Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace
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Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace

Management Challenges and Symptoms

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski

A work exposing and exploring the phenomena of the dysfunctional workplace is long overdue. This fascinating book does just that, uncovering the subversiveness, counter-productive behaviour and unspoken ‘issues’ that managers struggle with on a daily basis.
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Chapter 6: Why Bad Leaders Stay in Good Places

Debra L. Shapiro and Mary Ann Von Glinow


Debra L. Shapiro and Mary Ann Von Glinow Studies of leadership traits or actions/behaviors that are linked to more rather than less effective performance by individual employees, teams and/or the organization as a whole (McShane and Von Glinow, 2007) are an important if not overwhelming part of the management literature. The importance of understanding antecedents to leader effectiveness is due to the fact that the destination, or fate, of organizations depends on who is in the ‘driver’s seat’ – that is, on who is leading. Of course, leaders cannot alone control their organization’s fate due to the inherently interdependent nature of organizational life (Weick, 1995). However, as ‘captains of their ship’, so to speak, leaders are expected to carefully select responsible and skilled ‘crew members’, to ensure that their ship’s technological operations are properly functioning, and that resources such as those related to procuring, training and developing, monitoring, controlling and communicating are readily available in the event of operational disruptions in order to limit such disruptions’ frequency and impact. When disruptions are due to ‘human error’, such as the recent tilting of a new luxury cruise ship, Crown Princess, on a calm day 11 miles off the Florida coast near Port Canaveral injuring hundreds of passengers (see Martinez, 2006), we look to the captain for explanation. As well, leaders are expected to discipline the culprits to minimize the damage that unintended or intended human error can cause. The need for leaders to be cognizant of, and reactive to, structural...

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