Leadership and the deified/demonic: A cultural examination of CEO sanctification

Edward Wray-Bliss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


I examine in this paper deification and demonisation - the social attribution of absolute 'Good' and 'Evil' to individuals or individual entities. Specifically, I unpack ways that evilness and goodness have become personified in the figure of the chief executive officer in contemporary, particularly US, business culture. Showing both the readily accessible and widely used nature of these religious tropes, I nevertheless argue that both deification and demonisation have ethically and politically disempowering effects for organisational members, the wider citizenry, and for critique within the field of business ethics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-449
Number of pages16
JournalBusiness Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


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