Origins of Leadership and Power Essays

2720 Words11 Pages
This paper will study the different facets of leadership and power in small group interactions. The variety and number of studies that have focused on leadership and power attest to the importance and ambiguousness that surround any attempts to define their origins or implications. First, the definitions of leadership and power from a social psychological viewpoint will be presented. Then a discussion will follow examining the effect of different variables on the leadership effectiveness and then a look at the convergence of power and leadership and their interrelationship.


Leadership is an important element in the functioning of group interactions toward an organized goal. Leadership has been defined in many
…show more content…
Departing from the theoretical definitions of leadership in terms of assumptions of group members and the use of broad terms like "power" and "characteristics best suited" are definitions that are more practical in nature. Leadership can also be defined as the person or persons who possess directive roles in any group interaction (Hollander, 1985). All of these theorists' definitions of leadership stress the fact that leadership is not a one-person social process. In order for a person to be a successful leader and exhibit those leadership skills which are accepted and praised by the dominant culture, there must be followers, or people whom the leader can lead (Hollander, 1985). The discussion of the qualities of leaders and origins of leadership will follow the detailing of the theoretical definition of power.


Power is broadly defined by sociologists as the "capacity of one person to achieve purposes without the consent of or against the resistance of others" (Hewitt, 2000). There have been attempts to measure the social power of those deemed to possess it, to determine the level of their potential influence. These studies have almost universally run into the problem of designating how these resources which are potential influence are actually utilized (changed to potential influence to actualized influence) to the end of influencing the actions of others (Blalock & Wilken, 1979). One of the most important
Open Document