Heroic leaders and Influentials: a connection

Posted by on Jan 25, 2008 in Uncategorized | One Comment


Ok here’s a thought:

Maybe our need to believe in the heroic leaders model of history and management is at some level connected to/explained by our need to believe in some consumers being more influential than others…

Maybe they both come from the same mechanistic, heirarchical assumptions about the world?

Maybe – just maybe – they’re both are wrong for the same reasons? Both insist that mass behaviour changes if and only if somebody does something to the mass (the lumpenproles?)

I suspect both are just as hard to shake, how ever much you point out the errors and the facts…

As Mintzberg says about companies and leaders, its all about “complex systems” which involve the co-creation of interesting outcomes (sometimes at least) which we can only make sense of in retrospect. It’s more about the crowds than Comrade Lenin but naturally we (and he) describe it otherwise.

Just a thought, you know…

Hat tip btw to Johnnie for most recent stimulation in this area

1 Comment

  1. Matt Moore
    January 29, 2008

    The “great man” theory of history has been around for a long time (of which heroic leaders and influencers are examples).
    Its appeal to “great men” is pretty obvious. Its appeal to the rest of us probably requires a bit more explanation:
    – It’s nice and simple.
    – It relieves us of responsibility. It is all down to someone else after all.
    – It’s not wholly wrong.