Added: Anica Kreger - Date: 14.11.2021 23:24 - Views: 42226 - Clicks: 6208
Why do citizens across the globe put dominant leaders, known to exhibit traits such as narcissism, aggression, and uncooperativeness, in power? Research from evolutionary and social psychology, which distinguishes between dominance and prestige as two alternate pathways to leadership, may help answer the question. A series of studies finds that a dominant leader becomes more appealing than a prestige-based leader when the socioeconomic environment is riddled with uncertainty.
We are witnessing a worldwide surge in a certain type of leader claiming the highest offices of power — leaders who are confident, controlling, and strongly hierarchical. The question is: Why are voters choosing this type of leader now? Our research recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences attempts to answer this by focusing on when and why such leaders ascend to leadership roles. We drew on research from evolutionary and social psychologywhich distinguishes between dominance and prestige as two alternative pathways to leadership.
Leaders associated with dominance are assertive, confident, controlling, decisive, dominating, and intimidating. Many of these traits are positive, but dominant leaders have also been known to exhibit negative traits such as narcissism, aggression, and uncooperativeness. The prestige pathway, on the other hand, is associated with individuals who are respected, admired, and held in high esteem by others. They are not only competent themselves but also pass on knowledge and skills to others within their group. They are considered to be cultural role models.
As a result, they are bestowed with prestige and granted leadership roles by their group members. Dominance and prestige are not necessarily good or bad — they are just two different strategies for attaining leadership roles.
However, prestige-based leaders typically have traits that are deemed more likable for example, warmth and more socially acceptable than those of dominant leaders. We contend that a dominant leader becomes more appealing than a prestige leader when the socioeconomic environment is riddled with uncertainty. We propose that this feeling is so deeply aversive since feeling in control is a fundamental human need that individuals try to compensate by supporting leaders who they believe hold greater agency and control.
A dominant alpha leader is generally perceived as decisive, action-oriented, and agentic, and therefore may be considered more appealing in such situations. This is consistent with other research finding that a perceived lack of personal control le individuals to support external entities — such as governmentsgodsand hierarchies — that appear to possess greater agency. We tested these propositions across several studies. In the first study we recruited participants from 46 U. This data was collected on the day of the third and final presidential debate, before the debate began.
We Seeking a dominant and more collected data close to Election Day to ensure voters had sufficient exposure to the presidential candidates to have formed a concrete preference. Apart from reporting their voting preference, participants also indicated their political ideology liberal or conservativedemographic characteristics, and the zip code where they lived.
For each reported zip code, we calculated economic uncertainty of that area by aggregating its poverty rate, unemployment rate, and housing vacancy rate. They rated Trump ificantly higher on dominance than Clinton, and Clinton ificantly higher on prestige than Trump.
Thus, if participants indicated a preference to vote for Trump, they would be endorsing a dominant leader. So in the second study we did not have people evaluate actual candidates. Instead, we asked roughly 1, different participants from 50 U. After indicating their preference on a dominance-prestige scale, participants stated their demographics and the zip code they lived in.
These findings not only confirm the role of uncertainty in favoring a dominant leader but also show that it can lead to disfavoring a prestige-based leader. Taken together, our demonstrate how economic uncertainty may influence the leaders we choose. In the third study we wanted to assess the generalizability of our findings beyond the U.
The data for our main dependent variables — preferring a dominant leader and how much control people have in their lives — came from more thanresponses made from to the present and across 69 countries. We merged these two data sets to test our predictions. This could mean that a lack of personal control due to higher unemployment is driving the stronger preference for a dominant leader. In short, economic uncertainty could lead to a feeling of losing control, which could then result in favoring a more dominant leader.
We randomly ased a group of participants to either a low- or high-control condition, asking them to write about something negative that happened to them that was their fault or that they had no control over. They were then provided with a description of both dominant and prestige leaders and asked to indicate the type of local leader they would prefer of the two.
Similar to our other studies, we measured the economic uncertainty of their zip codes. We found that those in the low-control condition who experienced high economic uncertainty preferred a dominant leader more than those in the low-control condition who experienced low economic uncertainty.
We saw no difference in leadership preference among participants ased to the high-control condition, despite different levels of economic uncertainty. These effects were not limited to economic uncertainty. For instance, in another study we informed participants of a terrorist attack in a U. This research should help us understand when and why citizens may seek a dominant leader.
Our findings suggest that uncertainty in any form can breed preference for strong authoritarian leaders.
There are numerous examples in the histories of other countries. The implication is worrisome: Dominant leaders are propped into power under uncertainty, but once in power they can fuel more uncertainty and further solidify their appeal.
Once appointed, such leaders have the authority to enact economic regulations and political policies that could actually lead to further chaos and uncertainty, potentially extending their appeal and their hold on power. You have 1 free article s left this month. You are reading your last free article for this month.
Subscribe for unlimited access. We just want someone to be in control. on Leadership or related topics PsychologyDecision making and Government. In his research, he draws on social psychological and evolutionary theories of status to examine judgements and behaviors of individuals and groups within social hierarchies.
His research explores how social hierarchy, through the psychological experience of status and power, regulates our judgment and behaviors. He also studies how our motivation to maintain self-integrity influences decision-making. Partner Center.Seeking a dominant and more
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