Working papers

Fairy Tales for Executives: Story Telling as a Catalyst for Change (2015)

Manfred Kets de Vries

"Fairy tales for today’s executives"

This working paper looks at how fairy tales act as a shortcut to moral lessons, providing insights into human behavior. When applied to the realm of executive leadership, they illustrate the dangers of leadership and various ways in which executives can derail. It also explores the psychological healing process at the heart of fairy tales which can be a source of inspiration for its reader. In this context, fairy tales can take on a basic therapeutic function, touching on humankind’s deepest fears and desires and helping them integrate these two drivers into a healthy personality. By identifying with the characters in these stories, executives come to better understand their own internal struggles and turn into more self-aware leaders.

INSEAD Working Paper, 2015

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