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Management by obedience: the patterns that lead to evil acts

Jon-Arild Johannessen (Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway AND Harstad University College, Harstad, Norway)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




If we know something about the patterns and conditions of crime against humanity, we may perhaps at an early point be able to diagnose and identify developments that lead to these acts. If such developments can be diagnosed, it will be easier for the international community to intervene and stop developments that can lead to a human catastrophe. Consequently, the main reason to examine the patterns and conditions for crime against humanity is to contribute to efforts that will ensure that this crimes likely do not happen again. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Designing system of propositions to develop a theory of crime against humanity, using a typology and conceptual models.


Development of a model for management by obedience leading to evil acts.

Research limitations/implications

Understanding patterns leading to evil acts.

Practical implications

A model of management by obedience. The model is a way to understand and explain crimes against humanity from a systemic perspective.


Development of a typology of crimes against humanity and development of a theory (system of propositions) of crimes against humanity.



Johannessen, J.-A. (2015), "Management by obedience: the patterns that lead to evil acts", Kybernetes, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 159-170.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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