Polarization, Incivility and Election Interests: The Constraints of Political Leadership in American Democracy
AuthorMcCain, Jesse Louis
AdvisorMcCain, Jesse Louis
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractLeadership has and always will be a dynamic part of human society. As social cohesion needs to be reconciled and group decision making manageable, leaders will continue to play a pivotal roll in shaping the world we live in. But understanding effective leadership and how leaders operate requires an examination of context. Leadership scholar Warren Bennis constructs in detail a vision of what he calls the transformational leader, one at the apex of power who embodies a follower-centered approach to leading. Transformational leaders ignite a personal relationship and vested interest among followers in their cause, one that pleases a majority while inspiring action. In the context of social movements we find that this type of leadership can be attainable. Political leaders however face significant constraints in fulfilling the criteria of the transformational leader. Polarization, incivility and election interests function within democracy to limit political leaders from realizing substantive goals. Applying the standards of transformational leadership to politics proves to be unfair. Political leaders will never fully attain the ideals of transformational leadership, as political leadership operates in a completely different context. We should therefore have a different standard of assessment for successful political leadership.
Degree ProgramHonors College