Leaders' response processes for blame attribution: A grounded theory study

by Gregory, Terrence O., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2016, 124 pages; 10157358


This research study investigated how leaders develop responses to blame attribution. Although there is no existing research in this area, there is much literature related to leadership, followership, and blame attribution in organizations. This is a qualitative grounded theory study and is guided primarily by Charmaz’s (2006) methodological approach. The data from 10 semi-structured interviews of leaders, who experienced blame attribution from their followers, produced a five-stage response process. These five stages consist of (a) emotions; (b) mindset; (c) decision-making; (d) response; and (e) evaluation. The findings of this research add a new dimension to the literature regarding leaders and blame attribution. The research results indicate that leaders initially experience a range of intense emotions and then, consciously or subconsciously, assume either a rational (reflective) or defensive (reactive) mindset. An indication of which mindset is adopted is based on the path followed to execute the remainder of the response process. These findings can assist leaders in developing effective responses to blame attribution, and thus, mitigate the resulting negative effects.

AdviserDeborah Vogele-Welch
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBehavioral psychology; Management; Cognitive psychology; Organizational behavior
Publication Number10157358

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