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Trends Ecol Evol. 2016 Jan;31(1):54-66. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.09.013. Epub 2015 Nov 6.

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

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Mills College, Oakland, CA 94613, USA. Electronic address: jesmith@mills.edu.
2
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Department of Mathematics, University of Tennessee, and National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.
3
Department of Anthropology, and Center for Population Biology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
4
Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
5
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.
6
Centre for Behavior and Evolution, and Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle NE2 4HH, UK.
7
Departments of Mathematics and Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
8
Institute for Human Origins, and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA.
9
Department of Anthropology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
10
Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
11
Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK.
12
Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3100, USA. Electronic address: easmith@uw.edu.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
26552515
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2015.09.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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