LEADERSHIP AND INTERPERSONAL POWER 1
JOHN R. P. JR. FRENCH AND RICHARD SNYDER
Leadership is the subject of much recent research because of its practical importance rather than its conceptual clarity. Though useful as a popular term denoting a broad area of phenomena, "leadership" requires a more limited definition in order to become a useful scientific concept.
We propose a restricted definition of leadership in terms of power: Leadership is the potential social influence of one part of the group over another. If one member has power over another, then he has some degree of leadership. Usually every member has some degree of influence over others in an informal group; in other words the leadership is widely distributed throughout the group. Those who are popularly called "followers" are members with less leadership, either because of their personal qualities or because of their subordinate role.
In a formal organization, the influence of the followers and of the leaders is partly determined by the legitimate authority of the positions they occupy. Thus the part of a group which has leadership may be a superordinate position or role regardless of the person who occupies it. In this case the study of leadership involves the study of role relationships as well as interpersonal relations.
This conception implies that leadership is a property of the group rather than a characteristic of an individual -- though personality traits may, of course, be determinants of influence. It is the relationship which is important, and we must look at both sides of it. We are immediately led to ask, What determines the amount and kind of influence which the leader will attempt to exert? And what determines the extent to which the followers will accept these influence attempts? In answering these questions we will pay____________________