Social Psychology: An Analysis of Social Behavior

Chapter 15: Leadership, Authority and Prestige

Kimball Young

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This chapter deals with the place of dominant personalities in social behavior. The rôle of leaders in society has always provoked argument. "Do Great Men Make History, or Does History Make Great Men?" In the past this question has been endlessly discussed by preparatory school orators, debaters, and serious-minded historians and statesmen. A shift from one view to another often depends upon the popular psychology at the moment. We shall not attempt to solve this real puzzle, but we must expose some of the factors in the interplay of the leader and his followers.

A. Domination and Submission.

1. The Nature of Leadership.— Leadership depends on attitudes and habits of domination in a few people and submissive behavior in others. Even in a spontaneous play-group some children tend to dominate the others in regard to what shall be done and how. Of course, we need not imagine that these aggressive traits are necessarily innate. They are frequently the results of conditioning in the family group. However, the fact remains that in every group situation where control is not already standardized in codes and a hierarchy of officers, men and women differ in their tendencies to step forward and "take a lead." It is also evident that although the institutionally-determined superior person may also be a leader, the mere prestige attached to a dominant office in any hierarchy does not necessarily constitute leadership. The boss of a prison chain-gang is not, strictly speaking, a leader, nor is the president of a corporation, the head of a church, or even an elected political officer. To attain true leadership, men of institutional position must be able to enlist interest and to get themselves voluntarily accepted as pace-setters. There have always been outstanding personalities in almost all groups, even in those of the small congenial sort. Among the higher mammals there appear rudimentary

(362) forms of domination, as among wild horses where one stallion will surround himself with a number of mares and colts and will fight off all other stallions. Köhler has shown that some apes seem to dominate others.

Leadership implies definite relations with the masses of persons who are under control. Distinctive leadership often arises out of crises. When people are confronted with a difficult problem involving either the community as a whole or some special group, they always display diverging responses. Among these divergent responses, some will prevail over others as seemingly the wisest and soundest adjustments to the situation. That is, if A expresses one view, B another, and C a third, clusters of people may surround each one. If the group welfare is involved, after discussion, the notions of B, let us say, are agreed upon and followed by all the rest. Those of A and C are suppressed. A crisis, moreover, throws out of gear older methods of meeting problems. In following customary or habitual ways, leadership of a sort may have been firmly established. In the face of new problems this leadership may completely break down. Thus Napoleon appeared apparently at a time when the military leaders of France had failed to meet situations to which they were not accustomed. He succeeded because he could meet difficulties in which other army men had failed. Again, in a pioneer community people find themselves in situations which their older action patterns can not meet, and a new type of leader may arise to organize their impulses into some new and effective group action. It is apparent that the rise of great men in history occurs frequently if not always during crises of some sort— economic, political, social, or religious. For example, religious leaders often obtain large followings in times when the old frameworks of theology and ecclesiasticism seem to be breaking apart. They give direction and form to novel movements and thus re-establish the social equilibrium.

Leadership can never be understood, then, without reference to the social situations in which it arises. Any psychologists who attempt to unravel general traits of leadership without considering the social and cultural circumstances in which leadership arises are guilty of the common and usually fatal error of particularism. Both common sense and experimental observation confirm this. In his study of student leaders in college Cowley has set forth this very point admirably. While he showed that he could by various tests differentiate between leaders and followers, he remarked in summarizing his findings:

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The experimentation with these four groups of leaders and followers has proved two things: First, that leaders possess different traits from their followers, and, second, that leaders in these four different situations do not possess even a single trait in common. This amounts briefly to a demonstration of the fact that leadership is a unction of a definite situation and that we cannot talk about leadership traits in general but that instead we must talk about leadership traits in particular situations. We must talk about the traits of army leaders, the traits of student leaders, the traits of criminal leaders, the traits of political leaders, and so on always designating the leadership situation . . . . Different situations require different types of leaders with different leadership traits . . . . Endowment and training are but half the story. The other half is the situation. When a well-equipped man meets the proper situation, a leader is produced.[1]

2. Formalization of Authority.— When leadership is once established, it follows the course of other forms of social conduct and soon begins to crystallize. The rituals of leadership are as well established in fixed societies as are those of other social relations. What the leader may or may not do is determined by all sorts of formalistic arrangements. Thus institutionalized headship, or organized authority, is not a free, easy, and unlicensed control over other persons, but is limited and conditioned by surrounding and contributing forces. Even in the despotisms of ancient history the prime authority was frequently held in check by superstitions, religious practices, and priestly classes, which were sometimes more powerful than the official authority itself. The power of old beliefs and practices is readily illustrated. In the XVIII Dynasty in Egypt Ak-Nahton attempted to inaugurate an ethical monotheism far in advance of his time. In spite of his position as Pharaoh, he could not overcome the power of custom operated through the priestcraft, and upon his early death his efforts failed completely. In truth so completely was his work undone by his opponents that only modern archeological discoveries have made us aware of his noble ambition.

Nevertheless organized authority, though limited, becomes an important part of the life of organized groups. Institutional leaders are often the carriers and enforcers both of the mores and of the non-moral folkways of the group. Around them prestige grows tip.

Authority has a part even in those fashions and conventions which do not involve moral censure. Certain individuals become the arbiters of

( 364) fashion and are looked up to and expected to fulfil their alloted and prescribed functions. Even here, however, a leader can not without cost overstep the bounds set by the culture patterns. Peter the Great once ordered all his male subjects to shave off their beards. Although he imposed fines and inflicted punishments, the notion of wearing beards was so deeply embedded in the conventions of the Russians that his edict only aroused resentment in the masses and it was soon forgotten as unenforceable. Compliance under duress did not alter the fundamental rationale in any way whatsoever. Many men of authority have run against the stone wall of custom in the same manner. Sometimes shifts in authority take place because attempts are made to alter conditions too rapidly. The inertia of the folkways makes rapid change difficult.

There is specialization in authority. This is true even in relatively primitive groups. Wherever there is but rudimentary division of social functions there is likely to be also the beginning, at least, of division of headship. Spencer attributed the origin of the professions among the primitive peoples to the medicine man. The warrior-chieftain, the early scientist, the teacher, the philosopher, the musician, the judge, and the historian, he thought were merely off-shoots of this original authority. This thesis is implicitly related to Spencer's theory of the ghost origin of worship, a theory open to considerable criticism. Granting that religious organization and the existence of a political-military organization may have played some part in the entire process of leadership, Thomas makes the following pertinent criticism of Spencer:

With the division of labor incident to a growing society, and the consequent increasing irksomeness of labor, particularly of "hard labor," there are always at hand a large number of men to do the less irksome work . . . . But their development must be regarded as a phase of the division of labor, dependent on economic conditions rather than on the presence in society of 'any particular set of individuals or any peculiar psychic attitude of this set.[2]

As our social structure becomes more and more complex, specialization of authority increases. Today the authorities about us— political, military. economic, religious, artistic, and scientific— are anything but "Jacks-of-All-

(365) -Trades." As certain types of human functioning diverge from others, new types of authority over these particular areas of function arise.

Yet in spite of specialization in many fields, at least in social relations authority tends to carry over from one position to another. This is apparently due to two factors. First, because of tradition we tend to attribute general power to a man aside from his own specialty. For example, in the post-war days of 1918-1920 Russia was an object of much curiosity and interest in Western Europe and America. The whole Communist Revolution was something of a puzzle to the rest of the world. Naturally all sorts of questions arose about Russia and her future, and the answers to these questions nicely illustrate our principle of the carry-over of authority. Men who had been collectors of folk-lore in Russia descanted on her economic problems. Engineers who had made casual visits there explained away the Marxian ideology. Artists and travelers over night became experts in her political organization. Prominent bankers, who had never been near Russia, discoursed at length upon her economic and political fallacies. But we need not go so far from home. Every engineer, doctor, professor, or business man tends to be regarded as an expert in the whole field of human relations.

In the relation of the scientist and the community the powerful factor of prestige comes into play. Men recognized in their own fields are under the constant temptation to offer their advice on the world in general. This arises primarily from the psychological effects of felt-recognition. The seeds grow rapidly in every one to speak as one having authority. Secondly, the populace, encouraged by the press, looks upon the man of science as a present-day miracle and magic worker. A headline reporting the lecture of a psychologist on abnormal behavior is likely to phrase it in terms of the occult and the mysterious. Sumner pointed out how quickly the masses retouch the scientific notions to suit their own mental set. In view of this the newspapers and their clientele are apt to turn to the men of science in a given community for opinions, not only in their own fields, which are often too remote or abtruse for the ordinary person to grasp, but frequently on matters of the day. Some men of reputation unfortunately take the slight place of newspaper notice too gravely. It means recognition in one's own neighborhood, a thing few scientists have or should much concern themselves with. The social pressure is effective. As a consequence we find Professor X, a specialist in a remote branch of natural science, quoted in the papers for opinions on prohibition, Bolshevism, and Margaret Sanger.

