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

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