The Helsinki Times recently had a story on how it is that so many incompetent people rise to the top of their respective organisation. It is a phenomenon that I have observed many times over – it is probably even worse at universities than in the real world. Here is the money quote: “Employees are often baffled by how unsuitable people can rise to top positions and manage to hold on to their jobs. One explanation is that bad leaders appoint other incompetent managers.” Another explanation which I have always found quite cogent is that none of the empire builders in the middle and upper tiers of management want someone interfering with their ‘territory’, so they all agree to back the most incompetent person to head the organisation.
The article can be found here: http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/themes/themes/working-life/10401-an-incompetent-boss-turns-a-deaf-ear-to-employees-views.html