Bernard M.Bass has incorporated a decade of new findings on the newest theories and models of leadership; intellectual and interpersonal competence; motivation; the nature of power and Machiavellianism; charismatic and transformational leadership; leadership and women, Hispanics, and Orientals; leadership succession; substitutes; culture; and the role of leadership and organizations in dealing with stress, crisis, and disaster.
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Bernard M. Bass is Distinguished Professor of Management at the State University of New York, Binghamton, and author of numerous articles and books, including Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations (The Free Press).Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Concepts of Leadership
Leadership is one of the world's oldest preoccupations. The understanding of leadership has figured strongly in the quest for knowledge. Purposeful stories have been told through the generations about leaders' competencies, ambitions, and shortcomings; leaders' rights and privileges; and the leaders' duties and obligations.
Leaders as prophets, priests, chiefs, and kings served as symbols, representatives, and models for their people in the Old and New Testaments, in the Upanishads, in the Greek and Latin classics, and in the Icelandic sagas. In the Iliad, higher, transcendental goals are emphasized: "He serves me most, who serves his country best" (Book X, line 201). The Odyssey advises leaders to maintain their social distance: "The leader, mingling with the vulgar host, is in the common mass of matter lost" (Book III, line 297). The subject of leadership was not limited to the classics of Western literature, It was of as much interest to Asoka and Confucius as to Plato and Aristotle.
Myths and legends about great leaders were important in the development of civilized societies. Stories about the exploits of individual heroes (and occasionally heroines) are central to the Babylonian Gilgamesh, Beowolf, the Chanson de Roland, the Icelandic sagas, and the Ramayana (now they would be called cases). All societies have created myths to provide plausible and acceptable explanations for the dominance of their leaders and the submission of their subordinates (Paige, 1977). The greater the socioeconomic injustice in the society, the more distorted the realities of leadership -- its powers, morality and effectiveness -- in the mythology.
The study of leadership rivals in age the emergence of civilization, which shaped its leaders as much as it was shaped by them. From its infancy, the study of history has been the study of leaders -- what they did and why they did it. Over the centuries, the effort to formulate principles of leadership spread from the study of history and the philosophy associated with it to all the developing social sciences. In modern psychohistory, there is still a search for generalizations about leadership, built on the in-depth analysis of the development, motivation, and competencies of world leaders, living and dead.
Written philosophical principles emerged early. As can be seen in Figure 1.1, the Egyptian hieroglyphics for leadership (seshemet), leader (seshemu) and the follower (shemsu) were being written 5,000 years ago.
In 2300 B.C. in the Instruction of Ptahhotep, three qualities were attributed to the Pharoah. "Authoritative utterness is in thy mouth, perception is in thy heart, and thy tongue is the shrine of justice" (Lichtheim, 1973). The Chinese classics, written as early as the sixth century B.C., are filled with hortatory advice to the country's leaders about their responsibilities to the people. Confucius urged leaders to set a moral example and to manipulate rewards and punishments for teaching what was right and good. Taoism emphasized the need for the leader to work himself out of his job by making the people believe that successes were due to their efforts.
Greek concepts of leadership were exemplified by the hereos in Homer's Iliad. Ajax symbolized inspirational leadership and law and order. Other qualities that the Greeks admired and thought were needed (and sometimes wanting) in heroic leaders were (1)justice and judgment (Agamemnon), (2) wisdom and counsel (Nestor), (3) shrewdness and cunning (Odysseus), and (4) valor and activism (Achilles) (see Sarachek, 1968). (Shrewdness and cunning are not regarded as highly in contemporary society as they once were.) Later, Greek philosophers, such as Plato in the Republic, looked at the requirements for the ideal leader of the ideal state (the philosopher king). The leader was to be the most important element of good government, educated to rule with order and reason. In Politics, Aristotle was disturbed by the lack of virtue among those who wanted to be leaders. He pointed to the need to educate youths for such leadership. Plutarch, although he was involved with prosocial ideals about leadership, compared the traits and behavior of actual Greek and Roman leaders to support his point of view in The Parallel Lives (Kellerman, 1987).
