Leadership in Mammalian Societies: Emergence, Distribution, Power, and Payoff.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Leadership is an active area of research in both the biological and social sciences. This review provides a transdisciplinary synthesis of biological and social-science views of leadership from an evolutionary perspective, and examines patterns of leadership in a set of small-scale human and non-human mammalian societies. We review empirical and theoretical work on leadership in four domains: movement, food acquisition, within-group conflict mediation, and between-group interactions. We categorize patterns of variation in leadership in five dimensions: distribution (across individuals), emergence (achieved versus inherited), power, relative payoff to leadership, and generality (across domains). We find that human leadership exhibits commonalities with and differences from the broader mammalian pattern, raising interesting theoretical and empirical issues.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, JE; Gavrilets, S; Mulder, MB; Hooper, PL; Mouden, CE; Nettle, D; Hauert, C; Hill, K; Perry, S; Pusey, AE; van Vugt, M; Smith, EA

Published Date

  • January 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 54 - 66

PubMed ID

  • 26552515

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-8383

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0169-5347

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.tree.2015.09.013


  • eng