Examples could be multiplied. In the social sciences the danger is peculiarly

( 366) present, since every citizen, in this country, at least, considers it almost a duty, if not a right, to speak on every conceivable subject which touches the body politic. Hence a natural scientist or an. engineer may regale a business men's club with a discussion on rural economics, on the errors of proportional representation or in defense of the open-shop. Some wonder when a professional politician makes an unscientific analysis of an international banking situation, but they marvel more when a natural scientist, say, speaks with arrogant authority on social questions.

In short, there is a common tendency to universalize authority, both among the followers and by the assumption of authority by experts, executives, religious, political and military leaders. The mass of mankind desires an element of omniscience in its authorities. The populace demands an "all or none" principle. It protects them from doing any thinking for themselves. All that is needed is reference to authority to settle doubtful questions.[3]

3. The Overlapping of Authority and Leadership.It appears from actual experience that leadership or authority does transfer itself from one set of group relations to another. Chapin points out that community leaders, say, in education, are inclined to be leaders in religious groups and in social reform movements. We see this sort of thing everywhere. It is often said that if we wish to start a program or new movement, we do not go to people who have nothing to do. We turn to busy executives in other fields who have the drive and technique to handle people and situations. If we canvass our more prominent friends, we often find them occupied with movements of all sorts aside from their own specialties.

Under the direction of the writer a study of the overlapping of leadership was made in a city of 50,000 inhabitants. Seventy prominent business and professional men were interviewed in an effort to discover the spread of their activities outside their own specialties. There were thirty-six business men and thirty-four professional men in all. In the business group were insurance men, bankers, merchants, contractors, real estate operators, automobile dealers, and a small miscellaneous group. The professional group included ministers, lawyers, doctors, and professors in a well-known university. The results indicated clearly that among these groups there was a considerable spread of leadership into groups other than those to which they were attached by their major vocation. The extra-occupational leadership of both business and professional men ran largely to civic and social clubs. Moreover, in both groups a number of men were working in nearly

( 367) related fields. This is less frequent among professional people, since their major calling is much more definitely and narrowly specialized. While the results are tentative we may quote from the summary of this study:

The business men have an average of about one other business interest beside their main one; they hold nearly one office each, and they spend two and two-thirds hours a month in this way. They average one and one-third organizations, hold one and one-half offices, and average three and a third hours in these organizations. The business men are actively interested in two and a half civic activities, hold two and a fourth offices, and spend slightly over seven hours a month with them. They belong to two and a half clubs and lodges, average one office each, and spend over nine and a fourth hours a month with them.

The professional men are interested in slightly less than one outside business, average two-thirds of an office, and spend four and a fourth hours a month with these businesses. They average three and one-tenth societies and associations, hold somewhat less than one office apiece, and spend three and one-tenth hours with them. They participate in one and three-fourths civic activities, hold one and one-fourth offices and give four and one-fourth hours a month to them. The professional men average one and one-half social activities, hold less than one office each and spend slightly over four hours a month with them.

The business men are engaged in a slightly higher per cent of outside businesses than the professional men. The same statement is true as to the offices held, but the professional men seem to spend over two hours a month more with their outside businesses than the business men. This last statement cannot be taken as entirely true because of the absence of some of the data. The professional men belong to nearly two more organizations than the business men. They do not, however, hold as many offices. Both groups spend about an equal amount of time with their organizations. That the business men contribute somewhat more to civic activities is shown by their average of two and a half activities as against the professional men's one and three-quarters. Both groups hold a slightly smaller ratio of offices. While the business men spend nearly eight hours a month with civic activities, the professional men spend a little over four. The professional men average only one and a half social activities to the business men's two and a half. While they hold only slightly less offices than the business men, the latter spend over twice as much time a month with their social activities.

It is a rather significant fact that the business men studied are spending one day a month_ on civic activities, exclusive of all campaigns and irregular meetings which unfortunately could not be measured. They are likewise spending somewhat over a day a month with their social activities. The professional men are spending about a day a month on these two combined activities. As we have no definite standard, we cannot say how these figures compare with those for other men, but they would seem to show rather conclusively that the most suc-

( 368) -cessful men of these two groups are contributing a great deal to the social and civic life of the community. This statement is further borne out by the close correlation of their activities and the number of offices held in these same activities.

When we compare the individual histories of the various men, we can see what a range of influence there is within the group. There are some men like B2 who believe that one of the glaring faults of our civilization is over-organization and consequently have kept themselves aloof from all entanglements. There are others like B4 who spends thirty-seven hours a month on civic activities alone. [4]

The subject of the overlapping of leadership in group activities needs further investigation. It may be that a spread of leadership occurs only in certain situations.

B. The Psychology of Leadership.

Though the psychology of domination and submission has not yet been adequately studied, we may profitably examine some of its aspects.

1. Individual Differences and Leadership.— At the outset we must recognize the importance of individual variation, not merely in native or acquired intelligence, but in the whole range of physical, emotional, and social variability. Often a prevailing social status may afford opportunity for leadership not otherwise at hand. In situations involving the solution of intellectual problems doubtless formal intelligence is correlated with leadership. In other situations another type of intelligence and a different organization of attitudes and habits are necessary. In his Inventors and Money Makers (1915), Taussig points out that though inventors furnish new ideas, business men seem necessary to market them and put them to practical use in our industrial society. Occasionally an inventor is also clever at marketing his wares. As a rule, however, it seems, that they lack ability, training, or the necessary interest to correlate their inventiveness with the business principle of profit-making.

In another social dimension, physical force may be important. This is evident what physical strength is essential as in construction work, timbering, and much common labor. The control of men in these occupations demands some brute power. This strength of physique appears also in executive control in police work and fire protection. Gowin has shown

( 369) that police and fire chiefs rank higher than the average man in weight and height.

In other occupations such physical differences probably count for much less. Where men have to impress other men in face-to-face contact, size and strength are factors of importance in producing prestige and control. Other qualities, of course, are necessary in all of these cases, because mere brute strength without intelligence would soon fail.

Emotion and feeling may be distinctly important in the development of leadership in the arts. But emotional drive seems to be significant in executive leadership, too, though perhaps it is of a somewhat different sort. Often mere intellectual cleverness does not succeed in competition with less intellectual ability supported by emotional forcefulness.

Evidently it is not only difficult but unwise to try to bring within absolute categories common mental or personality traits for all leaders. With the division of labor and individual divergences in life organization, the personality of leaders must vary as the situations in which they find themselves differ. In view of the conditioning which circumstances always put upon traits of leadership, our generalization is at best tentative. However, various writers have dealt with the problem, and their reflections deserve some attention. Certainly even a casual study of leadership leads almost inevitably to some rudimentary generalizations.

Leadership, in whatever field, is marked by what we may call positive characteristics, that is, strength and forwardness. Personal leadership means firm and even aggressive reactions toward other persons. Leadership is also found in the inventor, artist, scientist, or philosopher who deals with materials, physical forces, or abstract ideas in a constructive manner. In any case there is the sense of power in the leader, arising from his awareness of capacity and his being constantly bolstered up by his audience.