A scholarly highlight of the Renaissance was Machiavelli's (1513/1962) The Prince. Machiavelli's thesis that "there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things" is still a germane description of the risks of leadership and the resistance to it. Machiavelli was the ultimate pragmatist. He believed that leaders needed steadiness, firmness, and concern for the maintenance of authority, power, and order in government. It was best if these objectives could be accomplished by gaining the esteem of the populace, but if they could not, then craft, deceit, threat, treachery, and violence were required (Kellerman, 1987). Machiavelli is still widely quoted as a guide to an effective leadership of sorts, which was the basis for a modern line of investigation with the Mach scale (Christie & Geis, 1970). A 1987 survey of 117 college presidents reported that they still found The Prince highly relevant.
In the same way, a fundamental principle at West Point today can be traced back to Hegel's (1830/1971) Philosophy of Mind which argued that by first serving as a follower, a leader subsequently can best understand his followers. Hegel thought that this understanding is a paramount requirement for effective leadership.
Leadership is a universal phenomenon in humans and in many species of animals.
Animal Origins. Leadership predates the emergence of humankind. Allee (1945, 1949, 1951) maintained that all vertebrates that live in groups exhibit social organization and leadership. High-ranking males feed more freely than do other members of the group and tend to have more ready access to females. In some cases, high status involves guard duty and protection of the herd.
Pecking Order. Individual animals dominate or submit their local spaces to others in the well-known pecking order. In one of the early experiments on animal social relations, Murchison (1935) placed roosters at opposite ends of a narrow runway and measured the distance that each advanced toward the other. As a result of successive pairings, he was able to determine a strict hierarchy of dominance. Rooster A invariably dominated all the remaining subjects. At the bottom of the hierarchy was the rooster who yielded to all the others.
Douglis (1948) removed hens from their home flocks and placed them in other flocks for short periods. The hens' pecking order in each flock was observed. It was found that a hen can become an assimilated member in at least five different flocks and have a different status in each. The hen can recognize and react to the status or esteem of as many as 27 individuals. Highly dominant hens become assimilated within three days, but hens that were not dominant required three to six weeks to become assimilated. Once established, a hierarchy tended to maintain itself.
Dominance Effects in Primates. Miller and Murphy (1956) and Warren and Maroney (1969) tested pairs of monkeys who were competing for food in an area and observed strict dominance hierarchies. Subordinate animals were more successful in obtaining low-preference, rather than middle- or high-preference, foods. Bernstein (1964) noted that when the dominant male was removed from a group of monkeys, the activities of other males increased. After the dominant male returned, he resumed his dominant status and the activities of other males decreased.
Carpenter (1963) studied societies of monkeys and apes. His general findings suggested that the leader tended to control the group's movement in its search for food and shelter, regulate intragroup status, defend the group, and maintain its integrity in its contacts with other organized groupings. When the dominant male was removed from the group, the territory covered by the group was markedly reduced. Thus, the leader enlarged the freedom of the group's movement. But the dominant male tended to be avoided by low-ranking males. In some bands, the one or two males that were next in rank stood by the leader to ward off intruders and were permitted to groom him on occasion.
Again, Mason (1964) reported that leaders among groups of monkeys and apes appeared to have the primary function of initiating progressions and determining the line of march. The dominant males quelled intragroup fights, protected the females and young, were attractive to all members, were sought out by females, and influenced the size of the group's territorial range.
Zajonc (1969) interpreted the fact that fighting disappears almost entirely in primate groups after a hierarchy of dominance has been established as evidence that such groups develop norms. The norms are learned by group members, are stable but can be changed, and are complied with by the majority of members. Koford (1963) observed that the relative dominance of two bands of monkeys that meet at an eating place is usually determined by the relative dominance of the leaders of the bands. Once the dominance of a band has been established, it is observed by the other group, even in the absence of the other leader. Experimentation and observation in natural settings suggest that groups of animals develop strongly differentiated status hierarchies that their members recognize and observe. In primate groups, leaders obtain privileges that tend to bolster their dominance. Their presence is an advantage to the group in gaining possession of a desired territory and in expanding the area of free movement for the group. However, whether these findings and similar results reported for packs of wolves and hyenas, elephant matriarchies, bands of gorillas, and pods of whales are relevant to understanding the human condition remains controversial.
