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Fundamentals of communication,

Leadership, Power, Authority & Charisma: events, political, financial

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Leadership research at the Universities of Iowa, Ohio & Michigan:

Most, if not all of you, readers of this book can easily recall coming across an article in a newspaper or
magazine, listening to a news story on a radio broadcast or watching a panel discussion among experts
in a TV program relating to the issues of leaders elected or appointed to a specific leadership position
ranging from politics and the financial world to religion and religious institutions. This chapter will
familiarize you with these 3 concepts.

A glimpse at recent political, financial and religious events

Prior to stating and examining the definitions and theoretical underpinnings of the concepts of
Leadership, Power and Authority, from both an academic and a journalistic viewpoint, our discussion
will acquire a heuristic focus as we take a brief glimpse at various developments in the political, financial
and religious spheres during the years 2012 and 2013. This brief glimpse will help us construct a dynamic
frame of reference, while setting the stage and providing a practical and useful perspective in appreciating
the above three concepts.

On Sunday, January 20, 2013, as the Constitution of the United States of America foresees, Mr. Barack
Obama, having won the National elections held in November 2012, was sworn in during a brief White
House ceremony as the 44th President of the USA to serve his second four year term in office. The open
air ceremony with the participation of thousands of members of the broader public took place 24 hours
later on Monday January 21st.

In November 2012 Mr. Xi Jinpin was appointed to the post of Secretary-General of China's Communist party
and he was also elected to the Office of President of his country on Thursday March 15, 2013. That same
day the National Peoples' Congress of China, in addition to the election of the country's President, went on
to elect the country's Premier as well as vice-premiers and various other State Ministers and Councillors.

Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Pope, in a move that took by surprise not only the Catholics but world
opinion as well, announced his resignation from his papal throne. The last Pope to resign from Papacy,
while still alive, was Gregory the XII, six centuries ago in 1415 during the Catholic Churches great Schism.
On Tuesday, March 13, 2013 the College of Catholic Cardinals elected the Jesuit Cardinal of Argentina,
Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th Pope. The newly elected Pope, as tradition dictates, decided to assume
for himself a name that none of the previous 265 Popes had elected becoming 'Francis the 1st' (signifying,
as he said in his first sermon, his interest for the poor as St Francis of Assisi had shown during his lifetime).

On Thursday 21st of March 2013, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, was sworn in as the 105th
Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of the Anglican Church succeeding the previous Archbishop, the most
Reverend Dr Rowan Williams, who resigned from the post after served as Archbishop for the last 10 years.

In May 2012 Mr. Francois Hollande, having won the French National elections succeeded Mr. Nikolas
Sarcozy as President of the French Republic.

In May 2012 Mr. Vladimir Putin, having won the national elections held earlier in 2012, took office as
the President of Russia to serve for a 6-year presidential term.

In 2013 Frau Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany, has come to be claimed and has emerged
as the undisputed leader among the 27 leaders of the 27 member-states of the European Union.

In Communist ruled People's Republic of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un (or Kim Jong-eun, or Kim Jungeun)
was appointed Supreme Leader of the country following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il a few
days before the end of 2011. He was bestowed with the titles of 'Supreme Commander of the Korean
People's Army' on December 30th 2011 and elected to the newly formed post of 'The First Secretary of
the Workers' Party of Korea' on 11 April 2012. On July 18, 2012 he was declared Marshall in the Korean
Army consolidating his supremacy in the Korean Armed Forces. He is the 3rd son of his father the late
Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and having been born in 1983 he is the World's youngest Head of State.

In November 2012 the Bank of England, broke a tradition adhered to for almost four centuries since its
inception, announcing that the post of Governor, from which the incumbent Sir Mervyn King stepped
down in July 2013, would be filled by Mr. Mark Carney, a Canadian citizen serving until he assumed
his new duties as Governor of the Central Bank of Canada.