2. Social-Culture Conditioning in Leadership.— Leadership is not static. Its traits are not fixed: they change as the confronting situation changes. Even where it has become formalized, leadership is essentially dynamic. It rests, for the person, fundamentally on the expansion of the self-assertive or ego trends. It is difficult to determine the factors which lie at the basis of ego-expansion or self-assertion. Leadership is more or less a phase of the organization of the entire personality as a unity; it is not to be thought of, as so often it has been, as simply one of a series of instincts or special talents. Rather it is a phase of the whole life organization. At the outset there

( 370) are no doubt hunger, thirst, and sex elements in its synthesis. There are also anger and fear, which make the organism so distinctly aware of itself in crises. Stekel has indicated the place of anger in the ego formation. As we noted in discussing the formation of personality, the direction which ego organization takes is determined both by internal factors and by personal-social and cultural conditioning. Certainly family influences of domination or submission play a distinct part in the development of leadership trends. Parents encourage children to display themselves before others. They talk before them of their intelligence, of their leadership qualities. Although its roots may lie in unconscious desires, exhibitionism in many children thus is socially conditioned. Not only the strictly personal-social conditioning of children by parents and relatives, but also such cultural patterns as the traditions of leadership in a family, the picture of long generations of successful men and women in a family— these things affect leadership. In our society social status afforded by wealth or professional prestige plays a considerable rôle. On the other hand, a leader may arise from a family in spite of repressive influences. He may have native impulses so strong as to constitute a drive to offset the inferiority arising from the felt repression by parent, brother, sister, or others. When, for example, a second child appears in a family, the first may develop a certain sense of being left out of things because of the over-attention now showered by the mother, father, relatives, and friends on the new baby. So far as his own life organization is concerned, a child may deal with such a situation in one of two ways. He may retire into the background, ignoring the competitor, or develop a sense of insufficiency, and day-dream of being important. Or he may assume an aggressive, dominating attitude to gain attention and maintain his place as the center of the family. This, of course, is often but the carrying out of his own fantasy of his continued importance. Especially if the child is motor-minded and impulsive, these fantasies simply serve as internal stimuli to his aggressive actions. In the one case, the substitute responses remain covert and out of sight of social groups. In the other, they are openly expressed and become the basis for a new scheme of securing ego-expansion. This is probably what Adler means when he remarks that all persons have some sense of inferiority. With some the substitution remains hidden in the fantasies. In others it becomes overt in compensatory behavior. The intensity of the feeling of inferiority appears to have some correlation with the strength of the trends which are sup-

(371) pressed. For example, it has often been said that Napoleon always suffered from a sense of physical inadequacy, and the intensity of his drive for power over men and material things was itself a kind of rough measure of the depth of his sense of physical inferiority.

It is obvious, of course, that not every overt compensation for inferiority develops into leadership. Other qualities are necessary— intelligence, sympathetic insight, capacity to handle other persons and to meet opportunity. To contend that all leadership arises as compensation would be to fall into a narrow particularistic fallacy. Without doubt there is much sound leadership which is a genuine growth of personal power over men or situations. We do not yet know the psychology of great men, but the leadership of men like Washington, Lincoln, William James, and Einstein does not seem to be the result of compensation for inferiority feelings. This belief may be open to question because we know so little of the internal lives of these men, yet they do stand in contrast with other leaders like Napoleon and Roosevelt who seem to illustrate, at least in part, the overcoming of early feelings of inferiority.

The discussion of the psychology of leadership leads to the question of radical, conservative, and scientific leadership. While again we must bear in mind the caution that leadership traits are understandable only in terms of particular situations in which they appear, it will be worth while to make some general comments on leadership in these three fields.

3. Radicalism and Leadership.— Here we shall treat leadership in social situations which are considered contrary to the mores or, at least, are thought to be destructive of them and the values they represent. Thus antisocial leadership in criminal gangs is one sort of radical leadership. Another is found in those who attack the present political-economic organization of society and attempt to make fundamental changes in it. Still other kinds of radicalism find expression in religious and pseudo-scientific extremists of various sorts.

Thrasher's study of gang life in Chicago reveals certain outstanding features of "natural" leaders. He shows how leadership grows out of gang life itself. The following quotation indicates some of the characteristics of gang leaders:

The chief trait of the natural leader as revealed by the majority of the cases studied is "gameness." He goes where others fear to go . . . . He goes first ahead of the gang— and the rest feel secure in his presence. Along with this

(372) quality usually goes the ability to think clearly in the excitement of a crisis . . . . He is very often the best fighter, and many times he champions the gang in the face of opposition. Another quality is quickness and firmness of decision. He is a man of action . . . . If later developments prove him mistaken, he uses skill as best he can to explain why the error was made . . . . [He has] the confidence of the group . . . . Other things being equal, the imaginative boy has an excellent chance to become the leader of the gang . . . . He "thinks up things for us to do." . . . The leader of the gang is what he is because in one way or another he is what the boys want. The function of leadership is an inevitable growth out of the conflicts and other activities of the gang. The natural leader is the boy who comes nearest fitting the requirements of this function.[5]

There is little doubt that much of the radicalism of both leaders and followers arises from a combination of earlier social-cultural conditioning and certain emotional characteristics. It is difficult to know whether all radicalism is the result of balked ambitions and thwarted activities, but there is fairly valid evidence that some of it is. Modifying the ideas of Freud and Adler, Parker believed that a great many of the radical labor groups were filled with men and leaders who suffered from the inferiority feelings and blocked desires growing out of twisted childhood and youth. In the ideology of revolutionary radicalism they found release from these inhibitions. So, too, investigations of juvenile delinquents and criminals have led various writers to hold that a good deal of conduct labeled by society as "anti-social" arises in much the same way.

Miss Van Waters has reported a case of leadership among delinquents which not only illustrates certain characteristics of leaders, but shows something of the circumstances which produce attitudes of revolt against society in many of our maladjusted young people. She writes:

The delinquent girl leader has tremendous vitality. As we observe her she seems never to tire and she reports herself as being always "full of pep," "on the go." Her schedule is full of useless activity. Her recreation does not leave her with a feeling of satisfaction . . . . Take Rose, who is a delinquent girl leader of sixteen, wherever she goes, she plans what the crowd of boys and girls does. It is not an organized gang, it is constantly changing. Rose arouses no passionate loyalties, no one trusts her very much, but she has great influence over one girl in particular, Florence. [At home Florence is docile and well-behaved, but under the tutelage of Rose "felt brave" and did things which her parents, the neighborhood and the organized community thought wrong.] . . .

(373) The vigor and boldness [of Rose] held an invincible attraction. Rose had with adults a combination of pleasing manners and rudeness that never failed to open doors. She appeared to know so much about the adult world. She had learned some of its habits, like drinking, smoking and swearing. She was unusually skilled in repartee and knew just what to say to traffic officers, policemen, dance hall proprietors, restaurant keepers, gay young men with cars. No one could silence a shocked neighborhood as quickly as Rose.

Even when Rose's leadership somehow resulted in bringing Florence before the court, Florence felt she had gained more than she had lost. "It was so dull at home. I just felt I must get out whatever happened. I enjoyed getting out at night and I would do the same thing over again only I would be more careful what happened." [Florence came from a respectable family, but one in which there was no family unity, no family recreation, no sense of common adventure and common goal. It was just a mediocre, well-meaning but ignorant group of people.]

Rose's family was quite different. [The father was dead, the mother, herself a foster-child, was a hard-working woman who had let Rose have her own way. The father had never made a very good living. He had come from a home full of quarrelling and trouble. He had been fond of Rose, and it was only after his death that she began to be delinquent. She was truant from school, she stayed long hours away from home, and as an adolescent she became a more serious problem.] Her dress was the shortest and tightest, her lips the reddest of any girl in school.

When teachers remonstrated, the mother said the neighbors "told her things," but she didn't know anything against the girl. Occasionally she beat Rose. The school authorities regarded Rose as a nuisance. She made the other children restless. The principal, an old man, said "that girl ought to have been put in the penitentiary long ago." . . . Before she was fifteen two other groups had repudiated her. She was fired from her job in the five-and-ten-cent store because she wore too much paint, and she was ejected from a church party because she was a "rough-neck."

The mother was exhausted by her work. Rose became a rebel from home and school. She had no responsibility. Her personality took on a certain cheerfulness, optimism, and courage. She had a keen sense of humor. She always shifted the blame to someone else. She was skilled in lying and exaggeration. She would always take a dare . . . .

She could drive any make of car, had amazing skill in thinking up exciting things to do. She took the boys and girls to an old barge anchored in the harbor, planned wienie bakes, taught the young people to give false names and addresses when confronted. She was generous, affectionate, large-hearted, in short a personality remarkably well-adjusted to the needs of her group. She was what we call an "integrated" personality in marked contrast to Florence who was ill at ease, retiring, fearful, unhappy, and "disintegrated." Rose sang well, was an expert swimmer, possessed an inexhaustible fund of dramatic ability, always

( 374) imitating, posing and caricaturing. Her popularity was enhanced by her ability to defy adults and by one or two items of newspaper publicity when she ran away. But the thing which made her "crowd" grow was the sinister gossip of the adult neighborhood. A girl who was seen with her instantly became "tough," and the process of exclusion which made Rose a stranger to school, work, church and respectable recreation groups, operated swiftly against the newcomer.

Her own group, however, had its equally effective organ of approval and disapproval, "sissy," "goofy," "teacher's pet," "mama's darling," or "good sport," "jazz-baby," and like terms were the overt expression of a subtle, widespread language which embraced or rejected the young people in search of a good time. Many of them discovered they could not tell the truth and get along with their parents.

