Outside-the-box, but Inside-the-elevator: A Case of Leadership Myopia Reaching Media
Practitioners claim that successful leaders should be able to think out-of-the-box and “first break all the rules”. However, when it comes to organizational regulation inside some public institutions, more often than not the leaders replace the organizational creativity with an extreme exploitation of the existing rules. The “tendency to overinvest in exploitation” (Levinthal & March 1993) of the routines that proved successful in the past is well-known in the literature on organizational learning. In the present study, we examine a specific context in which a traditional rule meant to offer legitimacy to the public leaders was over-exploited up to the point when all national media reacted against the actions of the public institution. Thus, instead of obtaining more legitimacy, the leaders learned the hard way that the organizational rules should be assessed periodically and the obsolete ones be replaced/balanced with new rules, resulting from the exploratory dimension of organizational learning. We consider that an explanation for this specific case of leadership myopia may be found in a recently defined leadership style, ie, the spiritual leadership (Fry, 2003), situated in a case of over-exploiting an impermanent institutionalized rule (Schulz, 2003).
Volume (Year): 17 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
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