Founder's syndrome

Founder's Syndrome

Founder's syndrome

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Founder's syndrome, sometimes called Founderitis , is a label normally used to refer to a pattern of behavior on the part of the founder(s) of an organization that, over time, becomes maladaptive to the successful accomplishment of the organizational mission. The term is anecdotal/unofficial and does not actually refer to a medical syndrome. It is particularly common where there has only been one person leading the organization or the board of directors since its inception and commonly occurs in both non-profit and for-profit.

An organization faces founder's syndrome as the scope of activities widen and number of stakeholders increase. Without an effective and inclusive decision making structure and process there is potential for conflict between newcomers, seeking effective involvement with organizational development and the founder(s) who seek to dominate the decision making process. This can be very disruptive, both to the organization and to the individuals concerned and should be carefully and clearly diagnosed and addressed quickly and decisively.

There are a number of negative effects that may occur when an original founder CEO seeks to maintain disproportionate power and influence beyond the initial growth phase of an organization.

  • Exclusion of newcomers: First, a founder's passion and charisma, initially essential to the successful establishment of an......
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