IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Of Managers, Ideas and Jesters




Ours is an argument for ideas that become us. Illustratory is a statement by a well-known management author who lamented the difficulty of “escaping one’s past ideas”. Viewing himself a prisoner, his past published ideas had devoured him: they limited his ability to imagine or credibly present new, different ideas. The predicament reflects the perspective we wish to develop in this paper: Ideas may be seen as our embodiments rather than what is more often put forth, externalized as objects that we create and dismiss at will. We argue that a way of looking at ideas is to start by considering humans, and managers, as spokespersons for out-there ideas, which inhabit them at a time of readiness. People become possessed; they become imprisoned by certain ideas that they then begin to perform. A jester is an example of a performer of an idea of a fool even if occasionally, as we argue in this paper, the jester may also counterbalance the cognitive inertia of managers. We draw attention to the common difficulty managers have, to move beyond the particular idea that has become them, once – like the jester - they have begun performing the idea(s).

Suggested Citation

  • Sevón, Guje & Välikangas, Liisa, 2009. "Of Managers, Ideas and Jesters," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration 2009:1, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhb:hastba:2009_001

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stigler, George J, 1983. "Nobel Lecture: The Process and Progress of Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 529-545, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    manager; ideas; jesters; change;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhb:hastba:2009_001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Helena Lundin). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.