In the summer of 2012 Mr. Robert (Bob) Diamond resigned from his post as Barclay Banks' CEO under
mounting pressure relating to the so called 'Libor Scandal' involving several British and world banks who
were accused for 'fixing Libor rates'. These interbank rates affect millions of small firms and homeowners.
It is already well known that the Banks involved have been fined and paid billions of dollars by US and
British regulatory agencies.

During April 2013 Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the first and up to now only woman Prime Minister of
the United Kingdom who served for 3 consecutive terms (1979–1990) and was given the historically
unprecedented title of the 'Iron Lady', passed away and was provided with a full honour military funeral
comparable to that given to Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

On April 30, 2013 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signed the necessary Official documents abdicating
her Throne after 33 years of what has been described as a successful period of Royal leadership. She
became Princess Beatrix and handed over the Kingdom to her eldest son Prince Willem-Alexander who
became Europe's youngest Monarch. The new King, as it turned out, is the first Man in the Throne of
Netherlands since the last King Willem III died in 1890 and was succeeded for a century by Queens
sitting in the Royal Netherlands Throne.

In the world of Sports, in May 2013 Sir Alex Ferguson, a man acclaimed as the world's most successful
manager and 'leader' of his team, in a sudden surprise move resigned from his post after having served
as manager of the Manchester United football for almost 27 years.

Starting with Plato and Aristotle

Plato's 'The Republic' (1991), in Greek, 'Πολιτεία', is one of his most widely known works. Socrates referred
to 'The Republic' as the utopian 'Kallipolis' from the Greek word meaning 'beautiful city', emerging from a
combination of the word 'κάλλος' (kallos) meaning beauty and 'πόλις' (polis) meaning city. Plato, (through
words uttered by Socrates), states that the Guardians, the Leaders, in this prototype in antiquity, and for that
matter for all times, 'utopian' city-State should be the philosophers or, those that would govern it, should
become genuine philosophers by engaging in a systematically ardent study of philosophy.

Even a brief look at the process through which these 'philosopher-king' Guardians (rulers) of the utopian
'Republic' will emerge will bring forth two basic tenets in Plato's philosophy and socio-political thinking.
First of these realizations is that leaders should be well trained and chosen from the best available human
resources and, second, that leaders are not born having through heredity the innate capacity to lead
but will be trained to be leaders through proper education. For Plato, who was clearly aristocratically
oriented in his political beliefs, these leaders should constitute the intellectual elite, as aristocrats of
merit and knowledge. Because of the differentiation of classes and the placement of members of these
classes ranging from the farmers to the Guardians, Plato in his utopian Republic emerges clearly as an
elitist favouring aristocracy and playing down the Athenian 'democracy'. Plato was indeed embittered
and furious with the 'Athenian Democracy' of his time which, through its justice system, condemned
Socrates to death by drinking a cup of poisonous hemlock (Conium in Greek) for introducing new
'demons' (new beliefs) to Athenian youths.

Aristotle (1996) proposed that the leaders should acquire 'sophrosyne' (in Greek the term 'σωφροσύνη'
means temperance, prudence, or even a harmonious state of self control) as he stated in his 'Nicomachean
Ethics' (in Greek 'Ηθικά Νικομάχεια'). Aristotle's emphasis on leaders and leadership focused on the
process of acquiring knowledge and experiences in an empirical fashion and not merely by intellectual
postulation (a process dear to his teacher Plato). Aristotle, furthermore, unlike his teacher Plato (and
Socrates) did not favour aristocracy choosing to stand in his political beliefs somewhere between oligarchy
and democracy. It is accepted by many that a simple, but often used differentiation, would characterize
Plato as the philosopher-theoretician who relied on a qualitative approach to reaching the ideal forms
and Aristotle as the scientist set out to reach the same goals and pursuits from a different vantage point,
namely that of empirical search.

Max Weber's theoretical viewpoint

Max Weber, (1978) the German sociologist-economist, analyzing and evaluating the concept of power
in human societies assumed and introduced in his writings a pluralistic approach. Although Weber,
characterised by some as 'Marx of the middle classes', agreed with Karl Marx in some of his sociological
insights, he attempted to refine and further extend Marx's analytical scheme in areas left untouched by him.

