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Using historic mutinies to understand defiance in modern organizations

Ray W. Coye (Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Patrick J. Murphy (Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Patricia E. Spencer (Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 13 April 2010

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Abstract

Purpose

Guided by voice and leadership theory, this paper aims to articulate the underpinnings of upward defiance (competence deficiency; ignorance of concerns; structural gaps between echelons) and to describe the managerial actions that help depose those underpinnings.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzes 30 historic narrative accounts of actual mutinies. The journalistic accounts from bygone eras provide unparalleled insight into the basic dynamics of mutiny and provide novel insights into organizational defiance.

Findings

The principal findings show that the underpinnings of mutiny in organizations derive from three foundations: disconnections between authority echelons, modes of addressing member disgruntlement, and the need for management to develop continuous competencies.

Originality/value

The paper goes beyond reports of mutinies in the popular press and lore by applying the findings to modern organizations.

Keywords

Citation

Coye, R.W., Murphy, P.J. and Spencer, P.E. (2010), "Using historic mutinies to understand defiance in modern organizations", Journal of Management History, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 270-287. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511341011030147

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited