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THE SELF‐FULFILLING PROPHECY LEADER: ACHIEVING THE METHARME EFFECT

R. H. G. Field

Journal of Management Studies, 1989, vol. 26, issue 2, 151-175

Abstract: Self‐Altering Prophecies are expectations by a source person that when communicated lead to behaviours of a target person that would not have occurred had the prophecy not been made. When the prophecy is confirmed it is called a Self‐Fulfilling Prophechy (SFP), when it is disconfirmed it is named a Self‐Defeating Prophecy (SDP). The most well‐known example of an SFP is probably that of Pygmalion, a sculptor who carved an ivory statue of a woman so beautiful that his treating it as it were alive caused it be become so. The living statue was named Galatea, and she became the wife of Pygmalion. The overall conclusion of literature reviews of the SFP in education is that an SFP effect undeniably exists. In management contexts there is some evidence that the SFP effect exists. In this article an SFP leader model is presented that may be prescriptively used by leaders in organizations to produce a group social situation of high expectations. Members of the group may then subsequently act with positive expectations towards others in the organization to create a new and energized organizational climate and culture. This change is named the Metharme effect, after the daughter of Pygmalion and Galatea.

Date: 1989
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