Rose's leadership, then, will never be solved by testing her intelligence quotient, which is normal, or studying her health, which is perfect, or analyzing her personality, nor will its effect be ended when Rose goes away to the State school. The deepest forces of social life and family relationships enter into the simplest case of "bad companionship."

One thing may be said for these delinquent leaders. Their leadership is careless, nonchalant, and unpremeditated. They do not want to chairman any meeting for their own aggrandizement nor obstruct committee work because they cannot reap the glory. They lead because of the drabness of their surroundings and their own amazing vitality and play-sense.[6]

Such cases of anti-social leadership among juvenile delinquents could be duplicated over and over again. Like cases are found among adult criminals. They reveal very well a number of factors which enter into this sort of leadership. While many radical, anti-social leaders may be thought "queer" or "pathological" according to moral-medical standards, many of them are exceedingly well integrated to do what they are doing. While the direction of their radicalism may arise from bad homes, disintegrated neighborhoods, and poor opportunities plus certain intellectual and emotional traits, nevertheless, once launched in their careers they are as well suited to their situations as any other leaders.

In a case cited elsewhere by the author, [7] a young man of excellent social background but with a dominating mother and father left home to become ultimately a successful organizer of the I. W. W. His revolt from authority was carried over into the wider social-cultural situation in which

( 375) he later found himself. As a radical, he found outlet for his sympathetic and coöperative attitudes and habits, on the one hand, and in his loyalty to the ideology of the communist revolution, on the other, he found an expression of his revolt from authority and all social-cultural restrictions.

Wolfe in his able and incisive analysis of conservatism and radicalism has pointed out that in both these fields emotional-dogmatic attitudes dominate behavior. On the one hand, there is a strong emotional toning; on the other, an intellectual allegiance to certain ideologies. The leader crystallizes for the followers their own less well integrated desires and ideas. He writes:

Effective leadership and organization, holding the volatile-minded rank and file to a steady program, are supplied by the more persistent temperament of the dogmatic-emotional minds, whose motor and emotional releases are of a less hair-trigger type. Such minds are also given to intense resentments, but their resentment is steadier and often amounts to sustained moral indignation. They are given to personalistic fixation of blame, but they may also have very considerable perception of the non-personal causes of existing evils and obstructions, and may consequently make use of the objective scientific analyses furnished by the relatively disinterested critical intellectuals not engaged in the actual "movement."

In the characteristics of the dogmatic-emotional attitude we have the key to the explanation, as to the requirements, of the actual, effective leadership of radical movements. Most active radical leaders, so far as concerns the movement that claims their major interest and attention, are of this type of mind. It is therefore desirable to review its salient characteristics with some care.

The dogmatic-emotional mind holds to its beliefs, valuations, and "principles" with intense conviction and unswerving loyalty. Its principles may or may not have been arrived at through objective processes of investigation and inductive logic. Its observational and reasoning processes are more or less strongly influenced by its emotional interests, and, while usually biased by them, may be at times aided by them, e. g., by sympathetic insight, where the colder critical intellectual would fail to sense essential realities. In any case, its convictions, once formed, are held to with dogmatic persistency. Argument will not dislodge them. They become the premises of its reasoning, and by emotional attachment are placed beyond the reach of criticism. In the more intense dogmatic-emotional types, convictions are held to with religions devotion. We all know single taxers, socialists, "open shop" propagandists, defenders of the classics, advocates of vocational education, feminists and anti-feminists, high protectionists, eugenists, devoted Christians, and sincere atheists of this type . . . .

When, however, the dogmatic-emotional mind happens to get directed into the radical channel, either because of balked personal interests, or because its

(376) keen sympathy makes the wrongs and obstructed interests of others its own, it attack institutions with vigor equal to that with which the dogmatic conservative defends them, and conceives an equally strong antipathy, expressed in terms of personal blame, toward those who represent and defend the offensive institutions.

Since the dogmatic-emotional radical holds to his principles, be they economic, political, or moral, with religious devotion, it follows that he will not easily be drawn off from the attempt to put them into practice. That is, he reinforces his balked desires with vigor and determination. Obstruction and opposition merely increase his reinforcement and intensify his resentment, until finally his "cause" is made a matter of truly religious significance, of religious hope, and may even come to have some of the mystical and militant accompaniments of religion in the narrower sense .

. . . The active militant leaders of progressive or radical movements opposed by powerful, entrenched personal and corporate interests, must not only be motivated by deep desires strongly obstructed, but also somewhat amply endowed with the fighting spirit. Such a temperament has its advantages and disadvantages. It will avoid the refinement of analysis, the meticulousness of judgment, which sometimes put the intellectual in the position of Buridan's ass, starving between two hay stacks for want of decision. It will proceed to push a plan of reform through to success against the determined obstructionist tactics of conservatives and reactionaries, where the more philosophical, critically intellectual temperament would fail, because of indecision, lack of personalistic aggression, or inadequate desire-reinforcement.

The combative temperament is likely, in its vigorous attack upon the personal agents of obstructive institutions, to conceive the problem of reform or revolution wholly in terms of conflict or of politics, whereas the fundamental obstructions, as we have seen, may be of an impersonal nature and may require for their removal not merely the combating or political outwitting of personal opposition, but painstaking scientific analysis of the whole situation.[8]

As Wolfe indicates, radical leadership undertakes an intellectualistic analysis of social faults; it carries on an active program of education or propaganda; and it uses the appeal to combative attitudes. These are definitely a part of the psychology of crowd behavior. The radical leader merely typifies the whole trend of behavior in those who are at variance with the world around them. Conservative opposition develops much the same technique; by persecution or open conflict it exaggerates the in-group — out-group antagonisms and further intrenches the radical leader in power and prestige. As Wolfe remarks: "Persecution is an effective mode

( 377) not only of advertising your opponent's cause, but advertising it at your own expense." The radical leader, then, is characterized by emotionalism, intellectual dogmatism, inability to face social reality as defined by the majority of the larger community. His utopias and millennial hopes are intellectualized fantasies of a better world. With rose-colored pictures he appeals to people of like desires, and they find in him a symbol of their vaguer impulses to escape the hard reality about them.

4. Conservatism and Leadership. A contrast in values, if not in traits, is evident in the conservative leader. We may introduce our discussion again by citing an instance of youthful leadership:

Beth is the most popular girl in school. She has been vice-president of the student body, president of the Girl's League, leader in dramatics and athletics. She is pretty, well-dressed with an immaculate freshness and daintiness, . . . her gait is light, she is always literally on tiptoe. "Yes, Beth is the sweetest girl in school," says Martha, who is a far better student.

The boys like her. Beth is no prude, but she does not pet. She considers it something "no self-respecting girl would do." Beth is fond of using such terms, yet her diary reveals day-dreams of lovers . . . . One of the boy athletes of the school says, "I always want to be at my best when I am with her."

One day Beth noticed that a group of boys and girls were getting into a bor. rowed automobile preparatory to "ditching school." It was driven by a popular young fellow whom all the girls sought. She descended upon this party with flashing eyes, explained the enormity of their conduct and succeeded in sending them all back to school . . . .

Beth is as happy at school as she is at home. Her teachers usually report a sense of well-being when she is about. Her own ambition is to be a teacher. . Beth's capacity for hard work is one of her leading characteristics . . . . [The case study reports how Beth identifies herself with her family, how she accommodates herself to her lovable, but rather economically irresponsible father, how she aids her mother in the care of the children, etc. There is no mother-daughter antagonism, and she never reveals any negative feelings toward her father's lack of financial status. She learned of sex at home. The whole life of the family is solidified and happy. There are books, music, games and whole-hearted group activity.]

If we sum it up, we note that she has a confident, imperious manner, an average intelligence anal normal health, that she possesses the ability to see things through, that she is witty and light-hearted, a good sport, versatile in her interests, with an attention rather evenly divided between books and activities indoor and outdoor, that she has an intense enjoyment of life, that she is in complete harmony with its behavior codes, has great affection for her brothers and sisters and feels responsibility for them. She has a concern over other people and an

( 378) attitude of protection, a tolerance beyond her years. As one fellow student puts it, "You can tell her anything and she understands." She has a definite plan of life and has known handicaps, and these are stimulating to her.[9]

Beth differs very obviously from Rose. As Rose is an excellent type of radical leader, so Beth in much of her behavior typifies the integrated leadership of a conservative. In contrasting the two, Miss Van Waters remarks:

An unseen margin divides her life from that of Rose. The economic level is much the same. Beth is in harmony with the ideas of her community, she is "refined," "lady-like," and loyal— Rose is tough and a rebel. On the whole Rose is a more adjusted personality than Beth, but this has depended largely on the community's definition.[10]

The conservative leader is not unlike the radical in many ways, except that he integrates his conservatism in terms of the status quo. He accepts the moral, political, economic world around him and essays to control it to his own ends. He has no quarrel with it. It suits him. He will but make use of it as it stands. The man whom Wolfe calls the disinterested conservative is largely concerned with maintaining the present order, where fear of change is the principal motivation. With the interested conservative, antagonism and aggression are much more prominent. In fact, the emotional radical may be distinguished from the emotional conservative— not by the ardor of his feeling or his pugnacious attitudes but by the objects toward which his values and attitudes are oriented.

