Social change and leadership

Historians pay a lot of attention to important periods of social change -- the emergence of new political movements, the development of a great city, the end of Jim Crow segregation. There is an inclination to give a lot of weight to the importance of leaders, visionaries, and change-makers in driving these processes to successful …

Doug McAdam on contentious politics and the social sciences

Doug McAdam is hard at work shedding new light on the meso-dynamics of contention.  What are the specific social and psychological mechanisms that bring people into social movements; what factors and processes make mobilization more feasible when social grievances arise?  Recently he has done work on the impact of Teach for America on its participants, …

The March on Washington, August 1963

African-American citizens and a host of supporters made some of this country's most important history almost forty-seven years ago in the mobilization that resulted in the March on Washington in August, 1963.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most famous speech on the occasion, and of course many of us are remembering Dr. King's …

Messy regional problems and collaborative leaders

Regions are highly complex social formations: millions of people, thousands of businesses, hundreds of non-profit organizations, and lots of problems.  Some problems are relatively simple to deal with.  If the local river is being polluted by sanitary system overflows during heavy storms, the solution is costly but straightforward: the region needs to invest in a …

Leaders within complex organizations

Complex organizations depend on an extended group of leaders who have the responsibility of articulating and carrying out the missions of the organization. Leadership groups within complex organizations should be expected to be a factor that influences the performance of the organization, for better or worse. Here I am thinking of medium-sized organizations -- 500-2500 …

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