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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Divided neither in life, nor in death: Friendship and leadership in the story of David and Jonathan

In this chapter, we offer the story of David and Jonathan's friendship as a lens through which to view some issues that seem to us to be central to organizational life today. The story challenges some of our assumptions about the separation of public and private, person and role, individual and 'system' or organization, and offers a framework for thinking about commitment and authority in role, especially the role of leader. Friendship at work is one of the great ignored themes of our day - ignored, that is, in the mainstream literature on organizations, management and leadership, and in the curricula of degree and training courses. In our own experience, by contrast, it has been a central pillar around which our learning and our working lives have revolved. And we are not alone. When we raise the topic with others, it invariably evokes an animated response: enthusiasm, eagerness or incredulity - and a flood of associations and stories.