Deferring to expertise versus the prima donna syndrome: a manager's dilemma

Dekker, Sidney W. A. (2014) Deferring to expertise versus the prima donna syndrome: a manager's dilemma. Cognition, Technology & Work, 16 4: 541-548. doi:10.1007/s10111-014-0284-0

Author Dekker, Sidney W. A.
Title Deferring to expertise versus the prima donna syndrome: a manager's dilemma
Journal name Cognition, Technology & Work   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1435-5558
Publication date 2014-11
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10111-014-0284-0
Open Access Status
Volume 16
Issue 4
Start page 541
End page 548
Total pages 8
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Springer U K
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Deference to operational or engineering expertise is considered critical for maintaining safety in many industries. At the same time, legitimating specialized knowledge can help create "prima donnas," expert operators who attain considerable organizational status and informal power. Safety can be used as a lever to gain industrial advantage or maintain inequitable perquisites. This paper first considers the common consensus about the need to defer to expertise in safety-critical organizations and industries and assesses available research on the relationship between deference to expertise and safety. Then, it reviews two psychological literatures that illuminate some of the cognitions, behaviors and organizational dynamics behind a prima donna syndrome: one on entitlement and another on organizational narcissism. Conclusions and recommendations center on how to defer to expertise (not necessarily experts) while dealing with "prima donnas."
Keyword Expertise
Prima donna
Organizational narcissism
Psychological entitlement
Safety management
High-reliability organizations
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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