Rogues Gallery of Managers

Self-love is no part of morality. Indeed it is exactly its counterpart. It is the sole antagonist of virtue leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others.
--Thomas Jefferson, 1814, in a letter to a friend.  

Practitioners of the learned professions [theology, medicine and law] regarded their professions as altruistic—it was one thing to become wealthy in the service of others, but quite another to become rich in no apparent service other than one’s own interest.
--Cheit, 1974.

Dark Leadership

Is the recent global financial crisis due in large part to the emergence of a dark-leadership type (Boddy, 2011)?   Emerging research suggests a connection and here I muse upon a possibly important antecedent, the rise of shareholder-value theory. 

Top Ten CEO Scandals (Time magazine, 8/10/10)

Much of the current behavioral trends of managers, along with social and financial consequences, have been covered in detail elsewhere: Enron, Worldcom, banks "too big to fail," and all the rest.  There is little point in re-creating that here.  (Follow the jump above for a refresher.)  From a research standpoint, it is more interesting to to explore the commonalities among the rogues gallery than to recount these well-known events.  This may lead to understanding causal relationships and the ability to effectively shape a new management culture.  Questions of interest here in include:

» In business management practice, could a commonality of negative personality traits be part of the explanation for this subset of management behavior?

» If this is a trend or typology, can it be affected by the business professional education curriculum design and experience? 

» If so, in what ways can business professors act as change agents? 

Through my reading I am coalescing around the idea that the Dark Triad of personality disorders can be instructive (perhaps predictive) and that infusing professional standards into management education might be a lever for change.  I don't claim this is a comprehensive review of the literature, but a first pass at gathering the threads of diverse readings. 

Do you have questions or comments?  Please join the conversation by clicking the "Collegial Conversation" link to the left. 

Thanks for your interest,

Steve Ball

Stephen R. Ball, Ph.D., Professor of Management,
College for Professional Studies at Siena Heights University