Week 6 Discussion 1 Toxic Culture

In the article “Who’s to Blame for Creating a Toxic Organizational Culture” Guthrie presents the position that as the leader, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was responsible for harboring an environment that led to what was termed Bridgegate. Based upon what you have learned thus far about leadership and organizational culture, do you support or refute Guthrie’s position? Cite at least one source to support perspective. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.

SAMPLE RESPONSE FROM A FORMER STUDENTDescribe the “tipping point” where power turns into domination

Donald Baack defines power as, “The ability to influence behaviors of others using formal and informal means” (Baack, 2012).  Baack goes on to describe domination as, “forcing and winning conflict” (Baack, 2012).  Power could be used for good or bad depending on the situation and the person in control.  If power is used for good, it may be done with the ability to influence others and attain goal achievement using ethical and positive persuasion to gain commitment.  If on the other hand, power turns political and is used to coerce or gain an advantage on people for your own self-interest and gain, you have reached a tipping point and moved towards domination.

Explain how these two dynamic forces are unavoidable.

In the book The Soul of Leadership, author Deepak Chopra explains the challenge of power when he states, “Every leader needs power, yet nothing brings more problems.  Doing without it isn’t an option.  If you lack the power to reach your goals, your vision will remain inert” (Chopra, 2010, p. 109).  Having power and exercising it in a positive manner that builds people and organizations up is the challenge of powerful leadership.  Unfortunately, power can be corrupted by politics and forces in an organization that lead people to engage in harmful activities that influence a culture in a negative manner.  I was once a part of an organization that was led by some smart much sought after executives.  While these folks had much power in the organization, they were very approachable and interested in the success of the organization.  A power struggle started in the organization over the takeover of a profitable group inside the company, and a power struggle ensued.  This struggle changed the dynamics of the organization and it ultimately became very political as people picked sides in the struggle.  The challenge with power and domination is the natural human instinct we all have, that sometimes knocks the voice off your shoulder when you know what the right thing to do is.


Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Chopra, D. (2010). The Soul of Leadership. New York, New York. Harmony Books.

Guthrie, D. (2014, January 16). Who’s to blame for creating a toxic organizational culture? Forbes. Retrieved from

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