Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
An Exploration of Human Resource Personnel and Toxic Leadership
Sabrina Michele Maxwell
MA, Pepperdine University, 2006
MA, BIOLA University, 2003
BS, BIOLA University, 2001
Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Toxic leaders are destructive of morale, productivity, and organizational effectiveness. Literature has reported the perspectives of followers, and sometimes how organizations address those toxic behaviors, but research has not examined the perspectives of human resource (HR) managers who must detect the existence of toxic behaviors and handle with the consequences of them. To address that gap, the purpose of this study was to determine how HR managers handle the destructive effects of toxic leaders. Schmidt's definition of toxic leadership guided this phenomenological study about the lived experiences of HR managers involving the presence of a toxic leader. The goal of this study was to discover the processes used by HR personnel to identify and manage the conflict created by the behavior of the toxic leader. With this knowledge HR may be more effective and toxicity may be managed at an earlier stage. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 9 HR managers who reported some experience with a toxic leader and who belonged to the Professionals in Human Resource Association. The results identified a process commonly used by HR for managing conflicts created by a toxic leader, and revealed a negative impact of managing the conflict on the HR managers themselves. Positive social change may occur within organizations by applying the process outlined in this study for identifying and reducing the negative effects of toxic leaders before significant damage to people and organizations can occur.
Maxwell, Sabrina Michele, "An Exploration of Human Resource Personnel and Toxic Leadership" (2015). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 548.