Thursday, December 30, 2010

Leadership Part Five, Thoughtful Thursday

Winston Churchill, First and Second Volume of the Five Volume Set on World War I

As England was mobilizing for World War I in the first part of the 1910's, Mr. Churchill as in charge of the Admiralty. And he made to decisions regarding the new warships being built. Should we build with fifteen inch round guns? Or stick with the 13.5 inch gun which were a tried and true commodity? Every time one increases the caliber of a naval gun, it fires longer and more weight. Going from twelve inches to 13.5 inches increased the size of shot from 850 pounds to 1400 pound. But there was concern whether the gun barrel steel would withstand the stress. (As a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering, I certainly can appreciate the possibility. Having seen how much was learned since then about fatigue propagation, low-cycle themal fatigure and creep, as well as the cracking of the Liberty Ships from low-temperature brittle failure. The brittle failure became a problem because of a technology change, going from rivetted construction to welded steel. Thus a crack once started, could go all through the ship. IN all fairness, once they figured out was wrong, the applied a fix to each boat and no more ships lost due to this problem--Google Books, Does Measurement Measure up? How Numbers Reveal and Conceal the Truth, John M. Henshaw.) As Winston Churchill, pointed out, his decision to go ahead with the larger size did work, but just as easily, it could have meant his downfall politically as young and rash, had the materials failed in the new untested gun size.

But the entire design of a naval boat revolves around the decision as to the guns. If the guns did not work, and they had to go back to 13.5 inch gun, the whole redesign of the ships would have been in vain.

A science fiction story of 1913 had the Germans with a 15-inch gun totally defeating their enemies. W. Churchill was happy that the boot was to be on the other foot.

Winston Churchill also made another decision to go with untested technology, using oil instead of coal. The oil had a greater energy density so the ships could go faster than the enemy. The ships would not have to dock to recoal or refuel so often and the men would not have the thankless job of shovelling coal.

But just as shifting to electric cars now would have the expense of redoing the fueling station infrastructure, shifting to oil would be an expense in setting up the infrastructure and reserves of oil. And founding the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Winston Churchill pointed out that the government invested 2.2 million pounds Sterling. They gained from thirty to fourty million pounds. (Foot note on page 139 and 140 of the volume.)

The people were in an uproar! A German cruiser force attacked fishing towns killing five hundred innocent civilians. The British attempted to pursue them. They were lost in the mist! But like our own terrorist defense, they had to have had people and ships everywhere.

And he talked about the power of naval intelligence, using a little bit of data. In World War I, like World War II, the German code books fell into Allied hands. But the Germans suspected something, so they often used other code books that the Allies did not have. And they also gained much from triangulating on wireless telegraphy from ships. And, then as now, much was made of the analysis part of intelligence, putting the pieces together to make actionable intelligence.

He closes the first volume on the beginning of the problem with the Dardanelles.Britain was trying to keep Turkey neutral. Unbeknownst to him there was a secret agreement between the Young Turk party. The Balkan states saw that Germany appeared to be winning in 1914, and to some extent because of the antipathy with Russia, which was fighting Germany on the allies side, decided to go with Germany. Three months after the hostilities opened with Turkey, the forts garding the European part of Turkey were undefended. And Winston Churchill was concerned that Christians might be massacred in what is now Israel.

At this point, Winston Churchill does his masterful summary. England cleared some stray German warships that were terrorizing shipping throughout the Indian Ocean, Pacific and South Atlantic. "From the uttermost ends of the earth ships and soldiers are approach or gathering in the Easter Mediterranean in fulfilment of a destiny as yet not understood by mortal man." "The arrival of the Anzacs [Australians and New Zealand] created the nucleus of the Army, needed to attack the heart of the Turkish empire. The deadlock on the Western Front, where all was now frozen into winter trenches, aforded at once a breathing space and large possibility of further troops. While Australian battalions trampled the crisp sand of the Egyptian desert in tirless evolutions, and Commander Holbrook in his valiant submarine dived under the minefields of Chanka and sank a Turkish transport in the throat of the Dardannelles, far away in the basins of Portsmouth the dockyard men were toiling night and day to mount the fifteen-inch guns and turrets of the Queen Elizabeth. And yet all was unconscious, inchoate, purposeless, uncombined, Any one of a score of chances might have given, might still given, an entirely different direction to the event. No plan has been made, no resolve taken. But new ideas are astir, new possibilites are coming into view, new forces are at hand, and with them marches towards us a new peril of the first manitude. Russia, mighty steam-roller, hope of suffering France and prostrate Belgium--Russia is failing. Her armies are grappling with Hindenburg and Ludendorf, and behind their brave fronts" there is already signs of weakness.

They had to deal with the submarine menace. There was no harbor for the fleet to retrofit. Thus, do we keep the ships moving where they would be less vulnerable. But, they would suffer wear and tear and burn up precious fuel. Or do we let them rest, and be sitting ducks should Germany get submarines into the harbor. England was frantically setting up booms and nets to stop the submarines.

