Master of Philosophy in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics in the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania
Advisor: Ruth L. Orenstein


This thesis presents a theoretical analysis for understanding and managing the root cause of the unscrupulous activities carried out by contemporary organizational leaders across a variety of industries. The current socio-economic impact of these actions requires that we thoroughly understand the characteristics that precipitate them. This analysis incorporates the work of Otto F. Kernberg, M.D. in Ideology, Conflict and Leadership in Groups and Organizations (2002) on the psychology of behavior of individuals, leaders and groups within organizations. Suffering Souls, the Search for the Roots of Psychopathy (2008) by John Seabrook is referenced in addressing the similarities between the characteristics of non-violent psychopaths and those of deviant organizational leaders. The work of Philip E. Tetlock, Ph.D. (1999, 2000) on accountability and responsibility within organizations is referenced along with that of Kim Cameron, Ph.D. (2003, 2004, 2005) on ethics, virtue and Positive Organizational Scholarship. The origins, popularity and limitations of organizational controls for unethical and illegal practices are discussed. The Baptist Healthcare Corporation model (2005) for operational effectiveness is presented to support the positive impact a dedicated, ethical and driven organizational leader has. Positive Organizational Scholarship (2005) as defined by Kim S. Cameron as a way of spreading what organizations do well is presented as part of the education needed to emulate what good organizations do. My conclusions are supported by my own experiences and the theories discussed, pointing to individual leaders as the primary drivers of managing and eliminating organizational deviance.



Date Posted: 15 October 2009