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Managing Uncertainty: Lessons from Xenophon's Retreat
Management Faculty Research and Publications
  • David R. King, Marquette University
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Propositions on dynamic capabilities and organizational politics are developed from management literature and are then evaluated using case analysis. The goal is to identify complementary aspects of these perspectives to change from an ancient example that can offer insights for management thought and practice today. Initially chronicled by Xenophon, roughly 10,000 Greek mercenaries spent over two years confronting demanding circumstances as they fought their way into and out of ancient Persia. The mercenaries' response to changing circumstances offers a unique case for integrating literature on responses to uncertainty that range between rational and haphazard explanations. The analysis suggests uncertainty management is a complex phenomenon imperfectly represented by existing models.


Paper presented at the International conference on Leadership and Management in a Changing World: Lessons from Ancient East and West Philosophy, 12-14 June, Athens, Greece.

Citation Information
David R. King. "Managing Uncertainty: Lessons from Xenophon's Retreat" (2011)
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