leadership can become insidiously compromised by its own ethical myopia.
ACCESSION #
23948312

 

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