"Resources, almost measureless and of indescribable variety in ships, in men, in munitions and devices of war will now flow month by month steadily into our hands. What shall we do with them? ... "Shall we

  1. use our reinforced fleets to turn the Teutonic right in the Baltic
  2. or their left in the Black Sea and the Balkans
  3. or shall we hurl our manhood against sandbags, wire and concrete in frontal attack upon the German fortified lines in France?"
  4. Shall we save Russia
  5. shall they try to ally some of the smaller nations
  6. shall the British army only fight in Belgium or should they open a new front
  7. "shall our fleets remain contented with the grand and solid results they have won, or shall they ward off future perils by a new inexhaustable audacity."
In the beginning of the 1915, there were two possibilities. The ships could try and seize a German island giving them a foothold to fight or stop their fleet. Then the Russians army could be transported on their Northern front to open up a new front. Or, they could turn Turkey and hopefully turn a front on the South.

The Tank

After the German and French armies were stalemated in trench warfare, Winston Churchill demanded that someone develop what is now known as a tank. Winston Churchill, as serving in the admiralty, ordered 70,000 pounds Sterling worth of "landships." He pointed out that he went out on a limb here, having no authority to do so.

The idea of a tank was not new. Several peple proposed it. Winston Churchill acknowledge H. G. Wells had written science fiction about tanks in 1903. (Wikipedia has an excellent article showing the concept goes back to two letters published in the 1833 The London United Service Magazine and a patent in 1878.) (I had occassion to read H. G. Well's Outline of History that he wrote in 1921 with concern that the next war would have poison-gas-belching mechanical monsters.) Winston Churchill wanted a large number of landships prepared in secret--that would overwhelm the Germans and punch through the trenches. Winston Churchill sighed that the British government built very few of the tanks, destroying the potential to smash through the barbed wire, taking several lines of trenches at night. He presented his plans in a memo of December 3, 1915, calling for "above all, surprise." But this was not put into affect until November 1917. (Winston Churchill also looked into smoke and gas warfare.)


The Demos is faced with a similar high stakes scenario, dependent in large part on metallurgy like the fifteen inch gun, the TerraPower reactor. A self-contained reaction breeding fuel from depleted Uranium 235. (When one enriches Uranium, one extracts Uranium 235 and leaves the Uranium 238 behind. It is useless for conventional fission reactions or nuclear bombs. It is used in munitions and armor.)

But the question is whether the materials would withstand the heat and neutrons over decades. Do we go on a fast push or the slow push--the company plans to have a test reactor in 2020 and not have it commercialized for several years after that.

I get the IEEE Spectrum each month--I am a member; it is the IEEE flagship. There are many articles on wonderful schemes that could revolutionize energy production or space travel, including the space ribbon and a plan to mine asteroids.


At first, the plan in the Dardanelles, was that the Navy would destroy the forts with guns from their ships. The British had longer range guns than the Turkish forts, so they could simply destroy the guns therein from the Sea without risk being attacked in return. Thus, the ships would methodically destroy all the guns defending the pathway from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. Then the ships could operate at will, splitting Turkey into an Asiatic part and the remainder on Europe.

The Army said it had no divisions to spare, so the plan was a ship-only plan. But as there were successes in South Africa, more training and the French made committments, as well as troops from Australia and elsewhere, the issue of sending the army at the same time was made. Thus, the Turks would have faced an attack on their European side, the famous Gallipoli, while dealing with British Navy steaming up and down the water way separating them. The Twenty-Ninth Division was the one that they discussed sending there.

Lord Kitchener was pivotal in this as Secretary of State for War. Yet sometimes he was in favor of sending armed forces to the Dardanelles, and sometimes felt that it would be unwise to have a two-front war weakening the effort in France and with insufficient forces in Turkey to win. After a few ships had problems, apparently from mines or torpedo tubes mounted in the gulf, the War Council voted to hold the navy attack and rely primarily on the military, an exact reversal of their earlier procedure.

The Dardanelles Commissions said that after they started the attack, There were really only two alternatives that were thoroughly defensible. One was to accept the view that by reason of our existing commitments elsewhere an adequate force could not be made availablefor expeditionary action in the Eastern Mediterranean; to face the possible loss of prestige which would have been involved in an acknowledgment of partial failure, and have fallen back on the original plan of abandoning the Naval attack on the Dardanelles, when once it became apparent that military operations on a large scale would be necessary. The other was to have boldly faced the risks which would have been involved elsewhere and once to have made a determined effort to force the passage of the Dardanelles by a rapid and well-organized combined attack in great strength. Unfortunately, the Government adopted neither of these courses..." Winston Churchill points out that indecision delayed the 29th Division by three weeks or more, as it would have arrived in better order.

