The leadership of Ronald McDonald: Double narration and stylistic lines of transformation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Leadership Quarterly, 2006, 17 (1), pp. 94 - 103
Issue Date:
2006-02-01
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This research note reports a study of Ronald McDonald's leadership. The argument is that rather than just being a spokesperson or marketing device for the McDonald's corporation, Ronald performs an important transformational leadership function. Ronald's recent restylization as a nutrition-fitness leader is part of McDonald's most daring organizational transformation. Using the Bakhtinian theory of double narration, we argue that while Ronald is crafted by the actual leaders of McDonald's, his leadership exceeds official corporate narratives because of the cultural meanings associated with his character as a clown. This clown persona has enabled Ronald to emerge as a leader along two interrelated lines of organizational stylistic transformation: from epic to novelistic corporation and from purveyor of unhealthy foods to a nutrition-fitness enterprise. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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