The conservative leaders have a tremendous advantage over the radical, as by and large they have the support of the folkways. Those who stand as protectors of the system of private property, of the democratic state, of the vested interests of capitalism, of monogamous marriage, and the Christian religion, have the power of centuries of institutionalization behind them, both in fundamental ideologies and in the machinery of social control. Armies, police power, and sheer strength of material goods support the conservative. Only when the masses begin to doubt these institutions do conservative leaders need to fear. It is then, in fact, that conservatism is put upon the defensive, as it was in the Russian Revolution.

What is true of the political-economic order is true of the church. When through education and change of life organization the masses begin to

( 379) doubt the established theologies, the conservatives in religious institutions bestir themselves most actively. The conflict of fundamentalism and modernism in the Christian churches reflects the struggle between radical and conservative standpoints, each side having its distinctive leadership.

Neither the radical nor the conservative leader is strictly objective. The bias of personal-emotional wishes prevents their being scientific. As Wolfe says:

In the case of the disinterested conservative it is easy to see that his attachment to things-as-they-are (habituation), his fear of the new and the unfamiliar, his loyalties and pride, and his exaggerated valuation of the past can hardly fail to prevent his mental processes attaining to the scientific level. It is equally plain that the attitude and methods of interested conservatism are diametrically opposed to the scientific spirit, and thoroughly incompatible with it. lust as soon as science becomes the hand-maiden to apologetics of any kind it stands in imminent peril of ceasing to be science and becoming propaganda. The impatience of the radical, his sentimentalizing, his proclivity for the new simply because it is new, his jumping to conclusions, and his espousal of programs without investigation of their probable unforeseen and complicated effects— these and other traits make it improbable that the scientific spirit will frequently be met with in radical ranks, though it is likely to be as common there as among conservatives. In both conservative and radical, traits like intolerance, combat attitudes, emotionalism, and the clinging to ideologies (like eighteenth century individualism or Marxian socialism), are distinctive factors.[11]

So long as these attitudes persist, it is idle to hope for scientific light from either radical or conservative.

5. Scientific Leadership.— The scientific leader occupies an unusual position. His specialization gives him a peculiarly effective status as a definite leader. His work in his own field is quite beyond comprehension except by his own fellow-workers. As we have already seen, outside of his field he may be neither scientific nor significant.

In his own work the scientific leader has great intellectual acumen; he is free from emotional, egoistic bias, and from concern with general popular acclaim or disapproval; and he develops very impersonal and objective attitudes toward the area of his work. His leadership consists largely in assisting others to advance the frontiers of knowledge. He is able to arouse their enthusiasm for research and invention. His prominence, however, is limited by the character of his audience.

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The scientist and the expert have exerted a profound influence on our social-economic order. Veblen pointed out the close interrelation of the engineers and the capitalistic economic order. Whether the engineers and scientists can be brought into the service of a humane democracy remains to be seen, but certainly we may cherish the hope that they can. In The Democratic Way of Life (1926), T. V. Smith stresses the need for the scientific leader if what he calls democracy is to survive. While it is not our place here to discuss social ethics, one psychological comment may be made. The very impersonality and objectivity of science make it difficult for the individual scientist to concern himself with the social results of his discoveries and inventions. The more thorough-going his scientific training, the less he will care about the social use made of his work. This may constitute a barrier to the enlisting of the expert in the ranks of those interested in social-humane betterment.

These things aside, leadership in science will always be a genuine factor in the social-economic order if our present materialistic world is to continue. If the so-called social sciences ever develop their techniques beyond the limbo of subjectivity, the new leaders may be of tremendous importance in changing the social world in which we live.

C. Types of Leadership.

1. Two Tentative Classifications of Leadership.— As we have already noted, leadership is not the innate unfolding of particular traits without reference to time or place. It is always related to situations in which various qualities of leadership show themselves. The problem of types of leaders, like the more general problem of types of personalities, is much discussed. At best, of course, our categories must be tentative and incomplete, but there seems to be some solid factual ground for differentiating two types of leadership. One type of leader controls men and practical situations, in business, politics, military activities, and the ritualistic and organized phases of religion. The second type of leader assumes control of ideas and imaginative reconstructions, as in science, art, religion, and philosophy. In the first, control of men and social situations is the dominant feature. We may call this executive or extrovert leadership. The second finds itself in control over material objects, as in invention or scientific research, or over non-material phenomena, as in literary and other arts, in religious and other philosophy. We may call this non-executive, intellectual or introvert

(381) leadership. Schwarz calls the first sort the "man of action." The second may be called the man of thought. In The Executive and His Control of Men (1915), Gowin follows practically this same classification. He properly warns us, however, not to overdo such segregation, since leaders in both fields may have many characteristics in common.

It is evident that the face-to-face, personal relations of the executive tend to call out the traits of extroversion. In contrast, the intellectual type is more closely correlated with introversion. We do not know how much to make of this possible connection of extroversion with one and introversion with the other. We constantly find the mechanism of substitution in both types, and in any detailed study of personality we must consider the entire history of the person himself and make an analysis of his social-cultural conditioning as well as of his individual traits. Certainly the person who deals with men is marked by a capacity to meet people in social situations and to adjust himself to them in the process of controlling them. He is able to determine their course of action, and yet he must be flexible enough to appreciate their own behavior trends. The insight necessary to successful leadership, no doubt, means a certain amount of introversion, else the leader's identification with others may not be sufficient to enable him to control and direct them. In the intellectual leader, introverted traits are more apparent. Certainly the poet, the scientist, the artist, and the philosopher who cuts himself off from the currents of men by living in a world created by his own imagination, is introverted. Nevertheless, extroverted traits are essential to enable the intellectual leader to have certain contacts with his fellows. Likely enough introversion and extroversion in their purest forms occur only in the neurotic or psychotic. In all types of leadership there is sufficient balance of both to keep one within the bounds of certain social formulations. In any case the possible correlation of types of leadership, and of types of personality generally, with introversion or extroversion, causes one to hope that subsequent studies may indicate more definitely just how much living "inside one's head" or "outside one's head" plays a part in the direction which such special abilities take.

Bowden's study of approximately forty student leaders in colleges of this country revealed some suggestive results. He divided his tests into two sorts: physical and social. In the physical tests he tabulated height, weight, voice, complexion, hair, and eyes. In the social tests he used the Otis Self-administering Higher Examination as a measure of intelligence. A modi-

( 382) -fication of the early form of the Allports' rating scheme was used to measure such social-personal traits .as strength of emotions, ascendence-submission, extroversion-introversion, expansion-reclusion, degree of insight, over- or under-valuation of self, degree of social participation, degree of self-seeking, and capacity in judging facial expression. Following is a summary of his published study:

Range in height was 67 to 72 inches; median, 68 inches. Range in weight was 125 to 18o pounds; median, 157 pounds. Voice was judged as follows: high pitched, 11 per cent; medium pitched, 33 per cent; low pitched, 56 per cent. In complexion, 23 per cent were dark, 77 per cent light. In eye color, 58 per cent were blue, 42 per cent dark.

The age range was 20-39 years; median 21 1/2 years. I. Q. range was 96-132; median, 116. The social-personal material was difficult to quantify but the writer found among other things, that all were of the ascendent type; that most of them were the extroverted, "expansive social type"; and that there were no "freak personalities" in the group. Of course, there were variations and as Bowden suggests, any of these general traits can only be understood in reference to particular situations .[12]

Unfortunately we do not have extensive studies of various leaders, so that we are dependent upon observational and interpretative, inferential analyses of leadership. With this caution in mind let us note briefly some aspects of the two kinds of leaders.

