Destructive Leadership and Management Hypocrisy

Cover of Destructive Leadership and Management Hypocrisy

Advances in Theory and Practice

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(19 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xxxi
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Part 1 Definitional Issues and Conceptual Clarifications in Destructive Leadership

Abstract

The term “destructive leadership” has been utilized as an overarching expression to refer to various “bad” leader behaviors thought to be associated with damaging outcomes for followers and organizations. Yet, there is a recognition in the broader leadership literature that leadership involves much more than the behaviors of leaders. It is a dynamic, cocreational process that unfolds between leaders, followers, and environments, the product of which results in group outcomes. In this chapter, I argue that in order to achieve a more balanced view on destructive leadership, it is vital to develop more integrative approaches that are grounded in the contemporary leadership discourse and that recognize flawed or toxic leaders, susceptible followers, and conducive environments as interdependent elements of a broader destructive leadership process. To this end, I provide a critique of the extant literature, propose a broader definition of destructive leadership, and discuss strategies to examine destructive leadership in a broader, holistic manner.

Abstract

Research has overwhelmingly focused on the positive side of leadership in the past. However, research into negative aspects of leadership is picking up pace. This chapter will provide an overview of two prominent aspects of negative leadership, namely, abusive supervision and laissez-faire leadership. Research has shown that both types of leadership have significant negative consequences both for organisations as a whole as well as individual followers. Examples include lower job satisfaction, stress, as well as lowered performances and a higher likelihood of counter-productive work behaviour. Both abusive supervision and laissez-faire researchers acknowledge that these leadership styles take effect through the perception of followers. That is, they consider that the same behaviour can be interpreted differently by different followers and will, hence, lead to different follower-related outcomes. Abusive supervision and laissez-faire are, however, very different in terms of the actual leader behaviours described. While abusive supervision is a style that is actively destructive, laissez-faire is destructive via lack of support for followers' goal achievement. We end the chapter with an outlook for future research, notably an attempt to systematise future research into destructive leadership with respect to the different forms it can take.

Abstract

The common notion that leaders should be ethical, good, responsible and trustworthy has been strongly challenged in the fields of business and politics worldwide. Due to the high prevalence of unethical leadership by immediate supervisors and decline in trust in leaders (Cowart, Gilley, Avery, Barber, & Gilley, 2014), scholars started to pay closer attention to the dark sides and destructive aspects of leadership. Many different concepts are suggested to define the dark side of leadership, and each of them captures similar but distinct dimensions. In this vein, Einarsen and colleagues' (2007) constructive and destructive leadership model serves as an umbrella concept for different types of dark sides of leadership, covering concepts which have been studied separately such as abusive supervision, tyrannical leadership, petty tyranny, toxic leadership and leader derailment. The present chapter aims to provide a summary of the definitions of these interrelated constructs to acknowledge some other leadership (e.g., paternalistic leadership, pseudo-transformational leadership) and personality styles (e.g., Machiavellianism, narcissism) that have not been considered in this framework and to provide suggestions for future research.

Abstract

There are several permutations of destructive leadership types. Most involve active leadership actions, but some involve passive actions (or lack of leadership). A review of the literature reveals a relative dearth of root causes of destructive leadership type, but a reasonable sampling of causal factors and predictors of destructive leadership results. The author focuses on three relevant and representative destructive leadership types: Pseudotransformational, Laissez-Faire, and Unethical, and scoured the literature for root causes, causal factors, and predictors related to each. He further compared and contrasted these leadership types to differentiate their similarities and differences and discussed the causal factors and predictors associated with the operationalization of these leadership styles.

Abstract

The study of corporate psychopaths has gone from something which some academic peers found somewhat incredible, and even laughable, in 2005, to an area where an increasing amount of research is taking place across many disciplines. The paradigmatic view in 2005 was that psychopaths were criminal and, therefore, to be found in prisons and not in ‘respectable’ corporations. That chapters like this on corporate psychopaths and destructive leadership are now invited in 2020 for inclusion in academic management books that illustrates how relatively quickly the idea that psychopaths are found in corporations has gained acceptance. Nonetheless, destructive, unethical and psychopathic leadership is, by and large, still unexpected in the workplace, and this magnifies its impact as employees struggle to know how to deal with it. Such destructive leadership is also jarring and quite often traumatic for the employees concerned as well as being damaging to the organisations involved. This chapter examines psychopathic leadership and outlines its importance. This subject has been covered before in books and other chapters which describe psychopaths as organisational destroyers and producers of a climate of fear. Therefore, an aim of this chapter is to present some of the most up-to-date findings on corporate psychopaths and how they influence their environment via abusive supervision involving discrimination, ridicule and lowered job satisfaction. Abusiveness and unfairness lead to employees experiencing workplace stress and reduced mental health. The implications of corporate psychopathy for corporate legal responsibility are only just being considered as lawyers, ethicists and philosophers engage with this difficult subject.