For Marx, (1991) power was always rooted, even at the most rudimentary level, in economic relations.
Marx was almost adamant in his perception (characterized by his critics as unidimensional if not utterly
monolithic) that the owners of the means of production can and, indeed, exercise political power in the
social system either directly or indirectly. Weber, in some respects, agreed with the Marxist position
admitting that often, especially in the realities of the modern capitalist world, economic power is the
predominant form of power.

Dowding (1995) in his book titled 'The Civil Service' presents an in-depth analysis of Weber's conception
of Bureaucracy. Weber bypassed the classic Marxist view relating to the owners of the production
means, by introducing the reality that economic power may be the consequence of power existing on
other grounds. In Weber's sociological perception of Bureaucracies it is true, even if existing in disguise,
that persons who are able to command large-scale bureaucratic organizations may wield a great deal of
economic power even though they are not owners of such bureaucracies but only salaried employees.

Kirby (2000) presents in a text useful for students and in a pleasantly readable approach Weber's theses
on the concept of power. For Weber 'power' is a characteristic describing the case where one man, or a
number of men, who posses it are able to impose their own will in communal action, even against the
resistance of others affected by it. Weber based his perceptions on the historical evolution of society and
social institutions and came to the conclusion that the basis from which such power can be exercised
varies according to the given social context of a given historical time, relating to and interdependent
with given structural and historical circumstances.

In Weber's theoretical-explanatory viewpoint, the Marxist view emphasizing only one specific source
of power, that is the economy, was considered as 'dogmatic'. For Weber this 'dogmatic' approach cannot
adequately explain the variety the sources of power emerging as substantial empirical questions. Indeed,
contrary to Marx, Weber argued that men's struggle for power is not synonymous to and cannot be
exhausted merely in their efforts to become rich. For Weber, power, in all its forms and surely including
economic power, should be valued for its own sake. Unlike Marx, Weber held the opinion that men's
struggle for power is closely related to, and simultaneously conditioned by, the social 'honour' it entails.

Gerth (1958) in his translation of Weber's work in the English language and Coser (1971) outlining,
among others, the German sociologists' three types of legitimate rule have brought forth Weber's specific
modes of claiming legitimacy by gaining authority:

Presented first is the 'rational', or 'legal', authority which seems to characterize hierarchical structures
in modern social systems. This type of authority, in Weber's conception, is anchored in impersonal
rules which have been legally enacted or contractually established and based on rational grounds.
Persons elevated to authority positions through this type of legitimized domination gain the right to
issue commands and expect others to follow them since they are intertwined with regularity, obedience
and belief. Within this theoretical framework belong parent-child relationships and domination within
the family, teacher-student relationships, priest and church member relationships, employer-employee
relationships and, finally, the political rule that is generally accepted, obeyed and followed.

The 'rational-legal' type of authority may come into existence in various societies in a variety of ways
related to the social system's adaptation of regulations, laws and convention. Weber looking at the realities
characterizing Western societies connected them to the development of rationality and bureaucracy.

In Weber's theoretical scheme the second type of authority is termed 'traditional' authority and he
suggested that this constituted the dominant form in pre-modern societies as it was anchored in and
sustained by strong beliefs in the sanctity of tradition. Traditional authority may be inherited or bestowed
upon certain persons by persons holding higher authority in a group or small social system. Weber
suggested that traditional authority passes on from the original holders to one or more designated
holders and is accepted and not challenged by the individuals subordinated to the person(s) holding it.
Traditional authority was historically manifest in religious, sacred, or spiritual forms and for Weber it
was well established and slowly changing in cultural or tribal, family, or clan type structures. Dominant
in such structures was usually a priest, a clan leader, a family head, or some other patriarch, or some
elite of persons who governed the subordinate group of other persons.

