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The impact Toxic or Severe Dysfunctional Leadership has on the effectiveness of an organisation

Leet, Edward (2011) The impact Toxic or Severe Dysfunctional Leadership has on the effectiveness of an organisation. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The topic of toxic leadership has received tremendous attention in recent times, mainly from the popular media and to a much smaller degree from the research community.

The recent rise in corporate failures due to toxic leaders is alarming and the resulting concomitant consequences catastrophic. The phenomenon of toxic leadership has sparked an almost unprecedented and intensive debate on why such leaders were allowed to preside over such disasters to their organisations and to the global business community at large.

I investigated the definition of toxic leadership through a Delphi study of senior executives, gathering a comprehensive list of potentially toxic behaviours. From this list I developed a survey instrument of 65 items, administered to 177 respondents. Factor analysis of the data revealed a three factor solution with leadership competency, toxic leadership and indulgent leadership factors. Further, the survey findings demonstrated that toxic leadership and indulgent leadership have different effects on measures of organisational health.

•Leadership competency can be measured
•Toxic leadership can be measured
•Indulgent leadership can be measured
•Toxic leadership is different from indulgent leadership
•A Delphi Study can be invaluable as a qualitative tool in the process of developing a test instrument.
•An instrument can measure organisational health by means of surrogate constructs such as job satisfaction, intention to stay, intention to leave and organisational retention.

I discuss implications and consequences of the findings for organisations and offer some suggestions for future areas of research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Supervisor(s): Entrekin, Lanny and Baker, Geoff
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