Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Absael Antelo


Daniel Dominguez


Osman Özturgut


Dorothy Ettling


Destructive leadership has serious detrimental effects on organizations and their employees. Today U.S. companies are spending an estimated $23 billion annually on healthcare costs (e.g. chronic absenteeism, high turnover, and dissatisfaction) resulting from the negative impacts of destructive leaders (Tepper, Duffy, Henle, & Lambert, 2006). This emerging theory was worthy of additional research because of the adverse effects it has on the personal and professional lives of followers. According to Padilla, Hogan, and Kaiser (2007), the success of a destructive leader depends on susceptible followers (Millennials) and a conducive environment, which creates a toxic triangle. In 2009, Trickey & Hyde conducted a 10-year qualitative study that focused on the dark side of leadership from the generational perspective. They discovered that Millennials prefer to abide by the rules, strive to please others, deliver work of high quality, have little trust in leadership, and demonstrate low self-efficacy. The purpose of this interpretive qualitative study was to describe the meaning of consequences of destructive leadership from the followers’ lived experiences. The two research questions answered in this study were: (1) what were the followers’ lived experiences when working for leaders perceived as destructive; and (2) how did destructive behaviors affect the personal and professional lives of the followers? In the study, I conducted 10 personal interviews. The participant demographic characteristics included individuals from the Millennial generation, completion of a four-year college degree, and worked fulltime for five years or more. The interview questions elicited data on experiences and the impact of working for a perceived destructive leader. The results indicated that the participants had an in-depth understanding about destructive leadership behaviors and were adversely affected by the destructive leaders. This is reason for concern for our future generation of leaders because supervisors who have abusive tendencies were victims of destructive leadership in their career (Aryee, Chen, Sun, and Debrah, 2007; Hoobler and Brass, 2006; Tepper, 2007). Research in this area is growing and this study provided valuable contributions to the research community that is focused on the dark side of leadership. It will help educate followers and their organizations about the detrimental impacts of destructive leadership.