Views of Managerial Derailment From Above and Below: The Importance of a Good Relationship With Upper Management and Putting People at Ease1


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    The authors contributed equally to this manuscript, and the order of the authors is alphabetical. Portions of this paper are based on a poster that was presented at the April 2007 meeting of the Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology Conference, New York, NY.

William A. Gentry, Center for Creative Leadership, One Leadership Place, P.O. Box 26300, Greensboro, NC 27438-6300. E-mail:


Managerial derailment can harm the manager, the morale of coworkers, and can be costly to the organization. Using the logic of social exchange theory and “trickle-down” studies, managers who work effectively with upper management may also work effectively with others. In a field study using a sample of 1,978 practicing managers, the effectiveness of a manager's relationships with upper management positively related to the manager's ability to put people at ease, relating to lessened boss, direct-report, and self-ratings of the extent to which the manager displays the behaviors and characteristics that may lead to potential derailment. Effectively working with upper management may thus have positive implications for the treatment of others, and the potential to derail.