Evolutionary, Biological, and Neuroscience Perspectives

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Evolutionary theory may provide an overarching framework that can connect these separate lines of inquiry into leadership. This chapter discusses new theoretical perspective on leadership evolutionary leadership theory, or in short, EvoL theory—which is guided by the principles of Darwin's evolutionary theory, and explains how leadership and followership psychology may have been shaped through selection pressures operating on humans in ancestral environments. It defines leadership broadly here in terms of a process of influence over the establishment of goals, logistics of coordination, monitoring of effort, and reward or punishment strategies. The chapter discusses natural history of leadership, how leadership may have evolved in steps from rather crude device for synchronizing the activities of simple organisms to complex social structures able to coordinate the activities of millions of humans dispersed across space and time. It presents recent data on leadership collected by behavioral scientists—using a variety of methods from mathematical models to ethnographies and from animal behavior observations to neuroscience experiments—showing the richness and diversity of an evolutionary perspective on leadership. Finally, the chapter addresses some implications of adopting an evolutionary perspective for developing further theory and research on leadership with a particular focus on the mismatch hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Nature of Leadership
EditorsJohn Antonakis, David V. Day
PublisherSAGE Publications
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781506395005
ISBN (Print)9781483359274
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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