MGT549 Toxic Leadership (8)


This subject aims to explore the effects of destructive leadership in organisations and groups and the behaviour of organisational / group leaders. This subject explores psychological, psychoanalytical and systemic approaches to assist in identifying, understanding and coping with toxic leadership styles and behaviours. The subject will also explore the interesting tension between the perception of dysfunctional leadership in organisations and groups where others may perceive the leaders as heroic or transformational. The subject will pose a range of difficult behaviours such as neglect of duty, abuse of power and unacceptable behaviours such as bullying. Students will work to develop practical strategies to identify and handle dysfunction in organisations and groups.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 2
OnlineBathurst Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: MGT549
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Management and Marketing

Assumed Knowledge


Enrolment restrictions

Post graduate students only.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to identify and discuss theories of toxic leadership and how they relate to the practice of leadership;
  • be able to analyse the complexity of toxic leadership which involves a relationship between leaders, their followers and the environment situations;
  • be able to build a theoretical framework for the practice of leadership in organisations and groups to minimise the possibility of toxic leadership emerging;
  • be able to critique and synthesise a number of theories explaining and profiling toxic leadership; and
  • be able to analyse several toxic leadership scenarios and explore strategies and techniques to improve their abilities to handle these situations in their own work groups and organisations.


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Why good leadership is important
  • Introduction to toxic and destructive leadership
  • Why do people follow bad leaders?
  • The role of the external environment
  • Dominant types of toxic leaders
  • The dark side of transformational leaders
  • The role of followers and organisations
  • How to handle the toxic/destructive leader
  • How to help the toxic/destructive leader
  • Is the leader really toxic or destructive?
  • Recapping the importance of good leadership, successful systems and ethical governance


The information contained in the 2017 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 25 August 2017. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.