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 7: Women, Leadership and Dissent

Patrice M. Buzzanell, Rebecca Meisenbach and Robyn Remke

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


Patrice M. Buzzanell, Rebecca Meisenbach and Robyn Remke INTRODUCTION A small group of faculty members gathered in a conference room to discuss prominent individuals at their universities and lessons the faculty members had learned from being on all-university committees. One professor described her participation on a top officer search committee. After a summary of candidates’ official records, ‘Sue’ said that the discussion among deans and VPs centered on the candidates’ leadership styles and administrative successes. All the records displayed outstanding achievements and all the names being ranked for the short list were middle-aged white men – except one. When Sue questioned why the lone woman to have survived previous screenings was not listed in the top three despite her considerable accomplishments, the committee members remarked that she did not seem to have a take-charge attitude and forceful style. Sue related this story with a smile. In the meeting, Sue acknowledged that the woman had a different style from the other candidates, but she also was able to point out all that this woman had done in a relatively short time, with accolades from those who reported to her. Sue remarked that if she had not been on that committee, the female candidate would never have been offered the top officer position. And that university would have missed a huge opportunity to bring in talent that helped move the university strategic plan in innovative directions and with member commitment in the process. So what was really going...

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