The particular form of leadership in any period is determined by the cultural norms in vogue. Where military organization counts for much, where an aggressive culture pattern of war has been adopted, men of executive type are at a premium. The emphasis being upon executives, there is a distinct tendency for leadership to take that direction. When business ethos dominates a whole society, as is the case in America today, the very framework in which a young man or woman grows up is one labeling with success and approval those who follow the executive pattern. The Morgan, the Rockefeller, the Carnegie, who possesses the technique of business leadership is richly rewarded. The same is true of a political career. The machine buss with his party henchmen represents a type of leader in a situation which has many feudal features. Personal fealty, hierarchy of advancement, exchange and sharing of captured booty are common. In the

(383) legislative field, especially, leadership is largely recruited from the legal profession. The juristic mind fits into the whole institutional framework of our political order. Leadership here may be of the sort deriving prestige from office or it may come from the control of public opinion which lies behind the law-making and law-enforcing organizations. Some phases of religious life call for the executive type of leadership. This is true especially where the organization of new sects takes place. For instance, some religious leaders such as Whitefield and Edwards were able to arouse great but temporary enthusiasm through their revivals; others not only had the capacity to arouse their followers but were able to institutionalize their movements in an effective manner. Such a leader was Brigham Young. Despite enormous physical obstacles and intensely hostile social pressure, he welded a disorganized and discouraged group of men and women into one of the most remarkable religious institutions in our country.

The executive has the organizing and ordering type of mind. He is perhaps made in the somewhat compulsive pattern; at least his drive for power seems related to the sort of thing which one finds in the compulsion neurosis in its more extreme form. That is to say, he tends to arrange situations and even the lives of other persons to suit his own wishes. And yet, too arbitrary an organization does not make the successful leader, because the flexibilities of his followers must be taken into account. The leader must be able so to appeal to the imagination of his followers that they identify themselves with him and voluntarily follow his lead.

An interesting phase of leadership is found in those executives who rise from the mass of common people to positions of power. These persons begin with a distinctly inferior status. Through hard work, shrewdness, and chance opportunity they attain to prominence. When they are finally successful such men usually rate very highly initiative, drive, and ambition. They are likely to be very intolerant of all lack of thrift, drive, and the other qualities which they believe made them successful. Such a leader is likely to be a difficult task-master with no sympathy for his subordinates. Many modern business executives are of just this kind. Men who rise to prominence even in the labor movement are nut immune to this hardness and ruthlessness. Power grows by what it feeds on, and often the humble man starting out from a position of insignificance becomes over-impressed with his success. He despises in others the qualities which he suppressed within himself as he rose above his fellow-workers.


Such a change in attitude does not always occur. Subsequent investigation may show, for example, that these modifications occur with men who deal in material goods, while the most successful leader of crowds and publics is just the man who can catch the sympathy and retain the feeling of the masses whom he controls. Alfred E. Smith possesses something of this latter quality. Certainly Lincoln never lost this capacity to understand persons of humble position and to sympathize with them.

Intellectual leadership is also given direction by the institutions of its day. In the Middle Ages the intellectuals were largely absorbed in scholasticism. With the revival in learning and the arts current interests shifted from theology and church jurisprudence, to science, literature, art, and a new philosophy. In our society all forms of intellectual leadership find a place, but those which fit into the materialistic, business ethos get more immediate prestige than any others. Thus scientific research, which may become important for the industrialist and business executive, is considered of first-rate significance. Other forms of leadership, in art or philosophy, have less prestige. Such a situation automatically affects the direction of interest in the rising young man of intellectual promise. The capitalistic order and its executive leaders thus have a definite influence upon leadership in the intellectual field as well as in their own.

Leadership in religion seems to spring, in part, from those persons who have a rich world of emotion and feeling about contemporary life. Religious prophets and seers are frequently semi-neurotic. Dominated by introvertive, subjective states of mind, they cast the meaning of life in religious and moral patterns in their efforts to adjust the world to their fantasies. The customary mysticism of these men is an important example of this effort at adjustment. Sometimes this effort takes the form of Oriental contemplation in an area removed from the world's problems. Again, it may have a more apparent relation with our customary world of daily experience; and the religious leader will evolve utopian and millenial schemes to make the world fit his favorite patterns. Again, it may assume a dereistic pattern of a very direct sort, and the religious fanatic will undertake to get into rapport with unseen powers and by magic endeavor to counteract or control his daily world.

In art we have a fine combination of intellectual and emotional qualities in an effort to remake the world, or to add to it by creations of the imagination. The delicate balance of intellect and emotion in art is a great part

(385) of its strength in comparison with either religion or science. Here the leader brings his richly emotional fantasy world under the control of his intellect. Out of this synthesis he extends an important part of our psychosocial environment.

Philosophy is an intellectual recasting of the world into more consistent and permanent meanings. It is important as a basis for the ideologies which serve as rationalizations for human behavior. While, in general, philosophy reflects the culture patterns of the time and place, it must not be forgotten that the philosopher is also the seer and prophet in projecting himself into the future by a reorganization of contemporary ideas into novel and what seem to him more meaningful forms.

On the whole, it must be apparent that the artist, the scientist, and the philosopher live somewhat apart from the current of daily action of the masses. In this respect they differ from the executive type of leader, who at all times must keep his finger on the public pulse. But the intellectual leader finds that even his prestige ultimately rests with his audience or his populace. With some this is a larger group than with others. Sometimes the more immediately popular artist, writer, scientist, or philosopher is soon forgotten. Others, less popular at any given moment, acquire increased prestige with time, and after their death their names may become magic.

In contrast with this, the control of the executive is immediate and has a distinct reference to time and place. The audience of the executive is always more or less directly present. Though the influence of a great leader of men and determiner of institutions does not die with him, yet so far as direct personal influences go, his death ends his power. True enough, myths and legends may grow up about a great executive, and often they furnish an ideology which will influence future events. Yet the leader himself is no longer at hand to deal personally with social situations as they arise. How many times, for example, have people wondered what different course the period of reconstruction following our Civil War would have taken had Lincoln not been assassinated. His removal from the political scene at the opening of a new crisis certainly made for differences in policy which even today affect our political and social life. Yet his martyrdom itself became the cue to the inception of the legends of Lincoln's life and work. Without doubt these have played a great rôle in our subsequent history.

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On the other hand, the influence of intellectual leaders is not so much face-to-face and personal. They create legends, myths, and philosophies in the form of art, literature, and history. In other fields these leaders invent new devices and find new realms of the universe through research. Their audience is farther removed from them. Through the medium of printing, painting, and sculpture and through the material features of invention, their influences reach outward and may persist for long periods after their death. In time the legends of the poet, the ideology of the philosopher, may modify profoundly the course of history. While the present and direct control of the intellectual leader may be less, the long-time effects may actually be greater. Marx had but a slight part in the actual development of revolutionary practice in his day, and no one doubts that his greatest influence has been in the persistence of his ideology, altered and enlarged by others. The Marxian ideology is still the core of the whole communistic theory and practice.

D. Leadership and the Masses.

1. Prestige.— Any discussion of leadership would be incomplete without an examination of the relation of the leader to the masses which he controls in one manner or another. One noticeable feature of leadership is prestige. The word prestige has itself an interesting history. Originally it referred to illusion, especially to the illusion produced by the juggler's tricks. From this it came to mean trick or illusion in general. Today it has been defined "as distinction (illusory or well founded) attaching to a person or thing and dominating the mind of others or of the public; often, reputation or influence arising from success, achievement, rank, or other circumstances." Prestige depends largely upon the qualities ascribed to the leader by other persons. It is a special case of James' point that a man's personality is reflected by the imagery and recognition of himself by others. It rests upon the apperceptive background of the followers. The leader takes on the color which his adherents give him. If he does not unconsciously do so from the outset, in time he comes to imagine that he possesses the qualities which are ascribed to him by others.

Leadership, then, depends in large measure upon social interstimulation. Obviously the leader is not unaffected by other persons. This is true of both executive and intellectual leadership. With the former the effects arise out of direct interaction. In intellectual leadership the influences may

(387) be more indirect. Through the favorable reception given his work by critics and the public generally, the intellectual acquires a sense of importance. Moreover, the writings, art, science, inventions, or philosophy of other men may stimulate his own productivity. Let us examine the effects of the leader on the masses before we investigate how they, in turn, influence him.

2. The Leader as Ideal.— As Emerson says, "It is natural to believe in great men . . . . The search after great men is the dream of youth and the most serious occupation of manhood." The subordinate identifies himself with the leader. Otherwise he could not be a party to the process of domination. Not only do we identify ourselves with our contemporary or past heroes, but we indulge in the same process in our vicarious joy and sorrow over our heroes in the drama, in verse or prose, and even in the plastic or pictorial arts.