So what happened to the Navy Plans Under Winston Churchill to force the straits with navy means: Thus it will be seen that never after March 22 were the Admiralty and the Naval-Commander-in-Chief able to come to a simultaneous resolve to attack. On the 21st all were eunited. Thereafter, when one was hot, the other was cold. On March 23 and 24 the Admiralty without issuing actual orders pressed strongly for the attack, and the Admiral on the spot said 'No." On May 10 the Admiral on the spot was willing, but the Admiralty said 'No.' On August 189th, under the impression of the disaster at Suvla Bay, the Admiralty raised the quesiton again and authorised the Admiral to use his old battleships to the fullest extent, and the Admiral met them by a reasoned but decisive refusal. Lastly, in the advent of the final evacuation Admiral Wemyss, who had succeeded to the command, armed with plans drawn up in the most complete detail by Commodore Keyes for forcing the Straits, made vehement appeals for saction to execute them: and this time the Admiralty refused.

A sad note, but not related to participatory democracy, was that Greece offered to send four divisions as well. The Russians were willing to aid, even though it ws surely pressed by Germany. But the Russians were unwilling to ally themselves with Greece and would not have the Greek King in Constanople. Churchill was hoping that the naval success in the Dardanelles would cause all of Eastern Europe to pile onto Turkey. But they could not bring themselves to ally themselves in the hope of great gains to be split.

Conclusion, and relating to our Blog

Our question for this blog is should the demos rely on leaders following things on war maps to make the decisions. And Winston Churhill described excellently how the war room worked in those days. Or are these so stupendous, involving so many political calculations, that there is a role for the demos, a right of the demos to have a say. Perhaps Winston Churchill as Lord Admiral should have been left alone, but the decisions above him, that were made by Lord Edward Grey as Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and the Exchequer, be made by the Demos directly.

On Leadership Empathy

Winston Churchill had an opportunity to view an attack against the Germans in France (in Aubers Ridge against the Souchez position, April Ninth 1915).

I made every effort in my power without incurring unjustiable risks to view the battle. But neither far off from a lofty steeple nor close up on the fringe of the enemy's barrage was it possible to see anything except shells and smoke.Without actually taking part in the assault it was impossible to measure the real conditions. To see them you had to feel, and feeling them might well feel nothing more. To stand outside was to see nothing, to plunge in was to be dominated by personal experiences of an absorbing kind. This was one of the cruellest features of the war. Many of the generals in the higher commands did not know the conditions with which their troops were ordered to contend, nor were they in a position to devise the remedies which could have helped them.

On Vacillation

We saw above that Supreme War Commands and individual leaders and the combination of the commander on the ground and the command forces at home, all can suffer from vacillation, starting something but not really seeing it through.

And how can a demos avoid going back and forth, particularly when they might be polarized on a decision, with 48% strongly in favor of opposite directions and four percent undecided. (We certainly have seen that such situations can cause changes of government in conventional representational democracies.) We certainly could not have such in military matters, whether it be in major campaigns as we have seen above in the Dardanelles, or even a war. A Demos should not start a war, only to stop it a few months later, then to restart it...

In the latter case, the Constitution should specify that war should not be declared, or started unless two thirds (or more) approve. (The constitution could authorize a sortion jury to initiate a covert or surprise attack with an even greater supermajority requirement.) But there are peace time operations that should not be started and restarted. An example might be the massive undertaking to build electric recharging infrastructure for switching to electric cars to avoid dependency upon petroleum supplies. Thus, the Constitution or rules should allow a Demos to declare:

  • Before, we make a decision on the issue, whatever decision we make shall not be reversed except by a sixty percent supermajority
  • Now, we make a decision on this issue.

Lee Kuan Yew and Leadership in Development

From Third World to First, The Singapore Story: 1965 to 2000, Lee Kuan Yew, Harper Collins 2000

When can a leader change habits and development and personal decisions to help a country? When is it good? And can a Demos rise to the occassion itself to eliminate vices or develop itself?

In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew: ("We would have been a grosser, ruder cruder society had we not made these efforts to pursuade our people to change their ways. We did not measure up as a cultivated, civilized society and were not ashamed to set about trying to become one in the shortest time possible... After we had pursuaded and won over the majority, we legislated to punish the willful minority.")

