To be silent or to resist? Destructive leadership as a reciprocal leadership process

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of Health Management

Doctoral candidate: MScHealth Minna Hoffrén

Date and venue: 5.4. at 12 noon, auditorium SN201, Snellmania, Kuopio campus

Language of the public examination: Finnish

Language of the dissertation: Finnish

This study analyzes destructive leadership from the theoretical framework of management, utilizing critical management study and discursiveness. The study constructs an overall view of destructive leadership and focuses on its contrasting picture. The research highlights the factors that result in the development and manifestation of destructive leadership in work communities.

The empirical data of the research are management descriptions describing unfavourable managerial situations arising in health care and social welfare work communities. These descriptions consist of interview material, writing materials and answers to an open-ended question in a questionnaire. In addition, scientific articles considering destructive leadership constitute one part of the research material. The data were analyzed by membership categorization analysis, discourse analysis and concept analysis.

Destructive leadership is defined as a repeated and systematic activity, developing in a reciprocal management process between the work community and members of the work organization. The process requires both leader and employee involvement, even though the leader appears to be the initiator. In managerial situations, the work community and other actors in the organization also contribute to, maintain or prevent destructive leadership. In the study, destructive leadership is illustrated through four different management dimensions. These management dimensions make it possible to identify destructive leadership situations in the work community.

According to the results of the study, individual members of the work community criticize destructive leadership situations. However, the work community also includes members who have either passively adapted to the situation or who have had no understanding of ​​its destructive nature. Some members of the work community may benefit from destructive leadership, or pursue their own interests. Also, the study highlights the unrecognised use of power in the connection with destructive leadership and collective responsibility in these situations.

From the point of view of human resource management, destructive leadership results the under-utilization of personnel performance and skills. Destructive leadership appears to be a potential defect associated with working life, which should be recognised. After this, it is possible to make changes and to resolve destructive leadership situations. Responsibility for situations and operational changes require concerted involvement of the workplace community actors. In addition to individual coping strategies, community and organizational solutions must be identified. On the basis of this study, it is possible to create courses of action that prevent and resolve destructive leadership situations.

The doctoral dissertation of MScHealth Minna Hoffrén, entitled To be silent or to resist? Destructive leadership as a reciprocal leadership process, will be examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The opponent in the public examination will be Docent Pirkka-Maaria Laine of the University of Lapland, and the custos will be Professor Sanna Laulainen of the University of Eastern Finland.

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