Fundamentals of Social Psychology
Chapter 39: Leadership and Social Change
Emory S. Bogardus
SOCIAL life is in a continuous flux. Human beings are developing or retrograding, and social relationships are integrating and expanding, or disintegrating and disappearing. Leaders are rising or falling; social processes are multiplying and becoming increasingly complex, or are shrinking and slowing up. Persons are continually making new associations and breaking up old ones. New habits, both personal and social, are being formed, and old ones being broken. Groups evolve, rise into societary prominence, and then succumb to internal weaknesses. Institutions are created, gather power, render service, and then are modified and merge into new ones. Social standards are formed today, and tomorrow others are substituted for them; social values today are and tomorrow are not. It is within these tides of incessant change that persons become leaders, and that leadership is nourished. Hence, an examination of social change may be expected to throw light on the nature of leadership.
Social change comes about in a change of individual attitudes. R. H. Gault states that the change involved in progress "is essentially and in the very last analysis, an inner alteration of the personality of which other changes in the external relationship of persons may be signs." But this explanation does not account for "the inner alteration in personality." There is doubtless a change in attitudes caused by personal experiences ; it may be gradual, or abrupt, as in the case of conversion. One gives up certain values and accepts others, because (I) certain values lose their worth in meeting situations, or because (2) there has come about "a change in the individual's scale of values,"  either gradually or otherwise. The change in one's scale of values comes through his experiences and social contacts, that is, through stimuli from his associates. A person's scale of values may expand from a given core, and thus change noticeably; or they may move en masse gradually or suddenly. The reasons for this shifting vary according to persons and their environmental stimuli.
The common form of change is evolutionary. What is evident among plants and animals is also true among human beings as individuals or as groups—ordinarily they change slowly. Many, if not most of the common processes of change, are minute, invisible, gradual. Twenty years ago a given person was loyal to and in harmony with the "home town" folks ; today when he returns and converses with local friends of the olden day, he suddenly finds that he has changed, that he has less in common with the home folks, that owing to his new experiences (in the interim), he has been gradually drifting away from them.
The voters of the United States will defeat the Republican candidate for president and at a subsequent date elect a less able man of the same party by an overwhelming majority. A change in social attitudes has taken place. Public opinion has shifted, but not all of the processes are evident or understood.
Evolutionary social change, thus, is a phase of universal law; it is a characteristic of all life, of all social life. Being internal it is very difficult to understand. In both of the two main types of group change and progress—the slow and the rapid, the quiet and the disturbing, the evolutionary and the revolutionary—leadership is perhaps the main factor. If the leaders possess common sense, patience, personal flexibility, and social sympathy and vision, evolutionary change will likely prevail. With an educated membership and socially wise and courageous leaders revolutions are unnecessary.
A truly evolutionary society maintains and encourages the spirit of constructive criticism. Its leaders are mentally alert and socially sensitive. They repudiate outworn ideas which have become deeply cherished by and firmly intrenched in the thinking of the privileged classes or of the masses. A group that grows steadily maintains leaders who believe in trying out new ideas. Leaders with new ideas must face a certain amount of opposition even in an evolutionary society, for human nature that is composed largely of habitual urges and mechanisms acts grudgingly toward strange and disturbing ideas. It has been well said that one of the greatest pains is the pain of a new idea, but it is to such ideas and to leaders representing them that genuine evolutionary societies grant open hearings. History is full of painful new ideas which have been ultimately accepted, and for which brave-hearted leaders have lived and perhaps died.
Migration is a common factor in gradual social change. When a farmer
( 449) moves from Iowa to California he leaves behind much of the old furniture and bric-a-brac and some of the old traditions. From the moment of his arrival he is frequently "shocked." Old methods are soon found to be out of place in the new environment; one feels helpless and assumes a followership attitude. New social stimuli exert an influence on him until one by one and at tremendous mental cost, personal changes are made. Five years later, newcomers from Iowa are astounded at the changes in their former neighbors, who have responded to the call of new leaders and new social conditions. If individuals migrate in the early years of life, then they readily fall under new leadership.
