When Good Leaders Fail: A Temporal P-E Fit Perspective on Leader Derailment
Jasmien Khattab (Darden School of Business, UVA and SHL), Mark Van Buren (SHL), and Morela Hernandez (Darden School of Business, UVA)
Location: McCormick & Schmick's Crystal City
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Leader derailment is prevalent and costly, yet theoretical explanations for this phenomenon are incomplete. Extant research has examined the personal attributes of leaders, such as dark aspects of their personality that could be indicative of leader derailment. This perspective on leader derailment, however, attributes failure to the leader him or herself. We develop theory to push past the perspective that leaders who derail have innately “flawed” characteristics for leadership. Specifically, we argue that misalignment between the contextual demands of the job and the abilities of the leader drives leader derailment. We propose that organizational expectations can serve both as an antecedent to changes in person-environment fit, thereby increasing the risk of leader derailment if they are inaccurate, as well as an interpretive lens to evaluate current leader performance. By developing theory on leader derailment within an organizational context, we unpack the role of organizational expectations across time in leader derailment. We conclude with suggestions for practice to prevent, detect, and mitigate leader derailment in organizations.
Jasmien Khattab, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, and with SHL. She obtained her PhD in Organizational Behavior from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research revolves around leadership and structural inequality, including topics such as stereotypes & leadership careers, social networks & diversity, and diversity & inclusion practices. Her work has been published in Academy of Management Annals and is in press at Academy of Management Review. Prior to joining academia, Jasmien Khattab worked as a policy officer for the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the E.U. and the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice.
Mark Van Buren, Ph.D., is the Research Leader of the Product R&D group for SHL. With a background of more than 25 years research experience on talent management practices, he currently oversees teams engaged in a wide range of R&D projects exploring innovative analytical approaches and new sources of data to predict key talent outcomes. He has previously led several best practice research divisions, including the Learning & Development Leadership Council. In addition, Dr. Van Buren has served as Director of Research at the American Society for Training and Development where he oversaw ASTD’s research on worldwide learning and development trends, training for low-wage workers, and key training investment metrics. His particular areas of research at ASTD included leadership development, e-learning, and knowledge management. Dr. Van Buren received a Ph.D. and Masters Degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and both a B.A. in Sociology and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Dayton. He is an internationally recognized speaker and writer, having authored more than 50 articles, reports, and books. Currently, he is co-authoring a book entitled Learning Analytics: Measurement Innovations that Drive Talent Development.
Morela Hernandez, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Leadership and Organizational Behavior area at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia (UVA) and Academic Director of Behavioral Research at Darden (BRAD Lab). She is also the co-founder and co-director of the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative (CBSI) at UVA. Prof. Hernandez received her Ph.D. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Prior to academia, she worked in finance at Enron in Houston, Texas - experiencing the roller-coaster ride of this now infamous business case. Given her professional background, it might come as no surprise that her research interests and expertise focus on the ethics of leadership. She also studies the role of diversity in organizational systems and decision-making practices. She is widely published in a number of top-tier academic journals, including Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Psychological Science. Her work has also appeared in media outlets such as Time magazine, Financial Times, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post, as well as featured on National Public Radio (NPR). She is a quarterly columnist for MIT Sloan Management Review. She teaches courses on leadership at Darden, has worked as a leadership development coach for senior-level executives in the executive education programs at Duke and the London Business School, and consults with a number of government agencies, social profit organizations, and global companies. Originally from Brazil and Honduras, Prof. Hernandez speaks four languages.
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