Citius, Altius, Fortius: Managers’ Quest for Heroic Leader Identities

Thibaut Bardon, Andrew D. Brown, Francois-Regis Puyou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


In this paper, we draw on Foucault’s concept “governmentality” to show how a cohort of middle-aged senior managers who engaged in competitive endurance sports fabricated (avowed) “heroic” leader identities drawing on this repertoire of discursive resources. Neoliberalism constitutes a form of governmentality which encourages people to regard themselves as autonomous and to aspire to personal fulfillment by investing entrepreneurially in themselves as “human capital.” Healthism, which requires individuals be responsible for their own health and wellbeing, is one program by which this is accomplished. We analyze managers’ talk about themselves as people who self-examined, and sought continually to transform (improve) themselves, to avow identities as superior (heroic) leaders. Our study contributes to the literature on governmentality by showing how in neoliberalism “healthism” constructs managers as enterprising selves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-960
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2023


  • Enterprising selves
  • Foucault
  • governmentality
  • healthism
  • heroic leader identity
  • neoliberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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