Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2018, 141-159


The Origin of Leadership: Evolutionary View of the Relationship between Leaders and Their Followers

Benjamin Banai - Department of Psychology, University of Zadar, Zadar
Zvjezdan Penezić - Department of Psychology, University of Zadar, Zadar

Fulltext (croatian, pages 141-159).pdf

Leadership is present across different formal and informal human groups. So far, social sciences such as economy, political science, and psychology dealt with this issue. Research in this field was mainly aimed at the description of leadership, and was focused on leaders. Recently, evolutionary reasoning has been applied to research in the field, shifting the focus of research towards the emergence of leadership. This approach emphasizes the adaptive value of leadership which benefits both leaders and followers, who form the majority of the population. Within evolutionary leadership theory, it is assumed that the leader-follower relationship is an adaptation formed during evolutionary history that solved the problem of group coordination. Three lines of research will be presented in this review. First, different forms of leadership among animal groups across various species, ranging from insects to primates, are discussed. Second, anthropological evidence of leadership among modern hunter-gatherer societies, whose life-style resembles those of early humans, will be presented. Finally, evidence of evolutionary mismatch, indicating that people still show preferences for characteristics that indicated good leadership skills in ancestral times, but not nowadays, will be provided.

evolutionary psychology, evolutionary leadership theory, hunter-gatherers, animals, evolutionary mismatch, followership

© Naklada Slap, with you since 1985. All rights reserved.
Kontakt: Head office

Dr. Franje Tuđmana 33, 10450 Jastrebarsko

+ 385 (0)1 6281 774
Branch office

Centar za edukacije i istraživanja
Miramarska cesta 105, 10000 Zagreb
+ 385 (0)1 6313 044