Leaders give us a vicarious experience which is strangely satisfying. In our heroes we see ourselves as better, bigger, or more active men. We may even secretly admire the great criminal or other anti-social individual because he represents to us a defiance of authority and the mores. We should often like to display these antagonistic attitudes, but in our timidity and conformity we dare not; in the actions of the notoriously anti-social person we often sense our own secret wishes fulfilled.

The interest of the masses in mystical literature is thus validly explained. This literature satisfies deep emotional longings. It is often dereistic. Since each reader interprets the mystical element in his own way and inserts his own emotional needs and conditionings, its vague symbolism provides an outlet for emotions which otherwise must be rigidly suppressed.

While identification leads to vicarious satisfactions, it furnishes, in addition, a basis for emulation of the leader. The knowledge of a leader, of either kind, may become a stimulus for efforts to be like him. We make the leader an ideal and forever afterwards we may look upon him as a model for our own activities. Darwin said of Humboldt's Personal Narrative that "this work stirred up in me a burning zeal to add even the most humble contribution to the noble structure of Natural Science." There are many men who have had others as an ideal. Napoleon was a voracious reader of the lives of former military leaders. There is a common recognition of the importance of hero worship in our educational scheme. To the school child the national heroes: Washington, Jackson, Lee, Lincoln, and others are held up as worthy ideals. Often the school-boy is more impressed

( 388) by the desperado type of hero or by famous contemporary personages such as Lindbergh. One reason why Lindbergh became and has remained a hero is not his original surprising flight, but his simple and unostentatious origin, his modesty, and the fact that he fits so well into the whole legend that heroes rise from the common people. In a democratic era the masses are always impressed when one of their number becomes famous. When a member of a group can say, "Well, one of our boys made it," there is encouragement for thousands of others to attempt something outstanding and important. Out of many trials, successes are bound to come. Thus emulation stimulates social selection in the making of leadership.

Identification and emulation of leaders serve another function. The leader is the symbolic projection of an ideal. He stands for something outside the currents of the commonplace. To him are often attributed qualities which are not his own at first, but with which he becomes invested by the social ritual of veneration. The whole process of making myths of our heroes and leaders arises, in part, from the unconscious symbolization of greatness. This symbol of power, wisdom, and fame which we ascribe to the heroes may be thought of as something independent of the individual as an individual. That is to say, the holder of an office of traditional leadership in a social group may not himself be such an ideal character, but the very office he holds, or the prestige the office carries with it, endows him with an ideal power and wisdom quite distinct from his actual capacities. In The Public Life Spender makes the excellent point that once a man has entered in the arena of public affairs he becomes the common property of the public. He is no longer himself. He is more than that. His life belongs to the masses. Everything he does may be of profound importance. In a sense, he thereafter has no private life. To be successful he must live up to the great expectations of his public.

Students of crowd behavior have frequently commented on the veneration of the leader by the masses. The adoration of Lassalle in the Rhenish Provinces is well known. Marx is a magic name among communists. With other classes, Bismarck's domination was the source of great admiration and approval. In our country John Brown became a symbol for the North during and after the Civil War. Mary Baker Eddy has become a symbol of faith for the Christian Scientist. The canonization of the living and the dead goes on in our own day, under the aegis of democracy, capitalism, or socialism, just as it formerly went on under the guidance or approval of a

( 389) universal church. Every group has its heroes, living and dead. Every political convention sees the banners unfurled and speeches made upon the heroes of the past. It hears again how the present political party is carrying out their principles. The Republicans adore Lincoln, while the Democrats venerate Jefferson and Jackson as their special deities. Religious groups have their heroes in St. Augustine, St. Francis, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and others. For that matter, the scientists have heroes too: Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Curie, and Einstein in physics; Boyle, Lavoisier, and Dalton in chemistry; Darwin, Huxley, Weismann, Pasteur, and Koch in biology. All groups, moreover, invariably rationalize the adoration of their heroes. The veneration of scientists for their heroes is no less the result of their identification of themselves with great men in their own universe of discourse than is the veneration of the politician for his hero or the small gang boy for his. The quality of the leaders may be different, but for the individuals within their own group it may be hard to prove that their own heroes are not the most important.

3. Effects of Veneration on Leaders.— Leaders are much affected by this veneration. They assume the characteristics thrust upon them by their followers. A kind of circular stimulus-response system is set tip between leaders and followers.

In the object of such adoration, megalomania is apt to ensue. The immeasurable presumption . . . sometimes found in modern popular leaders, is not dependent solely on their being self-made men, but also upon the atmosphere of adulation in which they live and breathe. This overweening self-esteem on the part of the leaders diffuses a powerful suggestive influence, whereby the masses are confirmed in their admiration for their leaders, and it thus proves a source of enhanced power .[13]

In brief, the masses attribute to the leaders certain qualities. These, in turn, influence the leaders, who react upon the masses in such a manner as to increase their power because they fit the very picture which the masses created for them. Again we see how leaders and followers always exist in a relationship of interaction. During the Boer War there ,via a story of two young British officers just out from Aldershot. While their men lay in ambush the young officers paced proudly back and forth in advance of

(390) their lines, asking each other: "I say, old chappie, are we doing this just right?" As heroes people must live up to the role laid down for them by their followers.

But is this all that the masses do? Do they contribute anything to leadership other than identification, emulation, and veneration?

First of all, the masses carry the culture patterns upon which the special functions of leadership rest. In any field which touches the mores or folkways at all intimately, leadership must fall in line with what the masses hold to be true. More than one ambitious man has been destroyed by hurling himself against the wall of conventional morality. In our own day, in some particulars at least, change is in the folkways. The masses expect alterations in our material culture-newer models of automobiles, better radios, faster mail service, improvements in comforts and luxury. In this dimension of behavior leadership is always welcome. It is not so evident, however, that the masses feel any need for changes in the basic economic and social formulations which underlie our material culture. In the mores of sex, of private property, of religion and of political organization, their conservatism restrains the inventiveness of men anxious to be leaders. Those men who here step ahead of current ideologies and practice may not secure any great following. We do not look very seriously for inventive leadership in these areas of life, partly, no doubt, because our moral and social values are so sacred, so thoroughly bolstered up by strong emotions and feelings.

The masses desire material change, but it should not be imagined that they clearly formulate the ideas and invent the means for alterations. Rather do the leaders crystallize the vaguer feelings and emotions of the masses.

The function of leaders in defining and organizing the confused tendencies of the public mind is evident . . . . The originality of the masses is to be found not so much in formulated idea as in sentiment . . . . It is into the obscure and inarticulate sense of the multitude that the man of genius looks in order to find those vital tendencies whose utterance is his originality. As men in business get rich by divining and supplying a potential want, so it is a great part of all leadership to perceive and express what the people have already felt. [14]

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The masses are, however, important to leadership. One is the reciprocal of the other, and the notion that leaders somehow fling their ideas and practices upon a thoroughly docile and subdued people is a colossal bit of nonsense. Bolshevist Russia and Fascist Italy are contemporary instances of this reciprocal relation. In Russia, long abuses and the hardships of war gave the revolutionary minority an opportunity by propaganda to make articulate the deep reaction, long dormant, against the Czarist régime. The minority control of the left-wing socialists or Marxians is, of course, an instance of a small militant leadership of a great horde of people. Yet without. the tacit support of the people, the Communist Revolution in Russia would disintegrate. Fascism and the phenomenal rise of Mussolini to power in Italy came only after war weariness and later scandalous abuses 'from socialistic-labor groups had created a tremendous desire for order and strength where there seemed only strife and disintegration. In spite of the ruthless methods of both revolutions, the fact remains that Lenin in Russia and Mussolini in Italy formulated the vague and uncertain feelings and emotions of the masses of their countries and put them into dynamic and striking form. Bringing order out of chaos is always significant, because the uncertainty of daily crisis is removed and life is again put into frameworks of conduct where the present is understandable and the future is made predictable.