  1. introduced a plan to build housing and have the individuals living in them own them, the HOusing Development Plans. He relocated some from "squatter huts with no water, power or modern sanitation" but no utility payments o rrent. into high rise apartments. These had rent and utilities. And this was a wrenching experience psychologically. Some tried to bring their pigs, ducks and chickens to the high rise apartments. Others continued to use kerosene lams, stairs instead of elevators, and selling sundry goods.
  2. introduced an antispitting compaign
  3. rounded up stray cattle in the 1960's that were eating grass in public areas
  4. moved food vendors to special areas equipped with water, sewage, etc.
  5. dealt with grey-market taxis
  6. eliminated hog raising
  7. banned public smoking and advertising for same. (That is, of course, an issue now in the United States and elsewhere.)
  8. banned chewing gum--this was famous

There were other contentious examples of leadership--language being one of them. Do they teach students in Chinese, with which the majority had deep emotional ties, or English for the obvious trading advantages. Also, there was an issue of which dialect of Chinese to use, Hokkien which was the home language for most, or Mandarin to better communicate with those in Mainland China. "During our [Lee Yew and his family] walks in public parks and gardens, parens would be talking to their children in dialect until they noticed Cho and me, when they would like embarassed and switch to Mandarin, abashed for not heeding my advice. The switch was especially difficult for the grandparents, but most managed speaking to their grandchildren in dialect and understanding their replies in Mandarin."

As a different kind of development decision, several American cities are downsizing. Major Dave Bling of Detroit intends to constructively evict 20% of the area--leaving them without municipal services such as garbage pickup, police patrols, road repair and street lights.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Leadership Part Four, Thoughtful Thursday

Leadership Behavior: Its Description and Measurement, by Ralph M. Stogdill and Alvin E. Coons

The Bureau of Businesss Resarch, College of Commerce and Administration The Ohio State University, Columbus 10, Ohio, 1957

Leadership behavior can be looked at in terms of two factors

  1. consideration, such as doing personal favor for crew members, dealing with work-family balance issues on the family side, and being friendly. I read about an accounting manager atCaterpillar bring ing in "Bear Claws" whjen they worked hard to get a big report in
  2. initiating structure. That would be assigning members to particular tasks or organizing a schedule. Such questions as "He plans his day's activities in detail." and "He has everything going according to schedule" By the way, both of these two questions had very high correlations with superior evaluation.
(See below for more details of these factors.)

They did several studies comparing how effective a manager or leader was with their scores from their employees or crew members. Some were done in the military, others in business and still others looked at educational leaders.

  1. Navy Wing Commanders
    1. They said that initiating structure activities were strongly correlated with success. Keeping things organized among your crew members earns points with your boss. And overall effectiveness ratings shows a -0.46 correlation with consideration and an equal correlation but in the opposite direction with structure! (Table 13, page 50)
    2. When, they looked at the subordinates overall rating, their overall satisfaction were affected by the commanders who were considerate and who maintained the structure of the group.
    3. However, when one looks at the combination of initiating structure and consideration, eight had high effective units and two had low. By comparison, where both were low, there were six below average. (It would be interested to do a Bayesian tree analysis. I taught the graduate software engineering course here at Western Illinois University for many years. These impressed me as much more effective in predicting project cost than traditional statistics.)
    4. There was little correlation between what aircraft leaders said was important as far as both consideration and structuring behavior.
  2. Educational Administrators When teachers described their leader there was a small correlation between ratings for initiating structure and consideration. When board members rated administrators, there was a much higher correlation. Halpin speculated that superintendents put on their best face when dealing with their board but did not do so in the day to day job of dealing with the teachers (their subordinates)--citing Halpin. (The Leadership Behavior of School Superintendents also from the Ohio Leadership group.)
  3. Industrial Foreman Correlations with measures of effectiveness. The tests were categorized in those departments that had a direct production job versus those that did not : NP--in non-production department and P in production department. >accidents P
    RatingConsiderationinitiating structure
    foreman supervisior rating P -0.310.47
    foreman supervisor rating NP 0.28-0.19
    absenteeism P -0.490.27
    absenteeism NP -0.490.27
    accidents NP-0.420.18
    formal grievances P-0.070.45
    formal grienances NP0.150.23
    turnove P0.130.13
    TURNOVER NP0.040.51
  4. For a test of ROTC students/cadets, rating by superiors were not correlated significantly with either consideration or initiating structure, but rating by pairs were.
  5. When you ask leaders to rate themselves, they do so very differently from what their subordinates do so.
  6. When groups spend a lot of time together, they are likely to lable their bosses with behavior that could be consider dominative as opposed to democratic or suggesting. But his could mean that they are just more sensitive to it rather than leaders are more dominating.

The Ohio State University Leadership Behabvior Questionaires and their Research

Ohio State University researched leadership in the 1950's. Ralph Stodgill published a series of monographs and books. And he developed the Leadership Behavior Questionaire of 150 questions. They were in ten categories. For example, Organization included:
  1. He plans his day's activities in detail.
  2. He has everything going according to schedule.
  3. He meets with trhe group at regularly scheduled times.
  4. He assigns members to particular tasks
"Recognizing Member performance" includes
  1. He critizes members for small mistakes
  2. He reacts favorably to anything members say
  3. He expresses appreciation when a member does a good job
This basic 150 question test was categorized with factor analysis, a statistical technique. They got the four factors:
  1. Consideration, discussed above
  2. initiating structure, considered above
  3. a Production Emphasis, "encouraging overtime work" "stresses being ahead of competing crews" "needling crew members for greater effort"
  4. sensitivity social sidtuation
However, the latter two only accounted for sixteen percent of the variance--so aparently they did not consider them further. And looking at variance between members of the same crew and comapring it to the variance between crews, they found a difference for initiating structure and structure. There was greater agreement among crew memembers for initating structure.