Often the newcomers bring new ideas and are themselves leaders. Sometimes a virile immigration will awaken a stagnant community, especially if the immigration is from a new to an old community. When immigration moves from an old and proud community to a new and virile one, then there is a clash. In haughty self-sufficiency the leaders from the old attempt to "show" the leaders in the new. Such a struggle is often bitter and is apt to end either in prolonged strife or else in a new co÷rdination of the old and the new. At any rate, under almost any conditions of immigration, there usually is interstimulation between immigrant and native which sooner or later gives a new spirit to one or the other, or to both and the community.
Invention is normally a phase of social evolution, for new ideas are the initiating centers of change and the essence of leadership. From these moving dynamic centers, the elements of progress normally pulsate and produce irregular but continual advances. Inventions in details are more easily accepted than inventions of radical departures, and hence small scale inventions are more conducive to evolutionary change than large scale ones. Social evolution is more or less continual change in small items, thus obviating the necessity of a wholesale uprooting and recasting.
Imitation is essential to evolutionary change, for without it new ideas would not be copied and leaders would not be followed. Moreover, as noted in an earlier chapter, no one imitates a copy exactly ; hence, in each imitation, modification occurs and each modification may become a new pattern ; in the particular, these changes are small ; in the aggregate they are powerful and world moving.
Evolutionary social change is generally characterized by compromise. In recent decades in England whenever the agencies of social unrest gain sufficient strength to threaten a serious disturbance, a Lloyd George appears with concessions strong enough to satisfy temporarily the liberals
( 450) and yet of such character that the conservatives grudgingly grant them. The situation then runs somewhat smoothly until another social disturbance occurs. Thus England has been advancing because her leaders are successful in making adjustments between the forces of evolution and revolution. Her experience proves the dictum of Turgot that "well-timed reform alone averts revolution."
It is by leaders who effect compromises between the old and the new that evolutionary change is best advanced. In the words of J. M. Williams :
Social progress has taken place as a result of impulsive unrest and resistance of lower classes, to alleviate which compromises have been effected by officials and politicians who sought thereby to win or hold the support of the non-propertied voters by a minimum of yielding to their demands, and to keep the confidence of the propertied classes by maintaining, as far as possible, their traditional privileges.
In the long run evolutionary change is revolutionary ; that is, it leads to gigantic changes. It seems to take a longer time than revolution ; it gives the time necessary for the establishment of new ways of habitual thinking and for the proper transmission, examination, and adaptation of the best social values. Evolution, thus, is not revolutionary in purpose but ultimately amounts to revolution. "It is true," says Tannenbaum, "that all organized labor is revolutionary. It cannot continue to function, to grow, to become powerful as a labor movement without ultimately displacing the capitalist system." 
Evolutionary change often harbors revolutionary gyrations. Restlessness and a sense of injustice are always possible in an evolutionary society, and hence small revolutionary whirlpools spring up. If the leaders are socially wise, they see these small revolutionary movements as symptoms, examine them sympathetically, and, if real grievances are found, will provide appropriate changes.
When evolutionary change is thwarted, then revolutionary change is the only alternative in a group whose rank and file have not been wholly crushed by autocracy. Autocratic leaders may arise in any field, political, economic, religious, educational, and stifle evolutionary advance. Their most effective aid is probably found in control through traditions and
( 451) customs. These are impersonal ; can be taught in the early uncritical years and they enable autocratic leaders to escape blame for being autocratic, and hence to avoid for a time the wrath of the multitude.
While customs insure group continuity and constitute a large part of social heredity, they often infringe overmuch on individuals; and they outlive their usefulness. They may grow cumbersome and constricting tentacles, and may grip so hard that life is strangled. Although traditions are vital to group unity and progress, yet they may stifle the very spirit which gave them their original power. As hindrances they affect the nature of change—shifting it from evolutionary to revolutionary; and they play into the hands of autocratic leaders. Think of the struggles against traditions and autocracy which have been necessary before "new ideas" such as the following have been accepted:
That the earth is round.
That slavery is undemocratic.
That women are entitled to vote.
That laboring men may organize.
That a League of Nations should be established.
Revolutionary change comes belatedly; it develops only when evolutionary methods fail or do not have opportunity. If provisions for group change are not made in a dynamic society by the leaders, then the repressed forces will ferment and, gathering momentum, will burst their bonds.
