(In Business World) Batman and Supermen Culture/ Part I

The movie “Batman v Superman” that I had been waiting impatiently for its coming out evoked different connotations for me, in the direction of leadership culture. I prefer to go around the subject by comparing management and leadership theories and touching on a shade of the history of animated cartoons in a cheerful way.

History and Caricature

Historians attribute the history of cartoons to the war period of government and 11 southern states that are not pleased with administration of Washington and invite independence between the years of 1861 and 1877. (For those wonder, although slavery remained and black people obtained their voting power in South until the end of the war, their rights were withdrawn in a short span of time.)

Contemporary caricaturists centered their drawings on Lincoln and became a party to the war through their acute minds upon Abraham Lincoln’s being put into the chair in 1960 and by the beginning of so-called “”interstate war”. Moreover, transformation of caricatures into today’s animated cartoons began at the beginning of 1900s when J. Stuart Blackton and Winsor McCay who were caricaturists of a journal generated their animated short movies.

1928-1934: Discovery and Learning Culture

We were introduced with vivacious Mickey Mouse in 1928 and curious and adventurous Donald Duck in 1934. Don’t these heroes, who were watched by many of us for long years, still make us smile in our day?


Management and Leadership approaches, just like cartoons, had gone through certain phases, and evolved in compliance with current and future needs of individuals and societies.

In this period when we met Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Taylorism (1929) also came into our lives. It brought an innovative, joyful and adventurous viewpoint to management and leadership through which it is stated that personal and corporate solutions are possible.

1940: Pinocchio Culture (of Business World)

When Pinocchio came into our lives, we had accepted the presence of lies in a certain sense. When we lied, our nose used to stretch but when we put a cute smile on our faces and spread our hands around, we would almost intend to believe that this lie had nothing to do with us. We used to believe this so much that we wouldn’t understand why we were punished when we were punished. (Today, trial of individual and society though lie has been continuing, and its consequences are not always as soft as the punishments that were received by Pinocchio.)

In 1932, Elton Mayo confronted us with his thesis within the scope of The Hawthorne Studies that suggests human factor is more important than physical environment in motivation and efficiency. It was stated that through comprehension of human beings and through a correct motivation, it is possible to obtain better motivation.


When we get back to animated cartoons; in 1950s, definition of individual was procured and the cartoons that reflect adventures and features of individuals had left their places for studies that included multiple heroes. Heroes, adventures of which were watched by us as separated in the past, then began to meet in accord within the scope of the same cartoon and new characters began to join them. In 1950s Scooby-Doo, in 1960s Flintstones, in 1980s Simpsons, in 1990s South Park, and in 2000s Toy Story and Transformers included cartoon characters that express this transformation and change in the best way. Characters, each of which had different characteristics, suddenly created a richness that is bigger than their differences and themselves on the point when we said that they would not meet on a mutual point.

In the year of 1946. Kurt Lewin founded Research Center for Group Dynamics on MIT, and deserved to be named as the father of organizational development through his researches that he procured in relation to group and organization.  In 1949,  Eric Trist contributed innovative viewpoints to the theories by approaching external factors such as environment and internal factors such as organizational design hand in hand.

In 1954, Maslow explained that without fulfilling personal needs of individuals, it is not possible to fulfill social and cultural needs in Hierarchy of Needs, and at the end of 1960s, in relation to actional learning and in 1990s, in the direction of learning organizations; he enlarged and narrowed our viewpoints with Peter Senge and finally gave us the opportunity to develop a point of view with 360 degrees.


While characters of cartoon world were like this, messages that were delivered to children were also changing, beyond any doubt. Children, as future business managers, architects, engineers and / or entrepreneurs were learning, developing, getting accustomed to the world and obtaining less or more opinions in relation to the world that is beyond the aprons of their families when sitting in front of a screen.

Our elders, moreover, were finding themselves in the middle of a rapid change and development and trying to get used to these innovations swiftly. For as much as economies were developing, one who does not want to be dropped behind would hang on their chairs or business tight and resist, or would stand up and learn how to move on.


NOTE: If you want to distinguish the culture of a country, one of the best things to do is to glance at their cartoons, caricatures or toys. If you live in Turkey and / or you happen to pass Istanbul; you should absolutely visit “Istanbul Toy Museum” that was established by Sunay Akın in the year of 2005. Link

You can make sure that the toys which were collected from different countries and that will welcome you not only appeal to the children, but also adults.


(In Business World) Batman and Supermen Culture / Part II

Coming soon…

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