A quote

Myrdal notes that "for all our our [USA] egalitarian emphasis, 'the idea of leadership pervades American thought and colelctive action.' 'Americans are in general quite unaware that the leadership idea is a particular characteristic of their culture' 'regularly show a marked reluctance to admit the fact even when it is pointed out by the observer'
For future Thoughtful Thursday, Myrdal, G. An American Dilemma New York: Harper and Brothers, 1944.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday, Leadership part Three

Haiman, Frankly, Group Leadership and Democratic Action Boston, Houghton Mifflin 1951.

Empiricial Evidence presented

Nine groups of five students were put in separate rooms and asked to come up with a recommendation on a specific issue. No leader was appinted. They observed the groups and noted when someone does something "that could be construed as leadership."

They then tried another set of nine groups on a similar problem. A leader was appointed. In the class, they asked the members to rate who was an effective discussion leader. But Dean Barnlund did not choose the best leader, he chose six who got poor ratings and three who were in the middle. After the second set of groups discussed the problems:

Then Dean Barnlund prepared a leraning exercise on "democratic leadership." Six of the leaders got the training. Three did not. The groups were reconstituted--they did not know who got the training. The ones who got the training did show dramatic improvent. (I will need to track down Barnlund's dissertation and subsequent work for a future Thoughtful Thursday.)

Dr. Benne at the National Training Laboratory in Group Development have used a series of facilities not only to train the leader to train the group to become "more alert to its own leadership needs."

Benne, Kenneth, "The Future of Work-Survey Conferences" Adult Education Bulletin XII (February 1948) page 93 to 96.

On the job training can convert leaders from an authoritarian style to one more democratic. A controlled study had two groups of Sumemr camp leaders. Six had a training exercise which included observation and discussion of other leaders in action. They were also observed on the job by the experimenters. Then their actions were assessed and arbitrary and authoritarian actions went down. The morale of both the Summer Camp leaders and the children improved. Observations showed authoritarian methods went from 70% to 10%. There was no change or an authoritarian change for the other leaders.

Bavelas and Lewin, "Training in Democratic Leadership" Journal of Abnormal and Social psychologyXXVII (January 1942) 115 to 119.

So training can make authoritarian leaders into those who adapat a democratic style. Precisely what one would want for sortition groups--if they have a leader at all.

Role playing including on-the-job training with role-playing worked to a person training scoutmasters. A "metamorphosis' was achieved

French, John R. Jr, "Retraining an Autocratic leader" Journal of Abnormal and Social PsychologyMXXXIX (April 1944) 224 to 237.

The Unpresident

So what is the role of leadership in particpatory democracy. I thought of the idea of an Un-president who says, "The buck stops with you." (the people). Who unlike "Bush" is not the "Decider" (I hear the second President Bush saying "I am the decideer" on the Political Junkee on NPR each week.)

The "UnPresident" might say, we have a crisis in Korea, should we send the fleet in a show of strength for the South Koreans. And then invite several academic and government experts to present the reasons to/from to do this as well as a fair evaluation of the pros and cons. Then, the "polls open tommorrow for three days, please vote what America should do."

I have heard "that military action" was not taken off the table in regards to Iran nuclear ambitions. Should not this decision be taken by the American People. I discussed earlier, how we could have handled the health care crisis.

Broader Discussion

As I mentioned in an earlier Thoughtful Thursday in the Leadership series, it is a contention whether democratic-type leadership, and hence participartory democracy, makes for happier people. In a controlled study, Dr. Lewin found that children in a group led democratically were happier. But others studies have found that groups that expect a "strong leader" on "horseback." are unhappy when presented with a democratic one. (I need to track these down.)

And he raises the issue, does the process of having and presenting an opinion, even if voted down, help an individual? And, if so, would a participatory democracy be more helpful than a conventional democracy. Or as Henry Thoreu asked, "how can a man be satisfied to entertain an opinion merely, and enjoy it?"

And Dr. Haiman raised the issue of rules, lines and policies very cogently:

A society may agree that disabled war veterans should receive aid, perhaps to prevent homelessness. But is a G.I. who lost his little finger opening a keg of beer at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, on V-J day count as a disabled veteran? A small lodge might agree to buying some paper at twenty-five dollars, but will they select the brand of paper, possibly at the stationary stand. And they may establish a poicy of no excessive drunkenness, but will a committee of the whole deal with each individual who might be considered excessively inebriated. And how do we make decisions quickly, particularly in emergency situations?

And where is the line between oppressing an individual and consensus--could individuals be slaves to the people in general. And he wisely quotes Bertrand Russell.