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of research on dispositional supervisor characteristics as well as specific individual-level antecedents, correlates, boundary conditions and processes of supervisors who display hostile verbal and nonverbal behaviours towards their followers (i.e., abusive supervision). More specifically, empirical research findings on the relationships between specific supervisor characteristics and subordinate-rated perceptions of abusive supervisor behaviours are summarized and critically discussed. To better understand what contributes to abusive supervision, the moderating role of follower characteristics and the greater organizational context are taken into account as well. The chapter closes with an integrated process model of abusive supervision, an outlook and suggestions for future research.

Part 2 The Outcomes of Destructive Leadership and Leader Hypocrisy

Abstract

A plethora of research has been carried out both in terms of addressing different conceptualizations of destructive leadership and its relationship with various outcomes. In this vein, this chapter focuses on the relationship between destructive leadership and followers' well-being. In particular, it addresses the current state of inquiry about the plausible effects of destructive leadership on the followers' mental and physical health, including experiences of stress, emotional exhaustion, and negative affectivity. Furthermore, it presents empirical research exploring the underlying mechanisms of this relationship. Finally, it proposes the implementation of occupational interventions to prevent and/or reduce destructive leadership behaviors and later provides recommendations for prospective research. Thus, the current chapter contributes to the extant literature by providing a comprehensive view regarding the detrimental effects of destructive leadership on the followers' well-being as well as offering insight into how to deal with its negative effects.

Abstract

A growing body of research with contributions from different parts of the world documents accounts and analyses of negative behaviors by persons in leadership positions. Researchers today are acknowledging and paying increasing attention to the consequences of leadership that is characterized as being destructive. The chapter outlines organizational outcomes of destructive leadership and aims to emphasize the person–situation interaction in explaining these organizational phenomena. Both the direct outcomes that result from poor decision-making and the indirect effects that emerge as a consequence of the destructive leader's negative impact on the followers are discussed.

Abstract

Hypocrisy is a widely recognized concept in both academic literature and popular media. However, very few studies have examined the reflections of hypocrisy in leader's behaviors in organizational behavior literature. Leader hypocrisy mainly refers to the misalignment between words and deeds of a leader. This chapter first provides a review of the concept of hypocrisy and its various conceptualizations in philosophy, social psychology, and organizational behavior literatures. The chapter then focuses on the implications of leader hypocrisy for organizations and its members by presenting the studies conducted on the emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral consequences of leader hypocrisy (word–deed misalignment) and leader behavioral integrity (word–deed alignment). Moreover, some of the gaps in the literature are identified, and suggestions are made for future research on the topic.

Abstract

This chapter is based on a study investigating the effect of downward mobbing on employees' stress-related growth (SRG) with the mediator role of burnout and the moderator role of personality hardiness and coworker support. Data were collected from 367 employees (177 females, 186 males) through MTurk. Self-report measures were administered to participants who have been exposed to mobbing by their supervisor/manager in at least one of their previous work experiences. Moderated mediation analysis suggested that burnout mediates the relationship between mobbing and SRG where burnout and growth were negatively associated. Coworker support appeared as a significant but inadequate moderator to promote growth. Post hoc analysis suggested that there is a curvilinear relationship between burnout and growth, and hardiness is a significant – but insufficient – moderator in the direct relationship. Implications for science and practice will be discussed.

Abstract

Toxic leadership is often studied from a leader-centric perspective, which focuses on the detrimental outcomes of leaders with destructive ideas and practices. In this chapter, we provide a global value chain (GVC) perspective, which accounts for effects of corporate leadership from inception of a product or service idea to its consumption across the value chain. In particular, we demonstrate how toxic leadership is sustained through an illusio, i.e., the allure of the often-charismatic leadership discourse, which is rendered unaccountable due to lack of global regulation of GVCs. This allows for global organizations and toxic leaders to exploit weaknesses in national-level regulation. Drawing on a netnographic study of toxic leadership in Amazon, we demonstrate how toxic leadership created the illusion of success while perpetuating toxicity and exploitation across their complex value chains internationally.

Part 3 Emerging Issues in Destructive Leadership: A Special Concern to Measures and Remedies of How to Deal with It

Abstract

As the literature reveals an ongoing debate on the lack of agreement for a comprehensive conceptualization and definition of destructive leadership, the measurement of the construct is still problematic. Therefore, this chapter aims to review and summarize the current ways of measuring destructive leadership. A systematic review was conducted to examine the destructive leadership instruments. This chapter covers both qualitative and quantitative instruments in assessing destructive leadership and provides a brief overview of the scale development of the instruments. In addition to destructive leadership scales, commonly used harmful leadership scales such as abusive, tyrannical and toxic scales were also included for comparison purposes.

