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An exploration of both classic and contemporary conceptions of leadership, focusing on social psychological approaches to central questions such as the way people think about leaders and leadership, the personality attributes of leaders, power and influence, trust, and the qualities that sustain positive relationships between leaders and followers.



Conceptions of Leadership


Chapter One. Introduction and Commentary

In the spring of 1999, two of this book’s editors, Kramer and I, met for lunch at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago. Kramer was on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and I was on the faculty of the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. One of the topics that we talked about during lunch was the shift in emphasis in both business schools away from cooperation, trust, communication, coordination, and the like, to the related but distinct topic of leadership. Kramer and I were social psychologists and knew that the topic of leadership had been an important theme in some of the earliest research on group processes. However, as social psychology experienced an infatuation with the “cognitive” revolution in psychology, the topic of leadership shrank into obscurity. By the turn of the millennium, though, there were some new ways of thinking about leadership that had not been introduced to the business school environment. Why not, we thought, have a conference and invite some of social psychology’s most creative innovators to a conference to discuss these new approaches to leadership and then publish a book based on the talks? The conference was held in August of 2000 at the Kellogg School of Management, and the book based on this conference, The Psychology of Leadership, was published in 2005. Two of the creative innovators who were invited to the conference and who wrote chapters for the book are the other two editors of the current book, Allison and Goethals.
David M. Messick

Chapter Two. The Essentials of Leadership: A Historical Perspective

From earliest times, and presumably without pondering its plight, the animal kingdom—from apes to zebras—has sorted itself into leaders and followers. In the process, hierarchy ensued. Brains and brawn counted. The young and eager routinely mounted competitive challenges, which robust, more mature leaders handily crushed. Eventually, however, age, wisdom, and infirmity would give way to youth and vigor. Over time, the cycle, with some variation, simply repeats itself.
Jean Lipman-Blumen

Chapter Three. Ethical Leadership and Noticing

Four times in recent years (2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011), Time magazine named JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Institutional Investor included Dimon on its Best CEOs list every year from 2008 through 2011. In 2009, Newsweek declared Jamie Dimon to be “America’s Most Important Banker” and particularly the US government’s banker of choice (Newsweek staff, 2009). By 2011, though, the glowing praise for Dimon had begun to dim, and one story in particular explains why.
Max H. Bazerman

Chapter Four. The Personal Characteristics of Political Leaders: Quantitative Multiple-Case Assessments

A fundamental principle of political psychology is that psychology matters in the understanding of politics. Because both psychology and politics represent complex phenomena, with many manifestations, this tenet can adopt many different specific forms. Nonetheless, for the purposes of this chapter, two points stand out. First, an important subdiscipline of psychology deals with the personal characteristics of people. This subdiscipline is most commonly referred to as differential psychology, that is, the study of individual differences (Chamorro-Premuzic, Stumm, & Furnham, 2011). Second, a critical feature of politics is its leaders—the phenomenon of political leadership. Especially important are heads of state, whether presidents, prime ministers, monarchs, or dictators (Ludwig, 2002). These persons are reputed to have an exceptional influence, for good or ill, on their political system, whether democracy, autocracy, or oligarchy. Because political leaders remain persons, despite their exalted status in society, they too can vary in their personal characteristics. Furthermore, this variation can have consequences for their leadership, such as their ideology, decision making, or performance (Simonton, 1995). Hence, a central research topic must necessarily include the differential psychology of political leadership—the study of the personal characteristics of political leaders.
Dean Keith Simonton

Chapter Five. Social Identities and Leadership: The Case of Gender

Social identities matter in the leadership process. Renowned American politician Shirley Chisholm observed this first hand. She notes, “I was the first American citizen to be elected to Congress in spite of the double drawbacks of being female and having skin darkened by melanin. When you put it that way, it sounds like a foolish reason for fame. In a just and free society it would be foolish. That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black and a woman proves, I think, that our society is not yet either just or free.” Members of society’s nondominant social groups, such as women and minorities, experience greater difficulty in reaching elite leadership positions than dominant group members (Eagly & Carli, 2007). Taking a quick glimpse across the top influence wielding bodies in the United States we can see a disproportionate prevalence of white males in top leadership positions. For example, although white males account for only 34 percent of the electorate (US Census, 2012), 67 percent of the seats are occupied by white men in the 2013 US congress. However, women, who account for 52 percent of the electorate (US Census, 2012), hold only 18.3 percent of the congressional seats and women of color hold a mere 4.5 percent (Center for American Women and Politics, 2013). The numbers are not much different in the top echelons of the business world. For example, leadership on the boards of the Fortune 500 companies is dominated by white men; white men hold 95.5 percent of board chair positions with minority men (3.9%), white women (2.0%), and minority women (.6%) significantly underrepresented in these positions (Alliance for Board Diversity, 2011).
Crystal L. Hoyt

Chapter Six. Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a critical component of effective leadership. At least, that is the new, common wisdom. But the term EI is used in many different ways, and after 25 years of scientific study of emotional intelligence it is important to ask the questions “what is emotional intelligence (EI)?” and “what is its role in leadership?” The answers to these questions are “it means many different things” and “it depends.” The many meanings of EI are explored in this chapter as are the relationship of these meanings to leadership within organizations. We suggest ways in which EI should be defined and applied to leadership and discuss the promise as well as the limitations of EI in this critical domain.
David R. Caruso, Kerrie Fleming, Ethan D. Spector

