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The dark side of effectiveness – risk and crisis as the “destroyer of worlds”

Denis Fischbacher-Smith (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 25 November 2014




This paper considers the dark side of organisational effectiveness and the processes by which and organisation can move into a state of crisis. The paper sets out a series of arguments around the relationships between people and processes and the manner in which they contribute to the incubation of crises within organisations. The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to many of the issues that are raised in this issue of the journal and calls for more research that explores the relationships between effectiveness and failure.


The paper draws upon a range of literatures to set out the case for considering the negative aspects that surround organisational attempts at achieving effectiveness. In particular, it considers the role of both people and processes in a symbiotic relationship within the incubation of crisis. The paper highlights the importance of innovative practices in bypassing organisational controls.


The paper outlines issues around management practices that serve to focus the attention of practitioners on the ways in which they can contribute inadvertently to the failure of the organisation. In particular, it highlights some of the potential vulnerabilities that can exist within the organisation and which, if unchecked, will result in failure.


The paper highlights the need for further research within the field of organisational effectiveness around the ways in which crises can be incubated as part of the normal processes around effective working.



Fischbacher-Smith, D. (2014), "The dark side of effectiveness – risk and crisis as the “destroyer of worlds”", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 338-348.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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