The role of leadership in the success and failure of organisations is a well-researched area. However, much of this research takes a very individualistic view of leadership and does not explore the other factors that define leadership behaviour. In addition, this focus is often on the negative emotions associated with poor leaders, rather than the role that positive emotion (or a lack of) play in the development of a leadership and organisational culture. This paper explores the role of leadership in the development of an institutional partnership that established a work-integration social enterprise (WISE) with public money. The research was carried out over a two-year period in three stages: an early, middle and late phase. Semi-structured interviews were held with six of the Board members (three from each partner) as well as three of the senior WISE staff at each of the three stages (a total of 27 interviews). This partnership ultimately failed and the WISE is now a dormant company. The paper seeks to explain this failure by adopting a multi-theory analytical framework that includes ‘violent innocence’, ‘empathy’, and ‘partnership theory’ in order to show how a negative leadership style emerged at the WISE over time and ultimately led to its demise.
- institutional partnership
- team development