Friday, June 03, 2016

Just When You Think That It's Over.......Marginal Benefits of the Shrunk Globe

I guess its finally time to confess
friends. Sometimes, I like reading academic papers or books. Why?
Well, I guess I like to know about subjects which have been in the news, so that I can boast online why they are in the news. Or, going the other way around, subjects which are interesting and which haven't been in the news. Here too I can tell you friends why they haven't been in the news!! LOL!

Nothing like that. I like to read academic papers as I want to know but there is again a division here. Mind you, I am a Mechanical Engineer but Math and Statistics now seem to be Ogres to me. Of course, this is apart from the Math I do now daily in my profession. Anything else (especially Calculus) and it seems that someone has lit dark candles in my heart. Yeowl!!

Before Thomas L. Friedman wrote about it, I guess I never thought about the effects of the flat, shrinking world. (I prefer the word shrunk more than flat as 'flat' takes away the very essence of dimensions). But I guess that's why Mr. Friedman is who he is, journalist and celebrity author earning a million dollars per annum.  On the other side there is me who cannot even convince my readers to click on the 'damn' advertisements. They are not meant for aesthetic appeal, friends but are meant to be clicked upon. Sorry for getting carried away but going back to the story,,,,, etc. are some of my favorite sites. The other day, I was reading about management and leadership when I came across the term 'destructive leadership'. I read that Prof. Stale Einarsen has written an elaborate paper on the subject.

As you can imagine, I googled the subject and the paper and found it on Researchgate. I read this brilliant paper throughout but I could not stop the evolution of a small thought bubble in my mind which started growing big. The next day saw me e-mailing the professor, albeit a little warily as I had no idea of how busy Stale will be and most probably just delete my email. However, Stale immediately replied to me back( something which never happened in India when I was doing my degree) and cleared my conception.

I think that this is yet another marginal benefit of the shrunk earth. Stale is in Norway and I am in Kolkata, but he has not hesitated to show me the way. Since then, I  have written to a famous sociologist praising her book but informing her that chopsticks are not used in Nepal. The lady replied immediately and thanked me and told me that she will make the corrections in the next issue.
This is what I have to say folks. Marginal benefit is the benefit of producing one extra unit at the same fixed costs. My experience is like the marginal benefit of IT growth and the Internet .
The relevant mails are given below.

1. My mail to Stale
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2015 2:44 AM
To: Ståle Einarsen
Subject: On Destructive Leadership

Dear Professor Einarsen,

I am an engineer from India and I’m sending you this mail  as I can’t seem to comprehend an aspect of your model of ‘destructive leadership’ in your paper “Destructive leadership behavior: A definition and conceptual model”.

In your paper you define Destructive Leadership as “Destructive leadership behavior is defined as the systematic and repeated behavior by a leader, supervisor or manager that violates the legitimate interest of the organization by undermining and/or sabotaging the organization’s goals, tasks, resources, and effectiveness and/or the motivation, well-being or job satisfaction of his/her subordinates.”

I am unable to understand the highlighted portion, Sir. Leaders are people who always keep their subordinates motivated or surely demotivated sub-ordinates will stop following the leader, in which case the leader is no more the leader as he leads none. The same logic is applicable to well-being and satisfaction too surely. How can a person without well-being follow? How can someone dissatisfied follow as their motivation is lost. During the fall of the Third Reich, there was an attempt to kill Adolf Hitler and Germany followed Hitler only because there was nothing else that they could do (civilians) and the military followed out of fear. Can leaders who have people following them because of fear and intimidation be called leaders? Should not leaders have people following them because they see a common dream (like Dr. Martin Luther King .Jr) through their leader’s eyes. A gang of ruffians can be led by their chief as all of them are villainous. They are not demotivated, nor their well-being compromised and they have full satisfaction from their jobs.( They are rewarded with both equal shares of wealth stolen and equal right to molest the women among whom they rob). Then, is such a leader of ruffians a constructive leader ? Or is he a destructive leader?

I am sorry if I’ve wasted your time. If you chose not to reply sir, I will understand.

Sincere Regards

2. Stale's reply
From: Ståle Einarsen <>
Date: Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 4:48 PM
Subject: RE: On Destructive Leadership

To understand our argument you have to think that a leader in this case is a leader or manager in a formal superior position. Hence we are talking about leadership in the sense of superiors and subordinates, not leader and voluntary followers
Such leaders may most definitely implement changes and behave in a way that reduces motivation and well –being of subordinates.
Hence, we are not talking about leaders and leadership in a normative sense, that is in the sense of effective leadership, but in the sense of what leaders actually do. Hence, this is a descriptive perspective on leaders in organizations. And in organizations, you cannot easily choose to not follow your leaders if they lead you a direction you oppose or in a way that you dispose.  
Furthermore, it follows from out model that all leaders may act both constructively and destructively. Just like parents. Even good parents that are loved by the children may at times do things that may make the children up-set , sad or irritated.

All the best!


Destructive leadership behaviour: A definition and conceptual model. Leadership Quarterly, 18(3), 207-216 :   Ståle Einarsen,Merethe Schanke Aasland and Anders Skogstad  ( Accessed at

That's the story friends. Hope you liked it and Staale(if you are reading for this), you have made a fan for life in me.

Your friendly neighborhood Hobbit

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