Leadership and the Lack of Decision

Location: Jepson 120
Date: Sat, April 27
Time: 2:25 PM - 2:45 PM

My paper addresses the non-decision in leadership. The paper begins with a historical perspective of the foundational philosophies grounded in Political Power and Organizational Theory. I will use several articles from previous research to define and describe a non-decision in terms of organizational dysfunction and disorder. Through the power lens, my research addresses organizational challenges of entities managed by a lack of leadership or driven by those choosing a laissez-faire style of decision making. I am proposing future research and opportunities for application in a modern organization seeking leadership success in a fast-paced, technologically driven world.


My presentation will reflect the work I am currently pursuing on the topic of the non-decision. The study is grounded in Organizational Theory and the specific issues are viewed through a Power lens. Given the theme of the Symposium, I will connect the importance of making a decision to the courage it takes to make those decisions in many organizations. Much discussion in academic literature and management studies can be found on the effects of coercive leadership and oppression, but little is known about the influence an indecisive leader has and what amount of organizational dysfunction can be attributed to an individual who cannot, or will not, make a decision. The purpose of this area of inquiry is to understand the reasons individuals in leadership roles are indecisive and to propose further research to help explain this. Foundational philosophies in this area are interesting, and surprisingly relevant given the number of years between the past and current theories. Future leaders may be better prepared if they have an awareness of the non-decision and the role it plays within an organization. I am questioning the role of decision-making and the value it has, and will have, in future organizations.

Paper