In Weber's words, as noted by Gerth and Mills (1958, p. 297):'this traditionalist domination rests upon a
belief in the sanctity of everyday routines.' In many cases, traditional authority was considered by Weber
to have been buttressed by culture such as myths or connection to the sacred, symbols such as a cross or
flag, and by structures and institutions which perpetuate this traditional authority. Weber, additionally,
was concerned with how these traditional forms of authority hindered the development of capitalism
in non-western societies. Gerontocracy (from the Greek word 'γεροντοκρατία' meaning the rule of the
elderly) and patriarchalism (from the Greek word 'πατριάρχης' meaning the head of the family) are two
of the most widespread types of traditional authority.

Weber considered the patriarchal system, the legitimacy of which rests mainly upon tradition, as the
most important type of domination. Patriarchal is the type of authority held by fathers, husbands, seniors
in the house or the elder sib over the members of the household. The patriarchal system, furthermore,
includes the rule of the master and patron over bondsmen, serfs and freed men. Patriarchalism includes
the authority held and exercised by what is a patrimonial lord and sovereign prince over his 'subjects'
and so, Weber suggested, ensures the authority of the lord over the domestic servants and household
officials, of the prince over house- and court-officials, nobles of office, clients and vassals.

The third type of authority, 'charismatic authority', emerges as a result of the leaders' appeal to their
followers because of their heroic, religious or ethical aptitudes, skills or dexterities. In using this type of
authority legitimization, Weber brought to modern usage in sociological theory the ancient Greek tem of
'charisma' (from the Greek word 'χάρισμα' meaning a gift of grace, a mysterious personality characteristic).
Charisma, in other words, is a quality of an individual personality that is considered extraordinary, and
followers may consider this quality to be endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or exceptional powers
or qualities. Weber, as did ancient Greek philosophers before him, contended that whether such powers
actually exist or do not is an irrelevant consideration since, to the extent that followers believe that such
powers exist in given persons is what is important, what renders them charismatic.

Giddens (2006, p. 845) underlined Weber's consideration of charisma as a driving and creative force
which surges through traditional authority and established rules. In essence, the sole basis of charismatic
authority is the recognition or acceptance of the claims of the leader by the followers. While this may
appear irrational, in that it is not calculable or systematic, it can indeed be revolutionary, breaking
traditional rule and can even challenge legal authority. Particular leaders may have unusual characteristics
that make them leaders. This may relate to a special gift of a leader, a particular style of speaking and
acting, or extraordinary qualities.

Ritzer (2007, p. 35) brought forth the notion that although Weber did not deny that a charismatic leader
may have outstanding characteristics, his sense of charisma was more dependent on the group of disciples
and the way that they define the charismatic leader. In a rather blunt statement of Weber's position, if
the disciples define a leader as charismatic, then he or she is likely to be a charismatic leader irrespective
of whether he or she actually possesses any outstanding traits.

The readers of this book who happen to be already familiar with Weber's 'ideal type' of sociological
schemes, as well as those who are not familiar with Weber's work, should bear in mind that the above
three types of authority constitute 'pure theoretical constructs' which are not met in the everyday reality
in social institutions or in human societies. It has been often cited in academic literature and in popular
journalistic assessments that looking at the real world one will encounter mixtures of the above three types
of the processes involved in authority legitimating. An example from the history of Weber's homeland,
Germany, is Hitler's domination which has been attributed by various social and political scientists and
public commentators to his charisma. However, bypassing what some have termed Hitler's charismatic
personality (used often as an example of the fact that charisma is not always a blessing) another sociopolitical
variable must be taken into account. Shirer (1960) is one of the many writers who have suggested
that during the rise and the establishment of the Nazis of the third Reich, the Germanic Volk tradition
and the existing structures of the German civil law served the strengthening and the appeal of National
Socialism to the German public.

Be it as it may, Weber's typology of the three authority legitimating types is considered sociologically
significant as it deviates from other political theories exhausting themselves on the attributes of the leader
alone since it introduces the significant role dramatized by the relations between leaders and followers.

