A special issue of European Journal of International Management
Organisational dysfunction characterises a facet of today’s workplace that is often hidden or ignored. In general, we expect, albeit naively, that business leaders will do the right thing. They are expected to act honourably, in accordance with organisational and institutional values, as well as acting ethically. The ideal leaders of the 21st century can integrate all the necessary subordinates and know how to build a team while making themselves dispensable. They know how to lead a diverse workforce, possess strategic skills, have a learning focus, as well as an international orientation. They offer constructive criticism when things go wrong and resolve conflicts diplomatically, respecting subordinates’ expectations and ambitions. Also, ideal leaders are expected to be passionate about their jobs. They are supposed to show emotional commitment and devotion and are expected to involve their personal lives in the organisation, thereby integrating their own ‘selves’ into the life of the organisation. They are one with the organisation; a symbol of its being.
However, such leaders are mostly mythical creatures. In reality, most leaders gain their position due to technical expertise rather than an ability to work with human resources, and consequently tend to be strong in operational and technical skills, but less so in relations-building-skills. Moreover, leaders’ performance tends to be measured on a cost-efficiency basis, and when pursuing functional objectives, leaders can often be dysfunctional for the well-being of those who are charged with delivering this functionality.
The incompetence of leaders manifests itself in various ways, such as indecisiveness and over-controlling behavior or an overriding concern for production and efficiency at the expense of the human resources. Opinions on leadership and leaders are thus often constructed on the basis of diverse rather than shared meanings. Also, many ‘successful’ leaders may have psychopathic, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorders, which, although they may sometimes help them in climbing the ladder of success, eventually will result in a dysfunctional workplace of others.
Leaders are people like the rest of us, human beings with emotions, fears, and desires. Leaders make mistakes, their actions have different consequences than intended, and sometimes they do not act at all. Based on this view, the aim of this special issue is to capture the ‘other side’ of leadership, to challenge the ideal image of the heroic and charismatic leader almost displayed like a superhero. We invite contributions that investigate the current state of emotions and dysfunctional leadership around the globe. We invite contributions that apply unique perspectives and analyses. Qualitative and quantitative as well as conceptual approaches are encouraged. Papers should also point to the future of leadership with particular emphasis on how best to advance the arguments, methods, and effectiveness of leadership.
Examples of topics appropriate to the theme of emotions and dysfunctional leadership include:
- Leaders as the disruptive force in their organisations
- The passionate leader
- The loving and caring leader
- Emotional ignorance
- Emotional workplace bullying
- Tyrannical behavior towards subordinates
- Leadership fantasies
- Micro leadership, with emphasis on roles and implications of roles
- Manic leadership
- Inaccessibility of leadership
- The invisible leader
- Manipulative leadership
- Management of meaninglessness
- Gossip and rumors
- Managerial cowardliness
- The 'successful psychopath'
- Consequences of workaholic tendencies of individuals in organisational power positions
- Prevention and intervention strategies - who sets them, how are they enforced?
- Whistleblowing - usefulness and effectiveness
- Feedback phobia
- Pushing employees outside their comfort zone - promises and challenges
Extended abstract submission deadline: 15 August, 2009
Full paper submission deadline: 1 December, 2009
No changes can be made to the papers after: 30 April, 2010