Journal article Open Access

The Dead Goat Syndrome in Organisations

Yawson, Robert M.; Osafo, Emmanuel

The use of metaphors to explore the connection between theory and practice in organization and leadership studies has proven to be highly effective. This paper discusses the dead goat syndrome (DGS) as a benchmark in discussing the importance of metaphor in organization life and to identify the various leadership types that conform to the DGS metaphor. The dead goat syndrome emanates from a popular Ghanaian metaphor literary meaning a goat that is already dead does not fear to be thrust with a knife. Using this metaphor, we present a new lens for looking at leadership effectiveness and identify the basis for certain leadership behaviors in organizations. We illuminate some definitions of metaphor by briefly reviewing the literature on the classical views on metaphors, metaphors in organizational theory development, and how the DGS metaphor can be utilized to identify certain leadership behaviors in organizations.

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