Enter Machiavelli, Sennet & Habermas

Contrary to the concept of charismatic authority that helps one person to emerge as a leader, Machiavelli
(1513) wrote The Prince, advocating the use of deception in order to gain and maintain control, as the
ends justified the means and that the public can be easily corrupted. When it became necessary, however,
Machiavelli suggested use of force to coerce the public:

'The populace is by nature fickle; it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to confirm them
in that persuasion. Therefore one must urgently arrange matters so that when they no longer believe
they can be made to believe by force. (Machiavelli, 1513/1961, p. 19)

Machiavelli accurately described the demagogue-propagandist in suggesting to his 'Prince' that 'everyone
sees who you appear to be, few sense who you really are' and went on to elaborate:

'A prince, therefore, need not necessarily have all the good qualities I men tioned above, but he should
certainly appear to have them…. He should appear to be compassionate, faithful to his word, kind,
guileless, and devout.…But his disposition should be such that, if he needs to be the oppo site, he knows
how'. (pp. 55–56)

Sennet (1993), the noted American sociologist, contrasted Weber's thesis on authority rather sharply
arguing that: 'authority need not be legitimate in the eyes of the population' (p. 18). This constitutes
one of the most thought-provoking accounts of authority and power. Authority, for Sennett, is related
to qualities such as the capacity to inspire fear, the ability to impose discipline, superior judgement and
assurance. Power for Sennet, above all else, possesses the image of strength, since: 'it is the will of one
person prevailing over the will of the other' (p. 170). 'Authority' is a characteristic considered by Sennett
to be both an 'emotional connection' between people and, simultaneously, a 'constraint' upon people.
These bonds are seen as 'timeless' rather than 'personal'. Emotional bonds often appear to mesh people
together even in cases where they happen to be against their own personal or financial benefit. Sennet
suggests that even though the desire to be under some authority could be indispensable, people fear
the damage that authority can do to their liberties and, additionally, they sense that emotional bonds of
authority are seldom stable in nature. Thus, in contrast to Weber, who believed that authority was built
upon legitimacy in the eyes of the people who were subject to the control of the authority, Sennett brings
forth the very interesting thesis arguing that people may feel attracted to figures they do not believe to
be, necessarily, legitimate (p. 26).

Habermas (1976, pp. 1–7), the noted German sociologist-philosopher, on the other hand, theorized that
rationalisation is an unstoppable process and social systems constitute 'life-worlds' that are 'symbolically
structured'. In his view the concept of lifeworld refers to the 'world of lived experience' the taken-forgranted
world of commonsense assumptions that people share within a given community.

Looking inside the social system, Habermas identifies three subsystems: the socio-cultural, the political
and the economic. Within each one of these subsystems, Habermas (1976, pp. 45–95) proceeds to
distinguish the 'normative structures' from the 'substratum categories' and goes on to differentiate four
types of crises that may emerge at given historical points: 'An economic crisis emerges when the required
number of consumable values is not produced, and therefore consumer demands cannot be fulfilled. A
rationality crisis emerges when the required number of rational decisions is not produced, people question
the nature of the decisions made by the state, and people lose faith in the ability of institutions to make
rational decisions. A legitimation crisis emerges when the required number of 'generalised motivations' is
not produced and the encouragement for people to act and think in a supportive way about the system
is absent. A motivational crisis emerges when the required number of 'action-motivating' meanings is
not produced and as a result the motivation for people to act becomes dysfunctional for the state.'

The era of 'scientific management' and the Hawthorne studies

Discussing the field of Public Relations in part two of this book, we took a brief glimpse at the historically
unprecedented expansion of industrial production in the USA during the last decades of the 19th and the
early decades of the 20th century. At this point we will take a brief look at the publication and impressive
initial acceptance of the theory of 'scientific management' (also labelled as Taylorism) by the engineer
Frederick Taylor (1856–1915). Taylor's theory was an elementary approach to the application of 'scientific
principles' in managing people within the industrial settings and coordinating their activities so as to
achieve improved production and economic benefits accruing from it. Outstanding among Taylor's ideas
were the time and motion studies he pioneered. According to time and motion studies each task was broken
down to its most elementary form and the average time needed to complete the task was calculated after
measuring the actions of many individual workers. The findings were used by what were then known as
'personnel departments' the precursors to today's Human Resource departments. This, of course, meant
that workers would be judged for their performance against a 'set time norm' leading, as some critics noted,
to intensification of work and the potential diminution of human beings to mere automatons.

