Articles

Managers Can Drive Their Subordinates Mad (1979)

Manfred Kets de Vries

"Eccentric organisational behaviour and folie à deux"

Execessive dependency on another is a state one usually grows out of, but when the dependency is mutual and reality seems to support it, breaking away may be impossible. In some business organisations, the conditions for unhealthy dependency needs to be gratified also can occur with disastrous effects for the parties involved and for the organisations. This article describes the phenomenon called folie à deux—and how what we often term eccentric behaviour patterns of people in organisations might be better understood in that context.

Harvard Business Review, 1979

Read more

Add Comment

Go back


Related content

"Unhealthy dependencies prevent leaders from reaching their full potential"

Mentor or Martyr? Beware the Rescuer Trap

In this article for Human Capital Review, Kets de Vries explores the Rescuer Syndrome—where the need to help becomes a self-serving addiction and—which creates an unhealthy state of dependency and prevents leaders from reaching their full potential.

Published on 6 Jun, 2014

"When mentoring becomes an unhealthy dependency"

Need for Reflection When a Helping Hand in the Workplace Goes Too Far

This article addresses how the desire to assist others can slide into a 'rescuer syndrome', in which the mentoring relationship becomes fraught with unhealthy dependency.

Published on 14 Nov, 2013

"Managing those who won't see the middle ground"

How to Manage Someone Who Can't Handle Ambiguity

This blog entry for the Harvard Business Review explores how one can manage leaders who see things in black and white, unable to accept a middle ground.

Published on 10 Mar, 2015

"Two extreme styles of managerial personality"

Managing Puzzling Personalities: Navigating Between Live Volcanoes and Dead Fish

This article reviews the two extreme styles of managerial personality, which can be found in business life:  hypomanic and alexithymic, and describes their effects on organisational performance.

Published on 1 Feb, 1999

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

What can be done about bullies at work?

Stamping out bullying is an uphill battle for everyone involved.

Published on 16 May, 2018

"Differences between Russian and Western leadership practices"

East and West: A dialogue about Leadership with Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

In this article, a dialogue between East and West seeks to highlight and pinpoint some of the similarities and differences between leadership practices in Russia and Western countries.

Published on 17 Nov, 2004

"Leadership in hybrid firms in India"

Leadership in Indian Organizations: A Comparative Study

This study identifies some of the ways in which the top leadership of hybrid Indian business organisations differs from that of Western business organisations.

Published on 17 Nov, 2002

The Neurotic Organization: Diagnosing and Changing Counterproductive Styles of Management

The Neurotic Organization: Diagnosing and Changing Counterproductive Styles of Management

This book offers an authoritative discussion of the irrational forces at work in organizations. It integrates psychiatric and psychology findings and insights with management and organizational behavior theory to reveal the underlying causes of many organizational problems.

Published on 1 Aug, 1984

"How to manage brilliant but tumultuous leaders"

Managing Thrill Seekers

Thrill-seeking employees' addiction to risk can create havoc in the workplace. Managed correctly, their fearlessness can be a great advantage to any organisation.

Published on 7 Jul, 2016

"Leadership in a digital age"

Evolving Leadership in the Digital Age




To become more effective and refective leaders, executives need to learn to improve their behavioural reactions to diffucult situations and develop greater emotional intelligence.




Published on 24 Jul, 2016