The Hero's Farewell

The Hero's Farewell

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Sonnenfeld, Jeffrey Oxford University Press, 1988
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IN THIS SUMMARY

Society has come to recognize the leaders of modern corporations as heroes. As men and women take high corporate offices today, they are expected to play a kind of heroic role in guiding the destiny of their firms. Most corporate officers enthusiastically accept this role, but may have a difficult time relinquishing it to step aside for newer, younger executives. For these corporate leaders, leaving office translates into a loss of heroic stature. Each period of American history has produced heroes who reflected the social aspirations and expectations of the time. A society's celebration of heroes is a function of social control, the heroes selected are those who have demonstrated the society's basic values. As the values of society change, so will its heroes. Corporate leaders are the newest breed of American heroes. Business heroes, like other heroes, show us how to work the system. Like the folk heroes of literature and legend, the business hero reduces social uncertainty by triumphing over adversity. Retirement is not the end of a leader's career. It should be viewed as a career change. Retirement can lead to rewarding renewal if a realistic plan is developed that keeps challenge and growth alive. Heroes must believe in a chance for future contribution.