The Broken Boss Cover The Broken Boss by Aiden Choles (with Natasha Hardy)
The Broken Boss is a business fable that addresses the topics of humanity in the workplace, organisational health, leadership development and the process of re-authoring individual and team narratives. The story chronicles the journey of Howard, a CEO of an upcoming telecommunications company, and the intense work he has to do to re-author his work story and that of his executive team after a medical crisis. The book is aimed at senior leaders who are interested in crafting organisational narratives that combine effectiveness and health and new managers who are interested in crafting a management style that rehumanises.

This book shows how pressure at the office can build up to a point that leads to behaviour, that in a normal decent society, is unacceptable. It also shows how you can read the signs yourself and get onto the path that leads to redemption and what matters most – a life where you make a positive difference in the lives of the people around you, at the office and at home.

– Clem Sunter, Scenario Planner

For any leader experiencing the pressure-cooker that is leadership this is a ‘must-read’ book. Significant insights on what it means to lead authentically are unpacked in a gripping narrative that delivers entertainment and so much more. This might be one of the most important books you will read as a leader.
– Keith Coats, Leadership Guru, TomorrowToday

The Broken Boss is a must read for up and coming high flyers as well as established leaders. It portrays real life leadership challenges and gives guidance on how to manage through them.
– Flip de Wet, former MD of Sasol Technology

R250 Paperback from The Narrative Lab (incl delivery within South Africa) Buy
$11.95 Amazon paperback $5.95 Kindle Edition

Dehumanise Cover de:humanise by Aiden Choles (with Paula Marais)
de:humanise is a revolutionary new management book that takes an in-depth look at what really matters to our organisations and where people fit into that picture. The answer will surprise the reader given that the philosophy of people management has been perverted and trodden on in recent times. This satirical book takes you on a journey of rediscovering the DNA of our organisations and how a covert mission of de:humanisation will help you get your management mojo back.

Choles is a master in his field. His tongue in cheek style makes the science behind twenty first century management techniques accessible to any reader. As Phillip Klue-Richardson would say “Do right by yourself.” Read this book.

– Elijah Winter

R250 Paperback from The Narrative Lab (incl delivery within South Africa) Buy
$11.95 Amazon paperback $5.95 Kindle Edition


Research Reports

Title: Investigating Stakeholder Engagement Cycles and Identities within Water Resource Management, Using Narrative Techniques
Client: Water Research Commission
Year: 2013
Background: This Water Research Commission funded research project, undertaken by The Narrative Lab during the course of 2012 and 2013, investigated the social dynamics of stakeholder engagement and volunteerism using narrative techniques at two study sites in the Western Cape, namely the Wilderness and Swartvlei estuaries which are situated on the Garden Route, close to the towns of Wilderness and Sedgefield. In particular the study aimed to understand why citizens choose to engage with water resource challenges, how they translate that engagement into action and participation and how such engagement may be cyclical in nature.
Download link: WRC Report 2076-1-13

Title: Investigating the behavioural drivers of stakeholder engagement and volunteerism in the South African water arena
Client: Water Research Commission
Year: 2011
Background: Water is the lifeblood of any community. If an area is without water for an extended period of time, it becomes a desert and uninhabitable. Effective Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in South Africa is a critical but complex task. The multitude of diverse stakeholders involved and the various interactions and behaviours within diverse community and stakeholder groupings add to the technical complexity of ensuring long‐term sustainability of processes, structures and resources. It is with this in mind that The Narrative Lab (TNL) investigated the behavioural drivers of engagement and volunteerism with respect to agencies, organisations and individuals involved in water management.
Download link: KV 264-10

Case Studies

Title: How Civil Society Is Influencing Pharmaceutical Policies and Decision Relating To Access To Medicines
Client: Southern African Regional Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM)
Background: The Southern African Regional Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM), funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), aims to promote a more efficient and competitive market for essential medicines in order to meet the health needs of poor and underprivileged people in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The main focus of the Civil Society Pact is to ensure that there is strengthened institutional architecture and partnerships to improve access to medicines in the SADC region. One of the key outputs of the programme is an increased voice and influence of civil society reflected in policies on access to medicines and diagnostics in Southern Africa. These are the SARPAM country case studies demonstrating anecdotal evidence of the influence that civil society is having on access to essential medicines and healthcare within southern Africa. The case studies present stories from the perspectives of the members of civil society who live within the affected communities.
Download links:
SARPAM Tanzania Case Study 2014
SARPAM Malawi Case Study 2013
SARPAM Zambia Case Study 2013
SARPAM Zimbabwe Case Study 2013


Title: Understanding Stakeholder Engagement Using Narrative Research
Event: WRC 40 year Celebration Conference
Year: 2011
Download link: 40 yr conference presentation

User Guides

Title: Citizen Engagement Guide
Client: Water Research Commission
Year: 2013
Background: This guide is designed to get you started on your journey towards increasing engagement and participation around your community’s challenge. It is not an in depth guide intended to provide you with the answers to your challenge, but it does provide you with the tools to map out your journey, choose the route that you would be able to take, get on the road and to then look out for certain signposts on the way. This guide is designed to equip you to play a significant role in increasing the extent to which fellow citizens are engaged and involved with the water problems in your community, or any challenge you believe should receive more attention, be it crime, litter, etc.
Download link: WRC Citizen Engagement Guide


Title: Exploring the science of involved citizenship
Publication: SA Water Wheel
Download link: Water Wheel