The dark side of leadership: Personal dysfunction or societal crisis?

by Woods, Michael G., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 174 pages; 3258764


In this study, the research question being asked is: Do the personal dysfunctions leading to the ''Dark Side'' of leadership hold the key to a possible solution to what is seen as a moral and ethical crisis in both business leadership in particular and in corporate society as a whole—or is the crisis the result of larger, endemic sociological/political/economic issues that have to do more with the structure of our society itself than with any problems with individual leaders (charismatic or otherwise) who turn to the ''Dark Side''? The study uses a qualitative research method involving semi-structured interviews with 10 CEOs and high level executives with American-based corporations Interviewees were asked to comment on their own experiences with the ''Dark Side'' as well as what they felt the possible underlying explanations for those situations might be. The results of the interviews indicate that the CEOs feel that the problems with ethical business leadership in America today (or a lack thereof) are the result of a combination of personal dysfunction and structural, systemic problems with organizational culture itself. However, the majority of respondents feel that the key factor is personal and psychological rather than systemic. They believe that the problems could be solved without disrupting the present corporate structure. The researcher feels the study is of value in that it may provide information helpful for further, more comprehensive studies in the area of ''Dark Side'' leadership.

AdvisersApril Boyington-Wall; Katherine Dew; John Scully
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3258764

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