Wielders of group authority are sometimes so shortsighted as to make the group organization static. Then they encyst themselves in this organization as it were, and having gormandized on social power they go to sleep—until the social explosion comes and the "top" of society is blown off by revolution.
When social institutions become inflexible and power-holders arbitrary, revolutionary attempts may be expected. Autocratic leaders at once raise the cry of "Revolution," or "Reds," and temporarily win the support of the timid or the unthinking among the multitudes. In a democracy, autocratic leaders put on the screws of repression; in an autocracy, they are more at home and use bullets freely. The firing squad silences agitators, thus granting autocracy undisputed sway.
The causal factors preceding revolutionary change are manifold; four will be mentioned here. 1. Intellectual stagnation of the leaders holds back a whole group, even a nation, and disgusts the more intelligent followers. Sometimes a military expedition in war fails because those at the head are incompetents. Individuals in political and social authority often lack the mental vision to encompass the needs, yearnings, and secret plot-
( 452) -tings of the masses ; they remain in power until thrust aside by blind social upheavals. Preceding the French Revolution an intellectual and privileged class developed a notorious stupidity. In order to be admitted into this crusted aristocracy and hence into social control, it was necessary for an individual to have sixteen "noble ancestors." This simpleton attitude was only one of many evidences of mental stagnation which had blighted the aristocracy and led to the social explosion called the French Revolution.
2. Political autocracy is one of many concrete expressions of that mental stagnation among leaders which precedes social revolution. Political autocracy caused the American Revolution, for the repeated protests of the American colonists against the traditional political unfairness of England were not heeded by King George. Political autocracy by the Czar and his rÚgime was ruthless in the use of the firing squad and the exile, but it could not stave off revolution when the Czarist officers in the army should be killed in battle and their places taken by officers from the proletariat ranks, thus swinging the army into the hands of the grossly abused masses.
"Truth," according to a prominent editor of Madrid, "is an exile from the political world (Spain)." "If the matter is well analyzed," says Gomez, "it will be seen that at the bottom of each party, whatever its name may be, lie not pure ideas but material interests, more or less covered," indicating the close relation of intellectual stagnation and autocracy. Moreover, the Spanish nobility, as is always the case when entrenched privilege rules, react against protests or social unrest by crying "revolution," rather than by accepting their social obligations.
3. Economic oligarchy is often a powerful adjunct of political autocracy and another example of how stupidity on the part of leaders precipitates revolutions. Feudalism was a system of economic oligarchy which included not only material property rights but also the souls and bodies of all the "people." It finally crumpled before the revolutionary forces which it had forgotten by its own disregard of the needs and longings of the serfs. In modern monarchies economic oligarchy has maintained an octopus-like hold upon the "subjects" until the bravest of these victims have been sacrificed, and until the masses have risen in revolt. Economic oligarchy lurks in the shadows of even a "democratic" government.
4. Religious cant and dogmatism by able but blind leaders have produced many religious revolutions. Religious dogmatism has often ruled nations, especially where church and state have been combined,
(453) until the "blind leaders of the blind" have been overthrown by those who have defied denunciations and persecutions. At times religion has tended to become inflexible and suppressive of honest dissenters. Witness the Spanish Inquisition. The conservatism of the Church of Rome led to revolts that produced Lutheranism ; and of the Church of England, to revolts culminating in Congregationalism and Wesleyanism.
Revolutionary change is mentally and socially expensive. Progress may ultimately result, but the cost of social explosions in wrecking mental stability and sanity as well as social attitudes is excessive. Revolutions are usually followed by periods of chaos, out of which order and progress may emerge only belatedly. An immediate effect is a disastrous loss of respect for law and order, which brings in its train countless other evils.
Revolution breeds violence ; it creates more revolution—and the end may be the destruction of many of the virtues of civilization as well as evils. Revolutionists, as professional leaders, are prone to thrive on social disturbances, even when these maladjustments are breeding continued disorder and insanity of judgment. After overthrowing an old order, revolutionists often profit by living upon the resources of a disinherited oligarchy. If revolutionary leaders have fought for decades against an established order, they are apt to have developed the same autocratic ways as those of the overthrown despots. It is only by great restraint that they can wait on evolutionary change and develop truly democratic methods of social control, for in addition to developing habits of democratic procedure they must deal with the lurking, plotting frauds of the deposed order.
