Studies in Leadership: Leadership and Democratic Action

By Alvin W. Gouldner | Go to book overview

Preface

THERE is unfortunately no clear-cut prescription as to what an "editor" is or should be. Anyone who dares to set foot in this no man's land and presumes to "edit" his colleagues' work can hope only to establish and delineate his role to the perfect satisfaction of at most one man: himself. This is hardly a mean accomplishment (where it can be realized) for a volume of this coöperative sort seems to get possessed by an inner dynamic of its own which may diverge from an editor's original intentions. Every editor, I am fairly certain after this experience, always finishes his task with something at least a bit different from what was initially conceived.

Happily, the present volume is as near to my original conception of it as I could hope. This anthology was born of a variety of experiences which I have had in democratic-action groups and in which I found that my professional training as a sociologist seemed to throw considerable light on what was taking place. I found, too, that most people in such groups, whether or not they possessed a formulated "ideology," did not have adequate conceptual tools with which to think about their own group and its internal functioning. They were quite astute when they analyzed the operations of "government," the tactics of "lobbies," the connections between "interest groups"; when, however, they sought to evaluate their own group, they were uncertain as to where to begin and of what to take hold.

It occurred to me to reëxamine a range of social science concepts and propositions with a view to sifting out those which might prove useful to democratic-action groups. This volume constitutes a partial report of what I have found. It deals primarily with analyses of leader- ship, made by social scientists of many kinds, which promise some help to people engaged in democratic action. Without doubt there are many lacunae here--even when judged in terms of the special ori-

-xiii-

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