Chapter 1: Leadership and individualism
The West is in the cold season of excessive individualism and yearns for the warmth of community to allow human relations to blossom. (Etzioni, 1993, p. x). As described in the introduction it seems that concepts of leadership shift between individualistic and distributed perspectives that are reflected in the duality of notions of society [Gesellschaft] and community [Gemeinschaft]. A push towards Gesellschaft and ideas of society develops ideas of individualism in leadership studies and a push towards Gemeinschaft and concepts of community develops ideas of a distributed nature when discussing leadership. As also pointed out in the introduction there appears to be a propensity in contemporary writing on leadership that errs towards the individual. On the surface, therefore, taking a community perspective on leadership, as this book does, might redress the balance. However, as we shall see in this chapter, the issue of individualism and community is a little more complex. For instance, individualism can be seen as integrated into concepts of community (Delanty, 2003 ) and that what we witness then is a dynamic duality of individualism within and about concepts of community. In Durkheim’s (1897 ) work (cited in Gusfield, 1975, p. 15) he suggests that organic solidarity could not be sustained without risk to the individual personality. Also Lichterman (1996) proposes community relies heavily on ideas of individuality. Other writers (for example, Sandal, 1982; Schaar, 1983) have also highlighted that the self is constituted by community (for example, Corlett, 1989; MacMurray, 1996).