Management succession an administrative style
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This study of management succession is the second of two articles dealing with the events that occurred at a state mental hospital following a change of superintendents. In the first article we explored the ideological elements of the accompanying intrastaff controversy.1 In the present study we are concerned with the interaction of social structureand executive personality in determining the successor's role. This is in contrast to most previous studies of management succession, which have been focused primarily on sociological factors. Conceptually, this study is part of a recent trend toward the inclusion of personality in studies of occupational roles and organizational processes.2 We shall consider one aspect of an executive's personality, namely, his administrative style. We shall introduce the concept of tight and loose administrative styles in order to understand more fully the successor's behavior and subsequent events in the life of the institution.
- Joel Kotin and Myron R. Sharaf, “Intrastaff Controversy at a State Mental Hospital: An Analysis of Ideological Issues,”Psychiatry (1967) 30:16–29.
- Daniel J. Levinson, “Role, Personality, and Social Structure in the Organizational Setting,”J. Abnormal and Social Psychology (1959) 58:170–180. Richard C. Hodgson, Daniel J. Levinson, and Abraham Zaleznik,The Executive Role Constellation; Cambridge, Mass., Division of Research, Harvard Business School, 1965. Abraham Zaleznik,Human Dilemmas of Leadership; New York, Harper and Row, 1966. Daniel J. Levinson and Gerald L. Klerman, “The Clinician-Executive,”Psychiatry (1967) 30:3–15.
- Alvin W. Gouldner,Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy; Glencoe, Ill., Free Press, 1954.
- Gouldner writes: “A common indication of the degree and source of workers' resistance to a new manager is the prevalence of what may be called the ‘Rebecca Myth.’ Some years ago Daphne DuMaurier wrote a novel about a young woman who married a widower, only to be plagued by the memory of his first wife, Rebecca, whose virtues were still widely extolled. One may suspect that many a past plant manager is, to some extent, idealized by the workers, even if disliked while present.” See footnote 3; p. 79. The most dramatic example in recent times of the operation of the Rebecca Myth emerged in Lyndon Johnson's succession to the Presidency. William Manchester (The Death of a President; New York, Harper and Row, 1967) has documented in considerable detail the resentment of the Kennedy staff toward Johnson and his new lieutenants. He also shows how Kennedy staff members who did move vigorously to serve the new President were accused of opportunism and disloyalty by other “old lieutenants.” Perhaps more significantly, not only those close to the Presidency, but also large segments of the population were soon quick to emphasize anything they regarded as “bad” about the new President and to contrast him unfavorably with the departed and now idealized Kennedy.
- See footnote 3; pp. 93–94. Gouldner also describes two other strategies available to a successor to increase his communication and control: “close supervision,” and the use of “gemeinschaft techniques.” Each of these, however, has considerable limitations. Close supervision of subordinates by a successor is difficult in a large organization and may arouse resentment. The use ofgemeinschaft techniques-that is, becoming friendly with subordinates and working through the informal system—is difficult for a new man, especially if a Rebecca Myth is prevalent.
- Robert H. Guest,Organizational Change: The Effect of Successful Leadership; Homewood, Ill., Irwin Dorsey Press, 1962.
- See footnote 2; p. 249.
- See footnote 1.
- Bernard J. James, “Advanced Study for Psychiatric Administrators,”Mental Hospitals (1964) 15:686–688.
- See footnote 3; p. 93.
- See footnote 2.
- See footnote 3; p. 70.
- “Schlesinger at the White House. A Conversation with Henry Brandon,”Harper's Magazine, July, 1964; p. 58.
- Hans J. Morgenthau, “Monuments to Kennedy, “New York Review of Books, January 6, 1966; p. 8.
- John Cumming and Elaine Cumming,Ego and Milieu; New York, Atherton, 1962; pp. 128–129.
- SeeHuman Dilemmas of Leadership, in footnote 2; pp. 95–96.
- See footnote 1.
- See footnote 6; p. 23.
- Management succession an administrative style
Administration in mental health
Volume 2, Issue 1 , pp 46-59
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