The dark side of teaching: destructive instructor leadership and its association with students’ affect, behaviour, and cognition

  • Paul T. Balwant
  • International Journal of Leadership in Education, December 2015, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13603124.2015.1112432

Destructive leadership in teaching

What is it about?

Much research on higher education teaching focus on the positive side to teaching. However, teaching is not always positive. In this study, I focus on the darker side to teaching via a leadership lens. Using 13 interviews, I found that higher education instructors can be callous in their communications, chaotic and careless, and irresponsible. These destructive behaviors are associated with students' reactions.

Why is it important?

Theoretically, this study (a) contributes the concept of destructive instructor-leadership, (b) extends previous organizational behavior research on destructive leadership by offering a multidimensional concept, and (c) examines the reactions of two manifestations of destructive leadership.


Dr. Paul T. Balwant
University of the West Indies

This paper provides an interesting perspective on 'bad' teaching in higher education. The rich qualitative findings boldly illuminates the destructive actions of instructors towards their students. The practical implications describe how to (a) minimize destructive actions associated with harmful outcomes and (b) alter certain destructive actions that seem to be associated with desirable student outcomes.

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