Unless revolutionists when acquiring power become social evolutionists they will sooner or later create disorder, mistrust, and anarchy. Then, social progress must start all over again and be built up painfully step by step.
The revolutionist or radical assumes change in the habits of people to be easy, but here he makes a grave mistake. He ignores the fact that habits are not only difficult to change but that they have been made in an environment of custom and according to custom designs. Original nature supplies the raw materials and customs furnish the machinery and the designs  —habits are the products. It is a weakness, therefore, to begin with established habits. "A new generation must come on the scene whose habits have been formed under the new conditions."
A group aroused to self preservation tends to exert pressure first
( 454) upon its most vigorous members who are dissenting from "the established order." The group does not easily distinguish between its benefactor leaders and its exploiter leaders, who are all too prone to parade in sheep's clothing and to manipulate the feelings of the people. The group crushes out its conscientious objectors, without observing that nearly all these persons possess the very courage that makes any group strong and that generally their sincerity is distinctly above the average. By blind and even fiendish methods of repression certain leaders representing entrenched group control sow the seeds of discontent that ultimately produce revolution.
CONFLICT, CHANGE, AND LEADERSHIP
Conflict is a disturbing but necessary element in social change. It is conflict and crisis which awaken individuals and make them active. Conflict sharpens social interactions and prompts creativeness. It breaks asunder thick crusts of custom. It throws leaders against one another, stimulating them to their greatest efforts.
Conflict is often started by narrow-minded leaders, and thus change becomes turmoil. An illustration is given by Wissler in referring to the relations of certain missionaries and teachers with the Indian problem.
Being not the least conscious of culture processes, they were chagrined at the indifference of the Indian to the ownership and conservation of property and particularly to the idea of inheritance from father to son. In most cases the poor Indian could not see the point at all. The facts are that these well-intentioned missionaries, the advance agents to the diffusion of Euro-American culture, were not aware that they were seeking to spread a borrowed form of Roman law, slightly warped to fit the needs of their own once barbarous forefathers and that the Indian had quite a different form of jurisprudence into which this would in no wise fit.
Conflict, as a phase of social change, may be held by the leaders within the bounds of socialized rules, of socially productive activities; or, as is more likely, it may be allowed to descend quickly to the levels of prejudice, hatred, and brutality. It is an important function of scientific leadership to keep conflict upon socially productive planes and to raise it from level to level—physical, mental, spiritual, and socialized.
COOPERATION, CHANGE, AND LEADERSHIP
Cooperation, as evidenced by an increasing number of organizations, small and large, is of increasing importance in social change. The co÷perative spirit and the spirit of good will will function largely in solving many deadlocked situations, in making unnecessary that large percentage of conflicts which are on the whole destructive.
Progressive social change depends on an increase of the co÷perative spirit among all. To the extent that groups are naturally competitive, leaders have a definite function to perform in standing for rational co÷peration. The progress of any group of size depends partially upon co÷peration among the constituent groups in behalf of the common welfare.
In a similar way the progress of the world depends on co÷peration between large group units. Any world order is clearly unstable that rests upon sixty or more sovereign groups, each deciding what is right, honorable, and just for the other fifty-nine, and each regulated in its actions by no inclusive authority. The nature of social change during the last hundred years or so, indicates the need for a set of generally accepted planetary values, a thriving world opinion, an organization of the friendship of the world, and a smoothly functioning Association of Nations. A needed telic program along democratic lines for world harmony, justice, and progress offers a field of unlimited service for high-minded, broad-visioned leaders. If it is necessary and wise to have socialized leadership in the community, city, church, school, business organization, and nation, how much greater is the need and the wisdom of a leadership that is consciously working toward world progress?
If national leaders continue to move upon the destructive levels of physical combat, secret alliances, balances of power, competitive consumption rather than choosing the slowly ascending paths of productive competition and social benefit, social change is doomed to be sterile. If the national units may each give a portion of its power to a world-inclusive organization that shall make the rules for all forms of national interaction, then national leaders may be expected to act according to the rules of the world society and within the bounds determined by economically productive and socially constructive world standards.
The call for democratic leadership with co÷perative ideals was never greater than today. A world of seething unrest and social change, of
( 456) stirring on the part of the masses, is in urgent need of a capable leadership that serves without looking for "political plums,"social power, economic domination, or any other reward.