Abstract

Organizations are investing their resources to identify effective leaders; however, the most commonly utilized assessments of leadership potential do not cover the social cognitions of individuals. Trait assessments, which are explicit in nature, also have other problems, including faking and socially desirable responding. In this chapter, we highlight the importance of leaders' implicit reasoning processes, with a particular focus on cognitive biases, in an attempt to understand how destructive leaders frame the world, situations and people and how they justify their choice of behaviours and decisions. Empirical evidence in the literature supports the valid use of implicit reasoning measurements in organizational contexts. Thus, we first summarize and list the cognitive biases of destructive leaders as identified in the literature. We then turn our focus on Machiavellian leaders as they have been associated with destructive leadership. We present the most common six cognitive biases and justification mechanisms of Machiavellian leaders based on our qualitative analysis of interview responses from 72 employees. We aim to encourage researchers and practitioners to make use of the literature on implicit reasoning and to further contribute to developing measures assessing such implicit reasoning processes.

Abstract

The global financial crisis proved profoundly shocking for economic and political life. In the United Kingdom, media reporting of sudden insolvency in the banking sector, its teetering on the edge of collapse and subsequent injection of taxpayer funds by a desperate government thrust sector leaders and negative aspects of their leadership into the public glare. This is particularly significant in light of pre-crisis reporting narratives that ignored negative attributes in favour of financial successes and dealmaking. Many sector leaders had been previously unknown, but where certain individuals had featured in prior media reports, they were often lauded for dynamism, risk-taking and ‘great man’ attributes. However, with the outbreak of a crisis and search for blame and responsibility, previously celebrated or ambiguous values and activities were surfaced for public judgement and found wanting or even dangerous to society. Whilst political and economic aspects of the crisis have since generated a great deal of research, only limited scholarship has focused on narrative understandings and myths generated around positive and negative leadership behaviours. Whilst heroes and villains have served as metaphors for human behaviour since early societies started telling stories, the abrupt nature of this crisis triggered metaphorical narratives to the fore. This chapter will consider the dual phenomena of press coverage generated around negative leadership stories and how patterns of villainy, illegitimacy, demonisation and ruined reputations contributed to shared myths of the crisis.

Abstract

Much of the cross-cultural research addresses the ongoing debate regarding the convergence or divergence of leadership theories and models in countries having different cultures and socio-economic conditions. This chapter aims to integrate destructive leadership and culture by pointing out the plausible cultural norms and values inducing or preventing destructive leadership. The chapter firstly provides brief definitions of culture and destructive leadership along with the cultural dimensions used to categorize the societies. Additionally, the chapter reviews the research findings pertaining to the perception of destructive leadership in different cultures and societies. While acknowledging the existence of universals regarding negative/dark leadership behaviours, the divergence regarding the understanding and enactment of the leadership is also stressed out.

Abstract

For many years, researchers from management, psychology, sociology, and other disciplines have studied not only the differences that gender makes in the style of managers' leadership but also how the gender of the subordinates affects their perceptions about the different behavior of male and female leaders. Those studies mostly focused on gender and constructive leadership styles, thus neglecting potential destructive aspects of leadership. Therefore, this chapter aims to understand the relationship between men and women and the observations of employees regarding the destructive leadership behaviors of both male and female managers. The results of the study, which was conducted with 130 participants who have been working under different managers, highlight several issues and interpret them in terms of the different psychological and sociological theories and models.

Abstract

This chapter reviews ethical challenges confronting nonprofit administration in relation to organizational managerial practices and leadership behaviors. Through a theoretical model of nonprofit-specific toxic leadership, it reviews the dynamics of destructive leaders, susceptible followers, and conducive environments in cases of unethical and corrupt nonprofit organizational behaviors. It provides a case for prioritizing oversight responsibilities of the board of directors, board supervision, promoting ethical culture in organizational leadership, and implementing policies for addressing destructive and corrupt nonprofit leaders. It reflects on how nonprofit toxic leadership primarily erodes public trust in the nonprofit sector and concludes with practical recommendations for recentering positive behaviors congruent with the nonprofit's social and public good mission.

Index

Pages 281-286
Content available
Cover of Destructive Leadership and Management Hypocrisy
DOI
10.1108/9781800431805
Publication date
2021-07-08
Editors
ISBN
978-1-80043-181-2
eISBN
978-1-80043-180-5