Studies in Leadership: Leadership and Democratic Action

By Alvin W. Gouldner | Go to book overview

The Jewish Leadership of Lakeport1

BY NORMAN MILLER

IN 1948-1949, the Jewish residents of Lakeport contributed an estimated $350,0002 to the Community Chest, $1,700,000 to the Allied Jewish Fund, and an estimated $60,000 to miscellaneous Jewish organizations. Yet the average Jew knows almost nothing about what is done with this money except that in some general way it "goes to help people who need it." It should be clear that the raising and distribution of such funds involves a tremendous amount of responsibility and requires a rather large network of organizations charged with the job.

This study is about the people who run the show. It does not deal with all Jewish leaders, only with those who may be considered as exercising a crucial influence in the groups in which they play a part. The purpose of this study is to determine who these individuals are, how they got that way, why they do it. An attempt will also be made to examine the consequences of this leadership situation. The method employed here is largely that of the case study, including such specific techniques as depth-interviewing and participant-observation. In addition, the author has drawn briefly upon the findings of a pilot study conducted among the Jewish population. 3 Certain conclusions are

____________________
1
This is a previously unpublished paper.
2
This is an estimated figure, since the Community Chest does not have information pertaining to the ethnic origins of its contributors.
3
The present essay is related to a larger study of social organization among the Jews of Lakeport, in which it is hoped to explore further some of the problems only hinted at here. The author wishes to express his sincere thanks to Messrs.

-195-

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