Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
LEADERSHIP AND SOCIETY

Leadership an Expansion of the Individual . If, as was pointed out in the previous chapter, "progress which is the achievement of the individual becomes the heritage of the ages," the highest developed individual or the leader in the social order must have a preponderant part in social guidance. Thus the study of leadership becomes a continuation study of the individual. In our introductory chapters the element of leadership was listed as one of a dozen fundamental social forces. There are so many aspects of the relation of the leader to society that it will be possible to study only a limited number in this chapter. It will be important to consider the problem of leadership as it relates to ordinary situations in the everyday life of man, as it relates to the development of group action and group consciousness, as it relates to the development of professional types of efficient leaders, as it relates to the development of leaders in the fields of science and scholarship, and as it relates to the whole field of politics, government and general social leadership. Manifestly, these and other objective measurements of leadership may be studied from a wide variety of source material in biography. Finally, the theoretical study of the great man versus the social environment or social forces in history will constitute a most important background for the further study of social problems and social progress and will introduce us to the next important general social force involved in social change and the physical environment.

The Dominant Personality in Common Life . In the history of communities and movements the dominant personality has usually constituted the greatest individual factor. This is true in influencing individuals as well as groups. If the personal judgment of several thousand college students be summarized it will be found that far more of them have been influenced by a single leader or person than by any institution except the home and family. Sometimes the influence of the dominant personality is

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