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Leadership Skills - Rationality in Decision Making

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Does power inevitably corrupt the powerful? Need thoughts and ideas to write about.

Haddock, V. (2006). Power is not only an aphrodisiac, it does weird things to some of us. San Francisco Chronicle, November 19, p. G-1. Retrieved from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/11/19/INGT9MCJHJ1.DTL

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Power in and within itself isn't corrupting as humans have the ability to possess power and do good or do bad. The corruption of people in power is more associated with the organizational controls that exist and ethics of an organization that lead to corruption of the powerful. I will give a brief example of this ideology wherein a study called the Stanford Experiment was conducted by a Stanford researcher. The researcher wanted to ascertain whether individuals that had never been given power over others would become corrupt and abuse their newfound power. Students were the participants with two sets of students participating in the study. One set were the guards, or those with power while the other set were inmates, or the powerless. The guards could have simply done their job and not abused their power but once a group of guards began to ...

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Rationality in Decision Making

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A Comparison of Leadership and Decision Making Styles

Pros and cons related to consensus-based versus top-down decision making processes.


Decision making is usually consensus based where the people involved hold a significant amount of power and their power is roughly equal. Considering the higher education environment, professors hold a significant amount of power. They enjoy tenure and can rarely be fired regardless of their views or productivity. Sometimes colleges have high-profile professors who draw students to the university thereby bringing in more money. This gives them additional power.
The pros to consensus based decision making is that it reduces the possibility of extremely bad decisions being made. Since you have many people involved with roughly equal power there is the tendency to question the ideas, motives and rationality of proposals put forth by other members. Another pro of consensus based decision making is that the status quo is very hard to change. Therefore if you have a good program in place one or two mavericks won't be able to come in and change the organization in a short amount of time. Typically in a consensus based decision making environment, members feel like they have some ownership of the process and invest time and energy into the school and/or program as a result of this feeling of ownership.

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