Professor van Vugt’s theory, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, states that: leadership – whether it be political, business, sports or otherwise – is the product of human evolutionary history in which, for several million years, humans lived and worked together in small groups in order to survive (much like our primate cousins, the chimpanzee); and leadership helped our ancestors cope with the pressures of group life and enabled them to more successfully defend their group against other groups. Leadership thus played a crucial role in the success of humans, and is now deeply embedded in our genes; so much so that the human brain possesses a hardwired leadership ‘prototype’, a fixed idea of how a leader should behave and what they should look like, that is innate and difficult to change.
Professor van Vugt also argues that for millions of years there was no formal leadership in human groups. He says, ‘Essentially, it was the best hunter or the fiercest warrior that emerged as leader. In present times, we still evaluate leaders in that way. The most admired leaders are the ones that help us defeat an enemy group – leaders such as Winston Churchill – or unite a country like Elizabeth I or Nelson Mandela.
‘Furthermore, living for millions of years in small groups with close personal contacts between leaders and followers has ensured that what we are looking for in leadership is an intimate personal touch. Ideally we would like our leaders to know us personally and take an active interest in our lives. This, of course, is increasingly difficult in modern society in which leaders govern millions of people. Yet successful leaders are still the ones that make people feel special – charismatic leaders like Jesus or Gandhi are historical examples.’
He also finds that leaders who try to dominate followers are particularly disliked. In ancestral times, overbearing and selfish leaders were simply ignored, ridiculed or sometimes even killed. This egalitarian ethos is still visible in modern society in which political leaders often become the target of ridicule or hatred.
Professor van Vugt’s new evolutionary theory of leadership also helps to explain why humans have deeply rooted ‘follower’ instincts, and why we often choose the wrong kind of leaders. ‘The way we select our leaders now is very different from the way leaders emerged among early humans,’ he says. ‘Because we tend to ignore our evolutionary heritage, the rate of leadership failure is extremely high –for example, in the business world it is estimated to be around 65 percent.’
Gary Hughes | alfa
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy