Investigating the challenges to senior leadership in complex, high-risk technologies

Richard N. Osborn, Blake Ashforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies of accidents involving complex, high-risk technologies point to the critical role of senior managers in balancing the dynamics among the determinants of safe operations. However, the prevailing though implicit assumptions underlying current leadership theory inhibit the systematic study of senior leadership in such technologies. We critique the prevailing view of leadership as context free, selfless, and centered on interpersonal influence, arguing that leadership can instead be viewed as constrained, self-interested, and indirect. We conclude that leaders in high-risk technologies in particular are self-interested within institutional boundaries and tend to become captured by the very myths and institutionalized structures and processes that they use to pattern the attention of their subordinates. Key challenges to leadership research are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
JournalThe Leadership Quarterly
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

leadership
Technology
Accidents
myth
accident
manager
determinants
leader
Research
Leadership theory
Senior managers
Interpersonal influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Investigating the challenges to senior leadership in complex, high-risk technologies. / Osborn, Richard N.; Ashforth, Blake.

In: The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1990, p. 147-163.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{0932e3022da648f798bc57d9aebb76c0,
title = "Investigating the challenges to senior leadership in complex, high-risk technologies",
abstract = "Studies of accidents involving complex, high-risk technologies point to the critical role of senior managers in balancing the dynamics among the determinants of safe operations. However, the prevailing though implicit assumptions underlying current leadership theory inhibit the systematic study of senior leadership in such technologies. We critique the prevailing view of leadership as context free, selfless, and centered on interpersonal influence, arguing that leadership can instead be viewed as constrained, self-interested, and indirect. We conclude that leaders in high-risk technologies in particular are self-interested within institutional boundaries and tend to become captured by the very myths and institutionalized structures and processes that they use to pattern the attention of their subordinates. Key challenges to leadership research are presented.",
author = "Osborn, {Richard N.} and Blake Ashforth",
year = "1990",
doi = "10.1016/1048-9843(90)90017-C",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "1",
pages = "147--163",
journal = "Leadership Quarterly",
issn = "1048-9843",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Investigating the challenges to senior leadership in complex, high-risk technologies

AU - Osborn, Richard N.

AU - Ashforth, Blake

PY - 1990

Y1 - 1990

N2 - Studies of accidents involving complex, high-risk technologies point to the critical role of senior managers in balancing the dynamics among the determinants of safe operations. However, the prevailing though implicit assumptions underlying current leadership theory inhibit the systematic study of senior leadership in such technologies. We critique the prevailing view of leadership as context free, selfless, and centered on interpersonal influence, arguing that leadership can instead be viewed as constrained, self-interested, and indirect. We conclude that leaders in high-risk technologies in particular are self-interested within institutional boundaries and tend to become captured by the very myths and institutionalized structures and processes that they use to pattern the attention of their subordinates. Key challenges to leadership research are presented.

AB - Studies of accidents involving complex, high-risk technologies point to the critical role of senior managers in balancing the dynamics among the determinants of safe operations. However, the prevailing though implicit assumptions underlying current leadership theory inhibit the systematic study of senior leadership in such technologies. We critique the prevailing view of leadership as context free, selfless, and centered on interpersonal influence, arguing that leadership can instead be viewed as constrained, self-interested, and indirect. We conclude that leaders in high-risk technologies in particular are self-interested within institutional boundaries and tend to become captured by the very myths and institutionalized structures and processes that they use to pattern the attention of their subordinates. Key challenges to leadership research are presented.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0000481726&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0000481726&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/1048-9843(90)90017-C

DO - 10.1016/1048-9843(90)90017-C

M3 - Article

VL - 1

SP - 147

EP - 163

JO - Leadership Quarterly

JF - Leadership Quarterly

SN - 1048-9843

IS - 3

ER -