How And Why A Leader Emerges From A Group Is Crucial For Understanding Social Interactions And Structures

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Understanding how and why a leader emerges from a group is crucial for understanding social interactions and structures in almost any context. The leader-follower dynamics shape relationships as local as a small family relationships and as broad as top elected official’s relationships with the public. Whether its working to accomplish an organizational goal or mobilizing a movement to support a worthy cause, leaders emerge and followers look towards them for guidance and direction. The most interesting question, and the main objective of this paper, is how and why certain people lead and while others follow. To answer this question, not only is it important to look at the individual differences of emergent leaders but also the network ties formed between the leaders and the followers. This paper will first review the variety of ways of measuring the establishment of a leader through network analysis and then discuss the potential reasons for why leaders emerge. Leader emergence is primarily split between three fronts, including 1) individual differences such as personality and ties of the leader, 2) individual differences of the followers and 3) situational differences such as network medium (i.e. in-person or virtual) and leader selection processes. This paper will also discuss how these leaders affect the entire network and organization. Finally, this paper will discuss existing gaps in the the literature on emerging leadership in the context of network analysis and

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