Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Edited by Stephen P. Banks

A timely discussion of dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes. This book explores the vital but largely unrecognized connections between leadership and dissent. From interdisciplinary perspectives the author demonstrates dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes and examines how dissent is implicated in problems plaguing theory development in leadership studies. By way of conclusion new proposals for legitimating dissent as a unique instrument for advancing social development and avoiding failures of leadership are presented.

Chapter 1: The Troubles with Leadership

Stephen P. Banks

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


Stephen P. Banks INTRODUCTION During the summer of 2005 tragedy struck the Boy Scouts of America, not once but several times. On Monday, 25 July, at the National Boy Scout Jamboree held at Camp Hill Army Base in Virginia, four Boy Scout leaders were electrocuted when they tried to erect a mess tent under power lines. Later the same week seven Boy Scouts and five adult Scout leaders set out to hike the John Muir Trail in California’s High Sierra. The troop encountered a severe thunderstorm on Thursday, 28 July at Sandy Meadow in Sequoia National Park, and they set up two tarp shelters and a tent in a high meadow to protect themselves from the storm’s fury. Lightning made a direct strike on one of the tarps, killing Assistant Scoutmaster Steve McCullagh and one 13-year-old Boy Scout. On 3 August, 2005, after the deaths at Sandy Meadow had been featured prominently in the national media, Boy Scouts of Troop 56 from Salt Lake City were hiking in the Uinta Mountains near Camp Steiner – at 10 400 ft (3170 m) the highest elevation Boy Scout camp in the US – when a thunderstorm arose. A group of six Scouts and two leaders from the troop had hiked to a spot above Camp Steiner and had taken shelter in a three-sided log structure the Scouts call an Adirondack. There they lay in sleeping bags to wait out the storm. Lightning struck either the Adirondack or a tree touching it, instantly killing a...

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