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Destructive Leadership: Its Origin, Impact, and Resolution

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Title: Destructive Leadership: Its Origin, Impact, and Resolution
Author: Belanger, Marc
Department: Department of Management
Abstract: Destructive leadership can negatively impact organizations. By defining and describing destructive leadership, its evolution, and its impacts, organizations can identify ways of dealing with its implications. Definitions range destructive leadership from uncomfortable to illegal; from hurtful to unethical; from working towards organizational goals to working towards personal goals only. Several destructive leadership theories have developed and evolved over time, highlighting their common threads; two more recent ones include the leader-centric model, focusing on destructive leaders themselves, and the holistic model, focusing on key components leading to destructive leadership. Destructive leadership results from the confluence of three main components – a leader who makes the decision to become destructive, the follower who is susceptible in their work with the leader, and the environment in which they operate, including senior management, policies and procedures, and values and culture that are promoted. Impacts of destructive leadership can range from minor to severe, including abusiveness, theft or embezzlement, and exploitation. Since the impacts are significant, organizations should avoid hiring leaders with destructive tendencies. If a destructive leader has become part of the organization, they must be dealt with, through support to followers, retraining to the leaders themselves, and ensuring that the proper checks and balances are in place. Tools, such as feedback mechanisms, can help identify destructive leadership. Future research into destructive leaders’ motivations as well as the impacts of destructive leadership beyond the organization would be beneficial to this area of study.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/25910
Date: 2020-12-13
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