Those who believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God may infer that any unusual opinion or peculiar taste is almost a form of impiety, and is to be viewed as a culpable rebellion against the legitimate authority of the herd. This will only be avoided if liberty is as much valued as democracy, and it is realized that a society in which each is the slave of all is only a little better than one in which each is the slave of a despot. There is equality where all are slaves, as well as wehre all are free. This shows that equality, by itself, is not enough to make a good society.
One can certaintly imagine a participatory democracy, where each person's every move is directed by a sortition jury with no privacy or free will or the opportunity to let out a little steam at a party. But each person will also have the right to vote on other's freedoms, and will the problem resolve itself in that everyone will understand that they don't want a TV camera overhead all the time for themselves , and thus not do it to others. Will they understand that they want to be able to spend a little of their money foolishly from time to time, and thus let others do the the same? (I talked about financial privacy and referenced David Brin's Transparent Society in my Daily Kos section.) Or will some, e. g. those who might have committed an offense, or the rich in a paroxysm of anger about Wall Street bailouts and bonusses, be subjected to invasive control while the vast majority will be given reasonable freedom. It is really an empirical question, what is most likely to respect human rights: a participatory democracy, a Constitutional democracy which has the equivalent of the United States bill of right, a representative democracy, or a dictatorship, hopefully benevelent.

citing Lewisn, Kurt, "Experiments in Social Space" Resolving Social Conflict New York, Harpers 1948 and Bertrans Russell, Authority and the Individual

And, of course, we must deal with the "great man" theory of leadership. Others say it is the social interplay and an individual can rise to the occassion. As an example of the first is Thomas Carlyle who wrote in 1840:

This.. is an age that, as it were, denies the existenc eof great men... Show our critics a great man, a Luther for example, they begin to what they call "account" for him.. and bring him out to be a little kind of man. He was the 'creature of the time,' they say; the Time called him forth, the Time did everything, he nothing...This seems to me but melancholy work. The Time called forth? Alas, we have known times call loudly enough for their Great Man; but not find them when they call! he was not there; Providence had not sent him; theTime, calling its loudest, had to go down to confusion and wreck because he would not come when called.

Carlyle, hypothesizes a given time to be a collection of dry wood, but without the spark, it never would burn. But we know that a dry forest will eventually have its forest fire or wild fire, even from "spontaneous combusion." And similarly, an idea, a bill can bubble up, and get voted on, even without Speaker's of the House or Presidents.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thougghtful Thursday: Leadership Part Two

Jerome David White, "Autocratic and Democratic Leadership and their REspective Groups' Power, Hierarchies and Morale" Dissertition for a Ph.D. in Education at NYU in 1962

They gave a "dogmatism" test to Synagogue Presidents and identified the five most dogmatic and the five least dogmatic. They then gave a morale test, asking questions like recall events in which "they felt a special feeling of accomplishments" and those where "they held something back even though they worked." They also looked at who were considered second most influenctial, third most influential.

The most important result is that the range of morale score in the autocratic group was 47.7 to 61.2 and the democratic was 55.2 to 62.8. Although these differences were not statistically significant, I note that the autocratic group has the two lowest scores. Thus, a dogmatic autocratic leader can cause problems but does not have to. Of course, absence of significances does not mean significantly absent. Perhaps, a larger sample would have come up with a difference.

I have always felt that one of the advantages of participatory democracy is that it does not allow a particularly bad leader to really ruin things.

Dr. White also looked at the members of boards with high power leaders, and found with the democratic leaders, there were more likely to be two or three powerful board members. Perhaps, one of the advantages of a particpatory democracy is that it allows all those who might want to influence the group to do so, rather than the one who was appointed the "leader." But for the vast majority of the demos, they simply don't care. That is that maybe five percent of the American Politician would want to function as a Congress person. But now, rthey can't do so, but under particpatory democracy, everyone who wanted to vote in detail on policies could do so. So five percent would be happier under participatory democracy with the remaining 95% not affected one way or the other.

An important point is that in ALL synagouges, the boards made the decisions of budget, hiring the Rabbi and any building.

The dogmatism questions included

  1. The United States and Russia have just about nothing in common. (Remember that this study was in 1962)
  2. Even though freedom of speech for all groups is a worthwhile goal, it is unfortunately necessary to restric the freedom of cdrtain political groups.
  3. Fundamentally, the world we live in is a pretty loneseome place
  4. In a heated discussion, I generally become so absorbed in what I am gong to say that I forget to listen to what others are saying

Other quotes

Like many dissertations, I found the facts and quotes that the author brought to bring his study into context, very interesting if not more interesting than the work itself. This is no exception.
  1. Some people thought that suburbs would become a new Toqueville democratic small town, Robert C. Wood, Suburbia But Mumford found that only one in three spend any time in civic affairs and they also were not involved in professional associations as well.) (Reminds me of Powell, Bowling Alone). That included that "every ten minutes of commuting reduces all forms of social capital by ten percent.
  2. There is concern that those who lead autocratically will stifle others who could develop their leadership potential. (Albert I. Gordon, Jews in Suburbia Harold D. Lasswell, Power and Personality and Power and Personality and A. Liveright Strategies of Leadership But Haiman states "it is still impossible to demonstrate that either of the two styles (autocratic or democratic) promotes high productivity or high morale.

