The Dean's disease: the Darker Side of Power

Art Bedeian's hilarious and sobering paper about how power corrupts even Academic Deans

I love Art Bedeian's work. He has written a range of often slightly subversive papers about theories and methodologies of scholarly research and academia in general. He has written about the peer review process, academics' response to publication pressures, the importance of a proper understanding of descriptive statistics, career mobility of academics, the role of referees, authors, and editor, and editorial board legitimacy.

The Dean's disease

The Dean's disease was one of Art's first papers about "the academic tribe" and is based on Art's three decades of first-hand observations on the effect of power in academic context.

  • Bedeian, A. G. (2002). The dean's disease: How the darker side of power manifests itself in the office of dean. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 1(2), 164-173.

Art is careful to say that not every Dean is struck with the disease. However, I have observed enough Deans all over the world that had caught a very virulent strand of the disease. The prevalence of the disease explains why many readers have asked Art: "How on earth do you know my Dean so well?"

You can read the entire paper on Art's personal website. If you want to know more about Art, the following paper might be of interest.

  • Moore, K. The Life and Times of a Senior Scholar: An Interview with Arthur Bedeian. Journal of Management History, 2014, 20, 347-351. [no free access unfortunately].