A commenter in the earlier thread linked to the informative CHE piece (subscription access) on the unfolding UVA fiasco, in which a key player was former Goldman Sachs partner Peter Kiernan, who is now one of the idle, busybody rich (having retired with his fortune in his mid-40s!); an excerpt:
The e-mail, which Mr. Kiernan sent to fellow Darden board members, suggested Ms. Sullivan's resignation would usher in a fast-paced series of unspecified changes.
"The decision of the Board of Visitors to move in another direction stems from their concern that the governance of the university was not sufficiently tuned to the dramatic changes we all face: funding, Internet, technology advances, the new economic model," Mr. Kiernan wrote in the e-mail, which was published in several Virginia newspapers. "These are matters for strategic dynamism rather than strategic planning."
So what is "strategic dynamism," and who are its practitioners? Quite the opposite of the methodical, long-term visions found in most universities' strategic plans, strategic dynamism implies a near-constant "stirring of the pot" within an organization, explains Donald C. Hambrick, a professor of management at Pennsylvania State University's main campus.
That could mean wild changes in asset allocation within a company's investment portfolio or a radical alteration of a business's marketing approach. Proponents of strategic dynamism value the potential rewards of substantial, fast-paced change more than the stability of a gradual strategic evolution, Mr. Hambrick says.
There's another thing about executives who embrace strategic dynamism: They're totally in love with themselves, Mr. Hambrick says. In 2007, Mr. Hambrick co-authored a study that found a strong correlation between a chief executive's level of narcissism and his or her penchant for making frequent changes consistent with strategic dynamism.
The study used five indicators to measure a chief executive's narcissism, including the prominence of the executive's photographs in a company's annual report, the frequency of the executive's name in company news releases, the disparity between the chief executive's compensation and that of the company's second in command, and the frequency with which the chief executive uses first-person-singular pronouns in interviews.
For those keeping score, Mr. Kiernan's e-mail to Darden trustees contains 19 first-person pronouns...
Unless someone reins in fools like Mr. Kiernan, there could be tough times ahead for UVA.