    Other studies have shown that Autocratic Leaderhsip debilitates:

    1. Ronald Lippitt, "An Experimental Study of the Effects Democratic and Authorities Group Atomospheres, in Studies in Topological and Vector Psychology I, edited by Kurt Lewin, University of Iowa Press, 1940 (This found that groups under one authoritarian leader were not frustrated when replaced second, and thus groups would eventually increase in morale after many autocratic leaders, even though they started from a lower level of morale.)
    2. Kurt Lewin , "Patterns of Agreesive Behavior in Experimentally created 'Social Climates," Journal of Social Psychology 100 1939, pages 271 to 299
    3. Ralph White and Ronald Lippitt, Leader Behaviro and Member Reaction in 'Three Social Cliamtes' in Group Dynamics Dorwin Cartrwiehg et. al White Plains, Russ Peterson and Comapny, 1953
    4. Daniel Katz, Productivity Supervision and Morale in an Office Situation founded that high productive offices had more democratic supervisors than the others
  3. While other studeies questioned this
    1. R. C. Anderson "Learning in discussionsL A Resume of the Authoritarian-Democratic Studies" Harvard Educational Review 29 (1959) page 202
    2. Lippit found that when an authoritarian leader replaced
    3. Daniel Katz, An Overview of the Human Relation Programs in Groups, Leadership and Man
    4. Katz, Daniel, Survey Research Center: "An Overiveiwof the Human Relations Program" pages 68 to 85 in Groups, Leadership and Man Harold Kuetzkow Editor, Carnegie
  4. Going back to the synagogues, they observed that the annual meeting has one slate of members, have no opposition and the annual meeting.
  5. Wood comented at length that in small towns and here in synagouges, thinge are done in an informal way ignoring rules of procedure, such as helping a "friend" with a ticket or getting closer holiday seats.
  6. At the budget meeting, the citizens do not understand or pay attention to the budget. Most of the members who care are already on the board. (Wood, Suburbia)
  7. And Dr. White quotes Richard E. Gordon, The Split Level Trap that people who rule or have leadership positions are often immoral and Lasswell that power-hungry leaders repress other's democratic leanings. Power and Society, 1950

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Leadership Part One

As I believe you all saw, I am a Computer Science professor. We are in a College that has the business departments, as well as the Agriculture, Engineering Technology Departments. (It also has the new School of Engineering.) And universities and schools of business are accredited. And the accreditation agencies require "assessment." This simply is some check that the students are learning or gaining in other goals. So every two years College of Business asks a samples of its graduates to take an EFT multiple choice exam on various areas of business such as accounting, marketing, finance. We also have some of the faculty look at the case studies the Bachelors of Business students do for the Senior Capstone course -- do the students integrate all their other courses? do they use grammar properly.

a I serve on the Committee that handles all this. And one of the things we were trying to assess was "leadership." What does the leader on the case study team do? One way to do this was to simply ask the other students to rate the project team "captain." But was there a better way or a different survey? I volunteered to find out about this. In the course, I ran into several books, published many decades ago, on what leadership is, and the effects of different leadership styles.

And they helped answer questions about leadership, what makes a good leader, what affects do the The research involves surveys, and in a few cases interviews and observations, and comparing these to results. I will report in later submissions on the work of the Ohio State University Leadership Group, headed by Ralph M. Stogdill.

But in this submission, I cover some, probably random, selections.

setting the tone

An army group has both a Commanding OFFICER (CO) and high-ranking sergeans. If there was a Commanding Officer that was good, wouldn't the sergeants do well as well. Actually not. (In businesses, the leader chooses his subordinates. That is not true in the army.) Apparently, a CO can't "order" the other leaders to do a good job. A manager might choose good middle managers, but can't do anything to encourage them to do a good job. Selvin used a fifteen question test, which he found after factor analysis, broke up into three categories, positive emotions (I would follow this guy into combat), "tyranical" which I would interpret as authoritative "going to bat for men" but also included punishing at every opportunity and inducing fear. The last category was "vacillating " or inconsistency such as breaking promises and playing favorites. The latter two factors were themselves strongly correlated. Thus, there are four types of companies

PositiveTyranicall and vacillating
highlowPERSUASIVE or democratic
lowhigharbitrary, or just plain "bad"

Affect on the men

Those in a good leadership situation, persuasive, and were older draftees were much less likely to get drunk (13%) than any other group. Yong draftees were 31% likely to get drunk regardless of the leadership climate. Similar but less intense were for having anger attcks, "blowing one's top." And the arbitrary leadership leads to aggressive behavior in those who did not graduate high school and high rates of visiting wives or girl friends, seeing the chaplain and short term AWOL. (Remember that this study was done during the Korean War in Basic Training.)

definition of leadership

Does a team need someone appointed or annointed "leader" or "President" or "Commanding Officer." And that leader might choose to give the team options on what to do.