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LEADERS
Private initiative and public control are complementary. Private and public forces are in constant interaction. In all fields of human endeavor private associations and their leaders are needed to experiment with new ideas, to initiate new movements, and to prod up public agents, keeping them upon efficiency levels. The public, or official, organizations are needed to represent all factions and to carry forward activities which all agree upon. The competition between these two types of procedures and leaders is widely beneficial if socially harnessed and directed.
Private leadership needs to be free to criticize wholesomely the public or governmental organizations. When social control sends to jail all who honestly oppose it, progress has been thwarted. The leaders of the political party in control need to face the honest criticism of the public and of the leaders of the parties not in control. Hopeful, prosperous people believe in individual effort and private enterprise ; hopeless people believe in collective activities, in overturning the government, in rioting.
Governmental and private ownership of economic enterprises are both essential. Neither in itself contains all the elements of sustained progress. One represents the public interest and the other fosters private initiative. With all the economic resources owned and operated by the government a powerful class control might easily result and private leadership be eliminated. With all economic resources owned by a few gigantic interlocking monopolies, governmental leaders are subject to overwhelming pressure and public welfare is rendered subservient to the caprices of the privileged few. It is said that the price of wheat at the present writing is below one dollar because of "a conspiracy of grain men, annoyed because the Supreme Court upheld the federal statute prohibiting gambling." Where private corporation leaders become dominant they can force government leaders to knuckle down before them.
It would seem, therefore, that wholesome social change is subserved by the dual existence of public and private economic organizations. Neither complete socialism nor complete individualism alone will guarantee prog-
( 457) -ress; for neither by itself allows for that widespread stimulation and that universality of leadership which is essential to prolonged achievement.
SOCIAL CHANGE AND DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP
It would appear that the type of social change which prevails is more dependent upon the quality of leadership than any other single factor. Leaders direct the processes of social control. They become entrenched as masters not only of power, social, political, economic, religious, but most important of all, they control the educational processes and can direct the attitudes of a whole generation of little children, and hence of the leaders as well as of the masses of succeeding generations.
The individual particularizes ; the group generalizes upon these particularizations and inventions. The individual thus is a leader; not here and there one, but nearly all are potential leaders in the sense of being able to influence the conduct of other persons. Persons are pulsating centers of influence; many of these influences are reacted to favorably, and thus the whole level of group welfare is raised. Leadership thus is democratic in that it may come from the people themselves; it is also democratic to the extent that leaders give people opportunities to choose for themselves, rather than choose for the people and carry out these choices by fiat.
Progress is determined by the amount, quality, and methods of control that are exercised by the leaders in charge at any particular time. It depends upon the extent, quality, and persistence of personal initiative and inventiveness. It is dependent upon the kind and quality of encouragement as well as of restraint which the current leaders, acting for the group, exercise over the membership.
At best, there is always an amount of "cultural lag," which means that spiritual progress takes place more slowly than material. Material inventions are made and then time is required before people get spiritually adjusted to using them properly. The "changes in the adaptive culture do not synchronize exactly with the change in the material culture. There is a lag which may last for varying lengths of time, sometimes, indeed, for many years."  The material conditions with reference to the forests have changed so that now we need to conserve them, but exploitation methods (adaptive culture) still persist. It is at this point that the
( 458) criminaloid flourishes. The criminaloid is often a reputable citizen who takes advantage of inventions, not only of things, but of new ideas and uses them to his own gain and against the welfare of other persons before public opinion becomes organized regarding social and anti-social methods of using these and before laws can be passed and put into operation.
By educational means the members of any group may be raised to that plane where they may determine the direction that current social changes may take. They may choose the types of social control which their leaders shall exercise—to the extent that the leadership ability and responsibility of all is raised by educational methods toward the level of leadership activity of the persons in charge. As the chasm between the ability of the leaders and of the mass decreases, democracy functions with increasing worth.
A group that illustrates democratic principles of leadership emphasizes stimulative rather than repressive control, putting liberal premiums upon personal initiative that seeks social welfare without expectation of reward. The highest lines of telic social advance of any group lie in the direction of world-wide human welfare.
