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Exploring Critical Perspectives of Toxic and Bad Leadership Through Film

Edwards, Gareth; Schedlitzki, Doris; Ward, Jenna; Wood, Martin

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Gareth Edwards
Professor of Leadership and Community Studies

Doris Schedlitzki

Jenna Ward

Martin Wood


© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. The Problem This article considers concepts of toxic and bad leadership from a critical, post-structuralist perspective and illustrates how this can be conveyed to management students through the use of film analysis. In response to the paucity of critical approaches within toxic and bad leadership studies, we suggest that film is a useful way of developing in-depth discussion in student and management groups to uncover underlying subtleties and complexity in leadership theory and practice. The Solution We connect to film clips from Batman: The Dark Knight, and explain how this film is used with students and managers to illustrate the ambiguous nature of “good” and “bad” leadership and explore the fluid, shifting, and relational nature of these two concepts. We conclude that students and managers can recognize this more readily through viewing, discussing, and analyzing film clips such as the ones discussed herein. The Stakeholders University lecturers and students, executive educators and managers, general human resource development (HRD) professionals


Edwards, G., Schedlitzki, D., Ward, J., & Wood, M. (2015). Exploring Critical Perspectives of Toxic and Bad Leadership Through Film. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 17(3), 363-375.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 17, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2016
Journal Advances in Developing Human Resources
Print ISSN 1523-4223
Electronic ISSN 1552-3055
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 3
Pages 363-375
Keywords toxic leadership, bad leadership, film, Batman
Public URL
Publisher URL


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