Taking a parallel glimpse at the work of the French engineer Henri Fayol (1841–1925) we will see
that he is credited with the first succinct chartering of the principles of management often referred to
as 'Fayolism. Fayol included in his theory of management the functions of forecasting and planning,
organizing, commanding/directing, coordinating and controlling. Fayol's original management principles
have survived the test of time, while Taylor's 'scientific management' faded away although some of its
fundamental techniques, such as time and motion studies, continue to exist in fairly widespread use on
a global basis.

The work of these two men and of their disciples served as the foundation of studying, understanding and
assessing leadership in private and public enterprises and organizations. In the context of the 'scientific
management' movement, industrial managers and university related academic staff and researchers
experimented with a number of variables aiming to improve production outputs and facilitate better
economic frameworks for achieving increased profit results. Among the researched variables were
the working environment including physical conditions, piped-in music and lighting conditions in
the production areas as well as the compensation bonuses provided by personnel departments. The
Hawthorne studies belong to this category of research efforts.

The 'Hawthorne studies' (1924–1932) owe their title to the fact that they were conducted at the Western
Electric's plant located in the suburb of Hawthorne in the vicinity of Chicago. The initial aim of the
researchers was to measure the effect different levels of lighting had on productivity. Two noted Harvard
University professors were in charge of the project, Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger, cooperating
with the plant's employee relations department head William Dickson. It is interesting to note that the
project was also partially funded by General Electric which withdrew its support when the first results
showed that there were no significant relations existing between levels of lighting and the productivity
of workers.

The impressive, unexpected, results were that productivity increased in both the experimental and the
control groups leading the Hawthorne researchers to theorize that in fact the human relations elements
in the industrial setting were more important to productivity levels than previously thought. The findings
of the 'Hawthorne experiments' came under question on the basis of their methodological and other
weaknesses but the fact remains that they proved that workers' productivity was related more to factors
such as recognition and human relations in the work place rather than working conditions and small
remuneration improvements.

Analyzing and appraising the various aspects of these research efforts, some decades later, Henry
Landsberger (1958) coined the term 'The Hawthorne effect' now widely used in management studies.
The 'Hawthorne effect' indicates that various production groups may, temporarily, show increased
performance levels which come not as a result of manipulating different variables relating to the
production process but rather because the production groups realize that they are being studied and
observed, or to put it in simpler terms and in other words, someone is paying attention to their work
behaviour.


  1. Communication is a universal phenomenon: system of 4 components
  2. Human Communication: scheme of human communication, defining
  3. Body Language: darwins contribution, intrigue of body language
  4. Mass Media & social media: stone inscription, printing process
  5. The Role of attitudes in human communication: defining attitudes
  6. The birth of a speciality: roots in antiquity, historic glimpse
  7. Publics, Public Opinion and its moulders: historical evolution, term
  8. Rhetoric, Persuasion and Propaganda: rome, love, definitions, variety
  9. Corporate Communication & Responsibility: corporate communication
  10. Press releases, special events and sponsorships: PR specialist
  11. Leaders and Leadership: pantheon of leaders, persons, injustice
  12. Leadership, Power, Authority & Charisma: events, political, financial
  13. Leadership research at the Universities of Iowa, Ohio & Michigan:
  14. Modern theories of leadership in Private and Public Enterprises and Or
  15. Instead of an epilogue: Women leaders remain under a glass ceiling:
  16. References: Bibliography
  17. The Author: Dr Georgios P. Piperopoulos, sociology, psychology