Mal-Leaders and organizational decline

Marcia Lynn Whicker, Dorothy Olshfski, Raphael J. Caprio, Ruth Ann Strickland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter identifies mal-leadership as a force contributing to organizational decline. Several types of mal-leader are identified: the absentee leader, controller, busybody, hedonist, enforcer, street fighter, and bully. Stages of response by rational employees to mal-leaders are trust and cooperation, disappointment and disillusionment, outrage and contempt, covert game playing, open warfare, siege mentality, and isolation and alienation. Strategies for reversingorganization decline range from expanding the organizational resource base to removing the mal-leader, restructuring theorganization, and abolishing the organization. Most scholars focus upon the desirable qualities and types of leadership that lead to high organizational and institutional performance. The absentee leader is a disengaged, remote mal-leader who is only tangentially involved in organizational decisions, manipulates symbols more than substance, and doesn't mind the organizational store. Individual strategies for dealing with mal-leaders are cumbersome, threatening, and difficult.Several strategies can be used to halt and reverse organizational decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Bureaucracy
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781351564670
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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