Previous studies have observed a “falling dominoes effect”, whereby transformational leadership at high levels in a managerial hierarchy appears to cascade to lower levels. This paper presents a counterpoint to such observations by means of a case study which shows that the effect may be blocked by the delegation of authority; by self‐serving behaviour by a powerful group member; and through a lack of appropriate training and development at middle management levels. It cautions against the assumption that the falling dominoes effect is automatic; encourages managers to be more active in their search for barriers to the effect; and calls for more research into how leadership practices become distributed throughout organizations.
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