Why Your Boss is Programmed to be a Dictator

Business, Money & Investing

By Chetan Dhruve

Publisher : Cyan/Marshall Cavendish

ABOUT Chetan Dhruve

Chetan Dhruve
I've worked for several organizations including IBM, Cisco Systems and Britain's Department for International Development (DfID). DfID was called the Overseas Development Administration (ODA), and was in those days the aid wing of the British Foreign Office.  I've also co-founded internet More...



A radical new approach to boss behaviour using Systems Thinking

Do you have a bad boss or have you had a bad boss? If you haven’t chances are, sadly, you will have one in the future.  Bad bosses are everywhere, cutting across national and organisational boundaries.

Bosses induce anything from nervousness and anxiety to fear and absolute terror. But why do bosses behave badly? Why do apparently assertive and intelligent people bow down to bad bosses?

To solve the problem of bad bosses, conventional books tell you how to deal with a bad boss, or how to become a better boss yourself. But this new book makes the radical argument that bosses behave the way they do because of something outside of them. Similarly, something outside of you makes you behave submissively towards your bosses.

What’s that something? Through a field of study called Systems Thinking, this book investigates, and shows you why bosses are effectively programmed to be dictators.

"It's as normal to have a bad boss as it is to have a can of cola come out of a cola factory. It's abnormal to have a good boss."

- from my article in HRZone

The book also reveals how this results in our workplaces being built on the shaky foundation of fear, not freedom. It also provides real-life examples of the devastating consequences of the way organizations currently work, including:

  • The Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters (NASA)

  • The war on Iraq (CIA and other intelligence agencies)

  • The world's worst aviation accident (Cockpit crew/commercial airlines)

Ultimately, beyond getting you to do things differently, this book will change the way you look at the issue of leadership in organizations.


Hello there. My name is Chetan Dhruve and I'm the author of the book Why Your Boss is Programmed to be a Dictator. Thanks for reading this book sample. Here's the backstory. I had studied Systems Thinking as part of my MBA, and we had done a case study on a low-cost airline called People Express. The airline was extremely successful when it first launched, but folded later.
As part of the study, we were given a software tool that simulated the case. The aim was to prevent the airline from going bust. We tried several things - when demand spiked, we would buy new airplanes. If service levels dropped, we would hire more staff. But whatever we did, something else would go wrong, leading to the collapse of the airline.
The thing was, we were looking at each problem in isolation - analytically. Instead, we should have looked at the problem wholistically, that is, using Systems Thinking. It sounds easy and obvious, but it is actually a profound, fundamental shift in thinking.
The lesson was this: systems matter. Good people in bad systems produce bad results.

"Read this" - The Guardian (London)

"This book is a breakthrough" - Sally Bibb, former director, the  Economist (London)

"Why Your Boss is Programmed to be a Dictator takes an extra step back from similar books that look at the problems of bad bosses, looking at the bigger picture and giving thoughtful, articulate insight into the root causes of why such negative working environments and behaviours exist.

The explanations as to why we have such a wealth of bad bosses become almost shockingly obvious once approached from the angle of systems thinking.

Why Your Boss is Programmed to be a Dictator reveals innovative solutions that have had little mention in the current business books on offer."

- Management Issues