Studies in Leadership: Leadership and Democratic Action

By Alvin W. Gouldner | Go to book overview

Contexts: Leadership Among Social Classes

IN THE last section we have considered three types of leadership, some of their characteristics, and the kinds of situations which foster these. The three types, bureaucrats, agitators, and informal leaders--or approximations of them--are to be found in a great number of actual organizations and groups. This does not, of course, mean that the configuration of leadership types will be the same for each specific group. Some groups may have a preponderance of leadership tending toward the bureaucratic type, others toward the informal, and so on. Each concrete group, moreover, has special objectives, values, techniques which further differentiate it from others of its type. For example, a big business and a government agency may both be bureaucracies--and for certain problems it is indispensable to see them as such --but the specific ends which they prosecute, the social functions which they perform, are different.

The intention of this section is therefore to see leadership at work in structures or situations that are defined in ways cutting across our previous formulations. These will be situations that are somewhat more familiar, involving as they will more conventional definitions of social structures. People may readily recognize themselves as being members of the groups on which we will now focus. The types of situations and structures to be considered in the following section are: (1) social classes, (2) minority groups, and (3) political groups. Each of these have problems and patterns of leadership which are not adequately taken cognizance of simply by an interpretation of the roles of bureaucrats, agitators, and informal leaders.

Consideration of leadership in these groups is useful also because

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