The Varieties of Leadership at Novarum Pharmaceuticals

A Novel

Robert Pernick, Johns Hopkins University
Floyd Kemske

Published 2009

Storytelling is a time-honored way of educating. Case studies attempt to engage students, but are limited because they do not develop characters or settings. What is needed is a full-length novel with complex, sympathetic characters and a story grounded in leadership and organizational behavior theories. Novarum Pharmaceuticals is such a book.

Set in a large U.S. firm, it follows the struggles of an executive vice president trying to launch an innovative joint venture with a Middle Eastern company. The story proceeds from Nia Stevens’ first strategic proposal, through various triumphs and setbacks, to a final crisis in which she must choose between what she views as her career and her principles. The main characters reveal a mix of motives and perceptions about each other and doing business in the Middle East. They converge and clash and their actions change as the story unfolds. Neither a tragedy nor a comedy, the book is a plausible depiction of life within a modern corporation.

Novarum Pharmaceuticals embodies all the elements of a novel, but unlike novels this one contains an index that professors and students alike can use to tie characters’ actions to theory. The companion instructor’s resource manual provides an extensive discussion framework for the professor, with background material on the pharmaceutical industry, resumes of the principle characters, questions and suggested answers for every chapter, descriptions of theory and concepts, learning goals for each chapter and a bibliography of organization-related fiction.

Novarum Pharmaceuticals will make a refreshing supplemental text in many courses in the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, psychology, sociology, organization development, public administration, healthcare management and educational administration. Immersion in this book gives students a deeper appreciation of the often conflicted nature of worker motivation, better preparing them for navigating their own careers. General business readers interested in the consequences of questionable ethical behavior and bad leadership will also find the book entertaining and useful.

Preface. Introduction. Résumés of Principal Characters. Prologue: “Do You Need a Ride?” 1 Doing Business with Terrorists. 2 Strategic Planning and Affliction. 3 Feels So Good. 4 Suspenders with a Belt. 5 Dancing with the Team. 6 Chant of the Chorus. 7 Who Said Anything About Reprisal? 8 Damaged Goods. Epilogue: Steadfast or Stubborn? Pharmaceutical Industry: Background. Pharmaceutical Industry: Strategic Threats and Opportunities. Bibliography—Corporate Fiction.