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Developing a process model of corporate hubris

Hubris in organisational life is often explained as an individual leader who is left unchecked to drink and get drunk on a too much power. At the heart of this idea is the organisation itself, the part it plays in perhaps ignoring, supporting or legitimising toxic beliefs and actions. This research project sets out to understand this complex relationship, moving beyond the individual by examining the role of the organisation in allowing hubris to gain purchase and spread. Our work aims to unravel the constellation of forces that lead to corporate hubris.

We examine different theories and ideas about hubris, how it emerges, and how it is sustained. We will do this by reviewing current scientific and management knowledge, by examining an existing case study and by conducting interviews with a range of senior leaders. We ask what distinguishes an organisation which enables corporate hubris to develop from one which hinders or prevents this behaviour? What types of governance and management practices play a part in this?

Our overall aim is to produce a model that will help leaders, managers and organisations to better understand the warning signs and so avoid corporate hubris developing.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Jane Hendy - I am a Professor of Organisation Studies and the Dean of Brunel Business School. I joined the school in 2016, having previously held posts at Surrey Business School, Imperial College Business School, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London.  Before pursuing an academic career I was a senior manager, consultant and advocate in the public sector. I regularly act as an advisor to business leaders looking to innovate. I research, consult and co-ordinate on large policy initiatives for government, applying organisational theory to leadership and innovation, both nationally and internationally. I regularly sit on commissioning panels for national and international healthcare funding bodies. I do research that is impactful, publishing in top medical journals and 4 star Business School ranked outputs.      During my work I have developed close links with the Cabinet Office and National and Local Government, providing consultancy on the development of policy-led initiatives for increasing innovation activity and system-access issues. Currently, I am researching Migrant's risk of communicable disease and their access to healthcare. Most recently, I am working on managing the risk of COVID-19 in BAME groups.        My research has been given as written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee, and featured in national and international press. I recently gave a presentation to Cabinet Office on

Related Research Group(s)


Human Resource Management and Organization Behaviour - The group's five main themes of research include excellence in workplace innovation, diversity, team work, social inclusion, and employee selection.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 02/07/2021