From Artist-As-Leader to Leader-As-Artist

V.M. Pieterse

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisAcademic

195 Downloads (Pure)


Chapter 1 deals with the artistic critique of the 1960s in the Netherlands. It demonstrates that the processes of Boltanski and Chiapello’s theory of The New Spirit of Capitalism in France also apply to the Netherlands. I’ll describe the influence of the Experimental Group in Holland and the Dutch Beats or the Fiftiers on Dutch countercultural movements and artistic critique. In short, it provides a history of the Magical Centre Amsterdam. In the tradition of Boltanski and Chiapello, Chapter 2 is an exploration of one of neomanagement’s key problems: the tension between the demand for flexibility and the need to be a personality with permanency. By examining the concepts of self-identity, self-fulfilment, and practical wisdom, I argue that Vinkenoog strikes a balance between ‘being flexible’ and ‘being someone’, or adaptability and authenticity. In Chapter 3, I explore the symbolic representation of the homo ludens by Simon Vinkenoog, not only based on the ideas of Huizinga of the homo ludens as the playing man, and the ideas of Constant of the homo ludens as the creative man, but also by using the representation of the homo ludens in contemporary managerial ideologies. Here the emphasis lies on play, playfulness and creativity. I consider the complete turnaround of the perception of the homo ludens, from being viewed as subversive, destructive and a challenge to societal productivity, to being the focal point in an emerging management literature for which the creative man is the central source of management. By looking at poetry as a play-function and Vinkenoog’s creativity of playing games with words, I discuss the key role of the leader in setting the boundaries for playful creativity. For the leader in contemporary organizations, who takes the artist as the model for his/her leadership, creating a happening (like a performance artist) is an important possibility. In Chapter 4, I’ll show that this idea is reflected in DBMC’s company texts. Based on the idea that the word ‘performance artist’ refers to the theatre-metaphor approach to performance in organizations and that the word ‘happenings’ refers to events of the artistic critique, I’ll examine the happening, based on Bakhtin’s concept of Carnival, de Certeau’s concepts of tactics and strategy, and Lyotard’s idea of performativity. By discussing the idea of the happenings of Simon Vinkenoog, I argue for an artistic understanding of the idea of performance and performativity within contemporary organizations. In Chapter 5, I discuss the fixed and rational meanings of the leader in contemporary organizations. I problematize the image of the leader, defined via ‘the art of leadership’. Language that attempts to create an image of the leader as always aesthetically pleasing requires critiquing. The characteristic powers of the artist can bring the leader outside of any rational discourse, and therefore can be seen to champion irrationalism. By introducing the paradoxes of Artaud’s ‘double’ – creativity and its ‘shadow’ of madness – and with the help of Artaud’s idea of theatre, Derrida’s interpretation of Artaud’s subjectile, and the ideas of Simon Vinkenoog, I draw attention to the tensions in this ‘double’ within the idea of contemporary leadership. In the Chapter 6, I combine the former chapters in order to deliver a contribution to an alternative of the image of the leader in contemporary organizations. Where the previous chapters have been concerned with drawing the threads of the analysis together and using them to create a critique of neo-management discourse and its idea of leadership, it is in this chapter that a coherent story emerges. In the final chapter, I’m reflexive upon my findings. With the help of metis or ‘cunning intelligence’, I begin to understand my role within DBMC. But at the same time, metic intelligence reframes the role of Simon Vinkenoog and the leader in contemporary organizations.
Original languageAmerican English
  • Letiche, H., Supervisor
Award date17 Nov 2011
Print ISBNs9789081804714
Electronic ISBNs9789081804714
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2011

Cite this