Humans. Parenthood, a condition that unarguably cuts across cultural lines, makes for ready-made patterns of leadership. Nevertheless, the patterns of behavior that are regarded as acceptable in leaders differ from time to time and from one culture to another. Citing various anthropological reports on primitive groups in Australia, Fiji, New Guinea, the Congo, and elsewhere, H. L. Smith and Krueger (1933) concluded that leadership occurs among all people, regardless of culture, be they isolated Indian villagers, nomads of the Eurasian steppes, or Polynesian fisherfolk. Lewis (1974) concluded, from a more recent anthropological review, that even when a society does not have institutionalized chiefs, rulers, or elected officials, there are always leaders who initiate action and play central roles in the group's decision making. No societies are known that do not have leadership in some aspects of their social life, although many may lack a single overall leader to make and enforce decisions.
Leaders, such as Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and the Macabees, were singled out in the Old Testament for a detailed exposition of their behavior and relations with God and their people. God was the supreme leader of his Chosen People who clarified, instructed, and directed what was to be done through the words of his Prophets and arranged for rewards for compliance and punishment for disobedience to the laws and rules He had handed down to Moses. In Islam, the ideal caliphate leadership was based on religious law (Rabi, 1967).
In The Parallel Lives, Plutarch (1932), in about A.D. 100, tried to show the similarities between 50 Greek and Roman leaders. Latin authors, such as Caesar, Cicero, and Seneca to name just a few, wrote extensively on the subject of leadership and administration. Their influence was considerable on the medieval and Renaissance periods, which looked back to the classics for guidance. Their influence on Thomas Jefferson and James Madison has an impact on the design of the U.S. government as we know it, as did such Renaissance scholars as Montesquieu in his The Spirit of Laws (1748).
Military writings about leadership stretch from the Chinese classics to the present. Napoleon listed 115 qualities that are essentials for a military leader. Meyer (1980) called for a renaissance in the concern for military leadership, in contrast to the focus on the "over-management" of logistics. Resources must be managed by the military leader but are no substitute for effective leadership.
Theory versus Problem Orientation
The earliest social science literature on leadership was concerned predominately with theoretical issues. Theorists sought to identify different types of leadership and to relate them to the functional demands of society. In addition, they sought to account for the emergence of leadership either by examining the qualities of the leader or the elements of the situation.
Earlier theorists can be differentiated from more recent ones in that they did not consider the interaction between individual and situational variables. Also, they tended to develop more comprehensive theories than do their more recent counterparts. Between 1945 and 1960, students of leadership devoted more of their efforts to empirical research and, as a consequence, ignored various issues that the theorists regarded as important. But research on leadership became theory driven again from the 1970s onward, although these theories tended to focus on a few phenomena and were less ambitious than those of the past.
Research on leadership in some segments of the population (students, military personnel, and business managers) was heavy but sparse' on other segments (such as leaders of volunteer agencies, police officers, and health administrators). Because of the growing employment in the health, social service, and protection fields, there has been an upsurge in studies of leadership among nurses, social workers, and the police. In the same way, the increase and upgrading of minorities in the U.S. labor force has resulted in an examination of leadership among women and minorities. Cross-cultural studies of leadership have burgeoned as well.
The emerging propositions about leadership maintain their validity over time in strong cultures. Nonetheless, they also are subject to change because of cultural changes. Thus, over 50 percent of over 1,000 students from 8 U.S. universities who were surveyed about their attraction to the television series, "MASH," indicated that watching the program had modified their attitudes or behavior about organizational life. All but 5 percent considered "MASH" to be a realistic portrayal of organizational values and processes. The respondents felt an increased desire to work with superiors who treat subordinates with understanding and respect (Dyer & Dyer, 1984).
The Importance of Leaders and Leadership
Napoleon expressed ...
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