Table of Contents

Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership

Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership

Edited by Eric H. Kessler and Diana J. Wong-MingJi

This ground-breaking book explains how deep-seated cultural mythologies shape contemporary global leaders and provides insights into navigating the dynamics and complexities in today’s era of globalization. The authors use myths to uncover core characteristics and values from 20 different cultural contexts spanning all major regions of the world – the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific Rim – that have evolved over generations and continue to shape global leadership models. Commentaries are included from practicing managers and leaders to provide real world insights on the implications of the ideas discussed. International managers and executives, public officials, business consultants and corporate trainers will welcome the insights on cross-cultural leadership styles. The book will also find interest from researchers and students across a broad array of professional and social science disciplines.

Chapter 7: Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership in Germany

Sonja A. Sackmann

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


128 Europe mythology. According to Burkert (1981) myth as a traditional story has the function to structure reality in order to cope with it. In this way, the present time should be bound to the past and at the same time guide future expectations. Given Germany’s history, an examination of German mythology and its myths is not unproblematic. In the more recent past, mythology became relevant for Germanic people during the period of romanticism (1800–50) (Herrmann et al., 1977) when Germany consisted of several independent principalities. In 1806, after the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, the nation state of Germany did not yet exist. The idea of Germany as a national state started to develop during those times. Since mythology was used to create patriotism and a sense of national feeling, it was changed or rather adapted for those purposes (Phillipson, 1962). One of the most influential misinterpretations, the so-called ‘Nibelungentreue’ (loyalty of the Nibelungs), which means unquestioning loyalty unto death toward the emperor, the country, and the superior, influenced Germany’s role in the First World War. It also supported the National Socialists in gaining power and eventually the beginning of the Second World War (Heinzl, 2004). Due to this specific history, the most important influences on Germans’ view of their mythology today are the experiences and their critical reflections that resulted from the misuse of that part of Germanic mythology during the Third Reich (1933–45). The National Socialists used Germanic mythology and...

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