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Gabriël Anthonio, Professor by Special Appointment of Sociology of Leadership, Organizations and Sustainability

'Top-down management leads to change fatigue and alienation in organizations'
02 October 2015
Gabriël Anthonio
Gabriël Anthonio

On 1 September, Gabriël Anthonio was appointed Professor by Special Appointment of Sociology of Leadership, Organizations and Sustainability at the University of Groningen Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. This chair was created by the Practice & Research Foundation of Stenden University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. Anthonio is also Director of the Governing Board at Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland (North Netherlands Drug Rehabilitation, VNN) and he lectures at Stenden University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. He teaches on the role of personal and value-driven leadership in organizational change.

Anthonio’s teaching and research mandate focuses on leadership. Leadership deals with the ways in which a leader impacts on their environment, but also vice versa. The environment is instrumental in determining whether someone is perceived as a leader. Employees are increasingly suffering from change fatigue at work. This is accompanied by a strong sense of alienation from the organization and in particular from management. This negative perception on the part of employees is further reflected in interactions with clients or patients, but also in the organization’s networks and collaborations. As a result, leadership, in particular as practised by the management, acquires a negative connotation. How can leaders break through and prevent change fatigue and alienation from organization and management in their employees? More positively, how can leaders implement organizational change in a sustainable manner?

Exit top-down management

Anthonio: ‘The primarily rational vertical structures used to shape change have had their day. People are tired of pyramid structures with their top-down communication and imposed changes. Employees sometimes feel alienated from their organization because of their perception that the management sees them as objects of production whose sole purpose is to yield profits. Leaders must look for a new, sustainable balance between vertical and horizontal forms of management and organization that can prevent change fatigue and alienation.’

Link between research and practice

Anthonio aims for a strong connection between research and practice. His research group consists of PhD students from the University and from the work field. His teaching and research mandate fits in within the University of Groningen’s focus on Sustainable Society. It is very much in line with other teaching and research in this area.

Anthonio: ‘As a manager, I was able to experience first-hand what happens in the field while at the same time reflecting on it from a research perspective. I learnt a lot from this process, and it led me to many new insights. At conferences and lectures, I notice that people find it easier to listen to someone who not only understands the theory, but also has extensive experience in management.’

Gabriël Anthonio (1963) is a recognized expert in the field of leadership and change. For many years, he has given lectures at conferences and taught guest classes on leadership, organizational change, and collaboration. Through his teaching and research he contributes to a critical dialogue about leadership within organizations and the search for meaningful forms of change and collaboration for the future.

Last modified:16 October 2015 1.12 p.m.
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