Chapter Seven. Kings and Charisma, Lincoln and Leadership: An Evolutionary Perspective

Three people who dramatically and fundamentally changed American society in the mid-twentieth century were also among the most charismatic. All three were, and still are, heroes to many, in the United States and around the world. Though each one’s blend of heroism and charisma was distinct from that of the other two, each one was transforming. They were all leaders, who profoundly moved and changed both individuals and groups. To be sure, they were different kinds of leaders, but all three were, as Howard Gardner (1995) defined leaders, “persons who, by word and/or personal example, markedly influence the behavior, thoughts and/ or feelings of a significant number of their fellow human beings.” Call them “Three Kings.” One was Martin Luther King (1929–1968), a heroic leader who was central in transforming race relations in the United States. His emotionally moving speeches illustrate fundamental aspects of charisma. Another was Elvis Presley (1935–1977), “The King of rock ‘n’ roll,” a captivating performer who transformed not only popular music but also young people’s sense of how they could live and what they could be. The third is Muhammad Ali (1942–), The Champ, the self-proclaimed “King of the World,” whose speed and style changed the sport of boxing and whose uncompromising stances outsider the ring changed African Americans’ sense of who they could be and how they could relate to the dominant white culture.
George R. Goethals, Scott T. Allison

Leadership Processes


Chapter Eight. Creating and Maintaining Trust: How and Why Some Leaders Get It Right

When asked to testify before Congress as to the lessons, if any, Americans could derive from the Iran-Contra fiasco that nearly felled the Reagan administration, then-Secretary of State George Schultz famously asserted that, when it comes to credible and effective leadership, “Trust is the coin of the realm.” In some respects, Schultz’s words are even more poignant and applicable to today’s world, where levels of trust in both government and business leaders have dipped to dismally low levels over the past decade (Center for Public Leadership, 2010; Nye, Zelikow, and King, 1997).
Roderick M. Kramer, Kimberly D. Elsbach

Chapter Nine. Leaders and Their Life Stories: Obama, Bush, and Narratives of Redemption

In Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership, Howard Gardner (1995) wrote: “Leaders achieve their effectiveness chiefly through the stories they relate” (p. 9). Leaders express stories in the way they live their own lives, and they aim to evoke stories in the lives of those they lead. “The artful creation and articulation of stories constitutes a fundamental part of the leadership vocation,” Gardner claimed. Further, “it is stories of identity—narratives that help individuals think about and feel who they are, where they come from, and where they are headed—that constitute the single most powerful weapon in the leader’s literary arsenal” (Gardner, 1995, p. 43).
Dan P. McAdams

Chapter Ten. “Now He Belongs to the Ages”: The Heroic Leadership Dynamic and Deep Narratives of Greatness

When legendary South African president Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013, the world responded with an outpouring of heartache for the loss mixed with reverence for his heroic leadership. Foremost among the tributes to Mandela was a statement made by US president Barack Obama, who observed that Mandela “no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages” (Parnes, 2013). Obama surely was aware that his words mirrored those made a century and a half earlier by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton upon the death of President Abraham Lincoln. Of Lincoln, Stanton is said to have uttered, “Now he belongs to the ages,” although some claim that Stanton actually said, “Now he belongs to the angels” (Gopnik, 2007). Whether ages or angels, Stanton’s meaning was as clear as that of Obama. When extraordinary, transformative leaders perish, we construct rhetoric to ensure that their life legacies transcend the small time period in which they lived. Our language forges great leadership in eternity.
Scott T. Allison, George R. Goethals

Chapter Eleven. How Do Leaders Lead? Through Social Influence

From 1933 to 1944, US president Franklin D. Roosevelt used a series of radio broadcasts—his famous “fireside chats”—to persuade Americans to remain calm through a continuing series of financial, domestic, and military crises. In the early 1980s IBM hired Bill Gates to write an operating system for that company’s computers, but Gates convinced IBM to allow him to market the system through his own start-up company, which he named Microsoft. In 2013 Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Syria’s leaders, warning them the United States would launch a military strike against that country unless they curtailed their weapons program. In 1978 Jim Jones, the leader of a religious sect known as the Peoples Temple, ordered his followers to commit suicide, and nearly all complied with his deadly demand.
Donelson R. Forsyth

Chapter Twelve. Leader-Follower Relations and the Dynamics of Inclusion and Idiosyncrasy Credit

Leadership is not a solo activity, but involves an interdependent relationship with followers. It is variously affected by how followers perceive and respond to a leader, and their being able to exert an upward influence, instead of being shut down by dominance or other constraints of social control.
Edwin P. Hollander

Chapter Thirteen. Power and Influence at the Top: Effective and Ineffective Forms of Leader Behavior

Social psychologists have long recognized the intimate and reciprocal relationship that exists between the power leaders possess and their capacity to exert influence over others (French & Raven, 1959; McClelland, 1975). The effective use of social influence, it has been argued, helps aspiring leaders obtain and consolidate power (McClelland and Burnham, 1976; Pfeffer, 2010). Power, in turn, enhances their ability to retain their positional advantage and exert effective influence once they become leaders (Neustadt, 1990; Pfeffer, 1992).
Roderick M. Kramer


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