Destructive leadership: Causes, consequences and countermeasures

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Journal Article

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Erickson, A., Shaw, B., Murray, J., & Branch, S. (2015, in press). Destructive leadership: Causes, consequences and countermeasures. Organizational Dynamics, 44 (4), 266-272.

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2015 HERDC submission

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




In 2010, David Matsuda, an anthropology professor, was asked to study why almost 30 U.S. soldiers in Iraq had committed or attempted suicide in the past year. His investigation showed that while those soldiers often had major problems in their personal lives, the victims also had in common at least one leader (sometimes a couple of leaders) who made their lives hell. While the evidence did not show that the soldiers’ leaders directly caused them to commit or attempt suicide, it did support the notion that the leaders who had made their lives hell had helped to push them over the brink. It was this finding that forced the U.S. military to confront the problem of ‘‘toxic’’ leadership in the army.

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This document has been peer reviewed.