Organizations and Archetypes

Organizations and Archetypes

Monika Kostera

Archetypes are common patterns containing hidden images of human motivations, offering inspiration and awakening imagination. This book is a collection of such tales, connected to twelve organizational archetypes, where each is illustrated by more general theoretical reflections, current management and organization theory literature, as well as practical examples. Monika Kostera proposes an imagery and language for self-management and self-organization for non-corporate use including entrepreneurs and multipurpose NGOs.

Chapter 10: The Adventurer

Monika Kostera

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


The Adventurer is one of Jung’s personality archetypes (Jung, [1959] 1990). An adventure is a risky enterprise that stimulates the protagonist mentally and physically. It is about the overcoming of difficulties and the accumulating of new experiences. For some people adventure is the main content of their lives; nothing else seems as irresistible to them as facing new challenges. Joseph Campbell ([1949] 1993) describes a typical protagonist of myth in terms of adventure. The hero leaves his or her familiar environment to explore the unknown, and visits places where he or she will be subjected to numerous tests. Heroes are aided by supernatural forces and characters, learn new things and begin to see the world in a new way. Having learned a valuable lesson, they may go back home. The reward that is gained from the lesson not only enriches the protagonist but is often very valuable to others: it helps the hero to save the world and to help fellow human beings. The same pattern is repeated in many myths. For the protagonist the adventure is an initiation, it makes transformation possible – an Adventurer then is also a character associated with the archetypes of transformation. Transformation is the ultimate, metaphysical purpose of experiencing adventures. Fairy tales and folk tales have a similar, characteristic structure (Propp, [1928] 1968): in the beginning the protagonist leaves their family home to travel and experience many adventures which they face bravely, and returns home in glory.

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