E. The Techniques of Social Control through Leadership.

Leaders, of course, are numerically in the minority. In fact, militant minorities and their leaders not only are frequently behind the institutionalized controls, but they are also the ones who shift the ground of control in times of crises. This power of a minority has always been recognized. In practically every mythical Utopian scheme from Plato's Republic with its guardian-kings to modern theories of control by the humanized intellectuals, there is a recognition of the place of domination by a small group of leaders. In spite of two centuries of democracy and official mass rule, the facts seem to be that minorities are in control quite as they have always been. The personnel and the labels have been changed from time to time, that is all. Pareto speaks of "the circulation of the élite." That is to say, an inner clique is usually in control in all major social groupings, but the form of control and the individuals concerned change from historic period to historic period. Bousquet paraphrases Pareto's view thus:


The situation is the same in all branches of human activity . . . . Always an élite dominates the remainder of the population even where equality and democracy apparently reign. Nevertheless the élite is not an absolutely closed caste; it is unceasingly recruited from the choice elements that come from below and who possess the qualities necessary to raise them to the summit of the "social pyramid." [15]

Leaders in the dominant minority begin the process of institutionalization of their control as soon as possible after they acquire dominance. This institutionalizing of control occurs after every revolution-religious, economic, or political. Lenin and Trotsky entrenched their control in the communist Central Committee. Under the Fascist régime Italy was organized to continue the dictatorship of Mussolini. Even in our own democracy at the outset the aristocratic minority by tax laws and restrictions on the ballot made provision for a continuation of their control. It was not until the period of a political swashbuckler named Andrew Jackson that the masses, led by a new type of politician and a distinctly new sort of élite, came into some semblance of power.

In his Social Control (1901), Ross indicated the means of domination employed in various societies. In modern democratic society, certainly, control rests upon techniques other than those existing under a caste system, an oligarchy, or, aristocracy. Among the most important, aside from institutional formulations, are persuasion and flattery. These include advertising, propaganda, and the building-up of various slogans, myths, and legends which will retain the leaders in power. Persuasion, employing gestures and language, appeals to pride, to conscience, to fear and anger, and to hosts of prejudices already vaguely formed but now made articulate. In all this the power of words over emotions and actions is most apparent. In Chapter XVI we shall note how profoundly words affect us, and we shall see that language, with its meanings, is the essence of our social reality. The appeal through words, then, is the appeal to a reality which is a vital thing for the masses. The slogans and catchwords by which leaders carry the masses with them are the counters used in democratic societies, particularly, first to produce and then to increase their control. The masses love words and their emotional connotations. The stereotypes of prejudice and belief are more than mere symbols. They actually acquire a significance

(393) of the deepest sort. Men fight over the words honor, truth, virtue, honesty, and faithfulness. They die for their nationality symbols: flags, war-cries, and historic names. As Joseph Conrad remarked:

He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word . . . . Give me the right word and the right accent, and I will move the world .[16]

Flattery is merely a phase of persuasion and is used to enhance the identification of the masses with the leaders. The masses are made to believe in their own importance. In turn, they reciprocate by supporting the leader who so sensibly appreciates their good qualities. Flattery is its own reward and its own authority. The same applies to all forms of praise and promises of reward. They fill the minds of the masses with pictures which are distinctly satisfying and make them content and pleased with themselves and with their heroes.

The whole technique rests upon the capacity of the leaders to arouse faith in themselves. The masses come to believe in the leaders and their programs, not only because these reflect their own vague feelings and inarticulate yearnings, but because through words the leaders seem to make these yearnings clear and obviously just. What language does is to clarify and delimit. While in science this clarification and delimitation is relatively free from emotional association, it is not so with mystical words, with the stereotypes by which social control is and has been enforced. The words and concepts are there, but associated with them are the emotions and feelings which the folk have long had about themselves and their situations. The ethical writer, the rationalistic moral reformer, may say that the words are counterfeit for real definitions and meanings. In any case leadership continues to function by the use of just such terms, and apparently it will continue to do so for a long time to come. For social psychology words and their meanings must be taken into account in interpreting social behavior.

In conclusion, then, we may say that out of these techniques of control and out of the relation of the masses to the leaders arises the mythology of great men. Around the leader are built up stories which keep alive his place in the group maintaining his prestige, and which make the masses feel dependent upon him. Perhaps fundamentally this worship of heroes

( 394) arises from man's very weakness in the presence of his world. Certainly leadership is found in all groups, small and large, primitive and modern. In some cases leadership is institutionalized. In other instances, it is more spontaneous and flexible because the groups are newly formed or less permanent. On the basis of the psychological nature of man and out of his social-culture patterns are constructed the fundamental beliefs in great men. With the evidences of individual differences and of social and cultural experience before us, it seems doubtful whether a pure equalitarian democracy has ever existed or can exist. Certainly the myth of leadership itself becomes one of the determining factors in social life everywhere.



A. Further Reading: Source Book for Social Psychology, Chapters XX, pp. 543-78 XXI, pp. 582-621.

B. Questions and Exercises.

1. Discuss questions and exercises from assignments in Source Book, Chapter XX, pp. 578-79, XXI, p. 621.

2. Why must we distinguish between leadership and headship?

3. Why must leadership always be studied in reference to social-cultural situations as well as to individual traits? Illustrate.

4. How is it that leaders in science acquire prestige in other than their own fields? Give examples.

5. Is the differentiation of leaders into intellectual and executive types sound? Discuss.

C. Topics for Class Reports and Longer Written Papers.

1. See assignments for reports and longer papers in Source Book, Chapters XX, p. 579; XXI, pp. 621-22.

2. Report on Ogburn, "The Great Man versus Social Forces," Social Forces, 1926, Vol. V, pp. 225-31.

3. Report on W. H. Cowley, "Three Distinctions in the Study of Leaders," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1928, Vol. XXIII, pp. 144-57

4. Study of radical leadership: Marx, Bakunin, Lassalle, Lenin, John Mitchell, Haywood.

5. Study of conservative (capitalistic) leadership: Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gary. Ford.

6. Study of religious leaders: Beechcr, Moody, Bryan.

7. Genius, like other leadership, is not independent of time and place. Cite examples of men once considered famous in other historical periods, but now looked upon as of little or no significance. Cf. Young, "Genius. Can It Be Anticipated?" Pedagogical Seminary, 1923, Vol- XXX, pp. 172-76.

8. The Freudian interpretation of genius and leadership. Compare L. P. Clark, Psychologic Studies of Notable Historic Characters, 1924 (Reprinted from Psychoanalytic Review, 1921, Vol. VIII), and also his Napoleon Self-Destroyed, 1929 with treatment of Cox in Genetic Studies in Genius, Vol. II (edited by L. M. Terman). There is a large literature on leadership from the psychoanalytic standpoint. Cf. Dooley, "Psychoanalytic Studies of Genius," American Journal of Psychology, 1916, Vol. XXVII, pp. 363-416, and Barnes, "Service of Analytical Psychology to History," Psychoanalytic Review, 1921, Vol. VIII, pp. 22-37. Consult files of Psychoanalytic Review and other sources.



  1. W. H. Cowley, "Three Distinctions in the Study of Leaders," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1928, vol. XXIII, pp. 151, 153.
  2. W. I. Thomas, Decennial Publications of the University of Chicago, First Series vol. IV. Reprinted in Source Book for Social Origins, 1909, pp. 302-03. Courtesy of R. G. Badger Company.
  3. K. Young, "The Need of Integration of Attitudes Among Scientists," Scientific Monthly, 1924, VOL XVIII, pp. 299-300.
  4. Olive Hoyt Smith, A Study of Overlapping of Leadership in Business and Professional Groups, B.A. thesis, 1929, University of Wisconsin Library.
  5. From The Gang, by F: M. Thrasher; pp. 345-46, 347, 349, 357. Copyright by the University of Chicago, 1927.
  6. M. Van Waters, "The Child Who is a Leader," Survey, 1927, vol. LVIII, pp. 498, 499-501.
  7. Cf. K. Young, Source Book for Social Psychology, 1927, pp. 354-58.
  8. From A. B. Wolfe, Conservatism, Radicalism, and Scientific Method, pp. 177, 178, 179. Copyright 1923 by The Macmillan Company. Reprinted by permission.
  9. M. Van Waters, op. cit., pp. 501-02.
  10. Ibid., p. 502
  11. Wolfe, op. cit., p. 232.
  12. A. O. Bowden, "A Study of the Personality of Student Leaders in Colleges in the United States," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1926, vol. XXI, pp. 149-160.
  13. R. Michels, Political Parties, A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy (Trs. by E. & C. Paul), 1915, p. 68. Courtesy of Cosmopolitan Book Corporation.
  14. C. H. Cooley, Social Organization, 1909, pp. 135, 148. Courtesy of Chas. Scribner's Sons.
  15. G. H. Bousquet, The Work of Vilfredo Pareto, 1928, p. 23. Courtesy of The Sociological Press.
  16. Quoted by A. Lipsky, Man the Puppet, 1925, p. 34. Courtesy of Frank-Maurice, Inc

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