Some leadership assessment looks at who becomes a leader in a group where no leader is appointed. On of the "gifts" in gifted education is leadership--who might become leader if a bunch of kids are put together and given a group task. Watch them--who becomes natural leader. NPR had the author of "Good Boss, Bad Boss" talk and he said that in any group of three or more people, whether peple or animals, a leader emerges.

Thus in a group, someone might become:

  1. the formal leader
  2. a person who everyone identifies with and whose personality is most associated with peoples perception of the group
  3. If you survey the people and ask them who is the most influential-- determing what to do.
  4. who does the most to advance the group
  5. the person who sets the structure of how the group does things. (QUOTING from Gibb


Konrad Adenaur, a West German Chancellor was known for democratic leadership, but was very autocratic with his family.

Churchill, Truman and Roosevelt in World War II

As the Allied Armies and Eisenhower in particular were advancing into Germany, what would we (the U.S.) do with the Germans. The ideas were going around the White House. Roosevelt was telling exagerated stories about the Winston Churchill and Roosevelt would talk nonsense and reminisce. Mr. Hopkins, a Roosevelt advisor, would tell the two "leaders" to focus on that which their men were fighting and dying. (From Haiman, Group Leadership and Democratic Action page 119 quoting Robert Sherwood's Roosevelt and Hopkins.)

Morgenthau as Treasury Secretary lobbied first for something to be done to save the Jews in Europe during World War II--Roosevelt was inclined to emphasize winning the war--he did have information about the atrocities. And then Morgenthau was determined to have a relatively punitive peace against the Germans--which is what the emphasis of the book Conquerors Yet Morgenthau was unqualified to be Treasury Secretary, the "Brownie" of his time, a gentleman farmer.

As of August 25th, there was little planning on what do when the US won in Germany--like there was little before the Iraq invasion. Morgenthau was calling for Germany to be reduced to a 'land of small farms.' And while Americans were fighting and dieing, Secretary of War Stimson, Assistant Secretary of War McCloy and Morgenthau flew to Saranac club for an August holiday. And later the President were in their home at Hyde Park and motored to have "tea" with the Morgenthaus at their home.

And Morgenthau wanted to close down the Ruhr and sell all the machinery that could be moved and wreck the rest--damn the unemployed Germans. Secretary of War Stimson on the other hand was pushing Christian kindness towards the Germans and ensuring due process before shooting anyone--Stalin wanted 50,000 to die after "drumhead court martials."

Page 193 of Beschloss' book has James Dunn, third in the State Department, sneaked a document past his boss and Roosevelt taking advantage of Roosevelt getting sick. He said, 'I can't remember if I signed it. I have no idea what I signed.' A battle of documents over a dying President.

When told that Europe needed coal from Germany, the President suggested appointing three German businessmen to supervise the mines and if they didn't succeed, simply "shoot them." Morgenthau handed him a document revoking it.


  1. Hanan C. Selvin, The Effects of Leadership The Free Press of Glencoe, Illinois, 1960
  2. Michael Beschloss, The Conquerors, Simon and Shuster, 2002

For Future Thoughtful Thursdays

  1. Malcolm G. Preston and Roy K. Heintz, "Effects of Participatory vs. Supervisory Leadership on Group Judgment" Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology XLIV, 1949, 345 to 3355
  2. Cecil A. Gibb "Leadership" in Gardner Lindzey (ed) Handbook of Social Psychology Addison Wesley, 1954.
  3. Morris L. Cogan "Theory and Design of a Study of Teacher-Pupil Interaction" Harvard Educational Review 26, 1956, 315 to 342.
  4. A. Paul Hare, "Small Group Discussions with Particpatory and Supervisory Leadership" Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology XLVIII, 1953, 273 to 275
    reprinted n A. Paul Here et al. eds. Smalll Groups
  5. Michael Argyle , Godfrey Gardner and Frank Cioffi, "The Measurement of Supervisory Methods" human Relations X 1957 295 to 313
  6. Robert F. Bales and Philip E. Slater "Role Differentiation in Small Decison-Making Groups" in Talcott Parsons and Robert F. Bales Family, Socialization and Interaction Process Glencoe ILL The Free Press, 1955
  7. Robert L. Kahn and Daniel Katz, "Leadership Practices in Relation to Productivity and Morale" in Cartwright and Alvin Zander, Group Dynamics, Evanston ILL, Row, Pearson and Company