Toxic Leadership in Context


  • Gary S. Metcalf Saybrook University; Sullivan University
  • Teresa A. Daniel Dean, Human Resources Leadership


toxic leadership, toxic behavior, workplace bullying, systems research, holistic model


A sizeable body of research and other literature has been developing about toxic leadership and workplace bullying.  Our earlier work found distinctions between tough bosses and true bullies in the workplace.  A later study showed that military officers were able to clearly identify differences between tough but effective leaders, and toxic leaders.  That work was extended into the organizational climates which seem to promote toxic leaders and bullies.  Other colleagues have explored potentials for changes in bullying behavior through executive coaching interventions, noting that some executives simply lack awareness of their behaviors, or the effects on those around them.  The focus of this paper is the synthesis of earlier findings, to begin a more systemic understanding about the relationships between individual, organizational, and societal behaviors with respect to bullying and toxic leadership.  

Author Biographies

Gary S. Metcalf, Saybrook University; Sullivan University

Department of Leadership & Management, Saybrook University; Distinguished Lecuturer, Sullivan University.  ISSS Past President (2008); IFSR Vice President 

Teresa A. Daniel, Dean, Human Resources Leadership

Dean, Human Resources Leadership