Such a trend involves the development of socialized thinking upon the part of all—leaders and potential leaders alike. Socialized thinking that is worth while results in conduct habitually performed in behalf of social welfare without expectation of reward. It produces a willingness to recognize and encourage ability wherever found—under any color of skin or on any social level. It leads to active democracy. Socialized feeling, thinking, and acting creates rich, stimulative, and well-balanced persons and groups alike, and alone guarantees social changes that are synonymous with progress.
Progressive social change involves the principle : "It is better to travel than to arrive, . . . because traveling is constant arriving, while arrival that precludes further traveling is most easily attained by going to sleep or dying."  It is the principle of never being satisfied with the achievement of ideals, of never completing one's education in any particular.
Progressive social change also includes the principle of liberating all persons, enlarging the meaning of life for them, and expanding and deepening their sense of social responsibility.
1. Leadership is nourished and developed amidst social changes.
2. Evolutionary change being gradual provides for new human needs with a minimum of social disturbances.
3. Immigration is a normal stimulant of evolutionary change.
4. Evolutionary social change is characterized by countless compromises.
5. Autocratic leadership blocks evolutionary changes and makes necessary violent social explosions if the needs of the masses are to be met.
6. Revolutionary change is always belated.
7. Intellectual stagnation hinders all change.
8. Political autocracy, economic oligarchy, religious dogmatism, all are enemies of evolutionary change.
9. Revolutionary change destroys social virtues along with the evils.
10. Conflict, an essential element in stimulating needed social changes, naturally tends to be destructive, and hence to offset all gains it produces unless the leaders recognize and stand against the danger.
11. Private and public organizations in the same fields of endeavor are essential to prolonged progress, provided all are guided by the interests of the larger group of which they are a part or which they represent.
12. The translation of social change into genuine progress rests most largely upon a socialized leadership.
1. What is evolutionary social change?
2. How does migration affect social change?
3. Under what conditions are immigrants apt to lead and when are they apt to be led?
4. What is the relation of compromise to evolutionary change?
5. When is mental stagnation most dangerous to a group?
6. Why are some religious leaders opposed to the idea of social evolution?
7. Why does revolution breed violence?
8. After a revolution has been achieved, wherein lies the revolutionist's salvation as a future leader?
9. What is the relation of conflict to progress?
10. Is co÷peration compatible with conflict?
11. When is evolution revolutionary?
12. Why is socialized leadership so vital to progress?
1. ôIndicate some changes that are not progressive."
2. What is social change?
3. Why are political autocracy and economic oligarchy usually found together?
4. Are the needs of persons always in line with group advancement? Give instances.
5. Are the needs of the nation always in the direction of world progress? Illustrate.
6. Explain : "When everybody thinks alike, nobody thinks at all."
7. Why is it unsound to be either an "individualist" or a "socialist" in matters involving human progress?
8. Does life in the United States today abridge one's opportunities for believing and judging, and "increase one's opportunities for doing and acting"?
9. Illustrate natural social progress.
10. Illustrate telic social progress.
11. What is the chief cause of social revolution?
12. What is the greatest danger in revolution?
13. Does revolution ever occur if the leaders provide for evolution to take place reasonably fast?
14. What is the chief difference between leaders of social evolution and those of social revolution?
15. What is the main advantage of social evolution?
16. What is the chief function of leadership?
ASSIGNMENTS AND READINGS
Bernard, L. L., "The Conditions of Social Progress," Amer. Jour. of Sociology, XXVIII: 21-48.
Bosanquet, Helen, "The Psychology of Social Progress," Intern. Jour. of Ethics, VII:25-81.
Bristol, L. M., Social Adaptation (Harvard Univ. Press, 1915).
Cooley, John, "Progress," Intern. Jour. of Ethics, 26: 311-22.
Hayes, E. C., Introduction to the Study of Sociology (Appleton, 1916), Part III.
Keller, A. G., Societal Evolution (Macmillan, 1915).
Kidd, Benjamin, Social Evolution (Macmillan, 1894).
Ogburn, W. F., Social Change, (Huebsch, 1922).
Todd, A. J., Theories of Social Progress (Macmillan, 1918).
Yarros, V. S., "Human Progress : the Idea and the Reality," Amer. Jour. of
Sociology, XXI: 15-29.