IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/cup/apsrev/v102y2008i03p351-368_08.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation

Author

Listed:
  • DEWAN, TORUN
  • MYATT, DAVID P.

Abstract

What is leadership? What is good leadership? What is successful leadership? Answers emerge from our study of a formal model in which followers face a coordination problem: they wish to choose the best action while conforming as closely as possible to the actions of others. Although they would like to do the right thing and do it together, followers are unsure about the relative merits of their options. They learn about their environment and the likely moves of others by listening to leaders. These leaders bridge differences of opinion and become coordinating focal points. A leader's influence increases with her judgement (her sense of direction) and her ability to convey ideas (her clarity of communication). A leader with perfect clarity enjoys greater influence than one with a perfect sense of direction. When followers choose how much attention to pay to leaders, they listen only to the most coherent communicators. However, power-hungry leaders who need an audience sometimes obfuscate their messages, but less so when their followers place more emphasis on conformity than on doing the right thing.

Suggested Citation

  • Dewan, Torun & Myatt, David P., 2008. "The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 351-368, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:102:y:2008:i:03:p:351-368_08
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/S0003055408080234/type/journal_article
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Geore-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Transparency of Information and Coordination in Economies with Investment Complementarities," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000289, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Transparency of Information and Coordination in Economies with Investment Complementarities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 91-98, May.
    3. Enriqueta Aragonés & Zvika Neeman, 1994. "Strategic ambiguity in electoral competition," Economics Working Papers 162, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1996.
    4. Chris Edmond, 2013. "Information Manipulation, Coordination, and Regime Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1422-1458.
    5. George-Marios Angeletos & Christian Hellwig & Alessandro Pavan, 2007. "Dynamic Global Games of Regime Change: Learning, Multiplicity, and the Timing of Attacks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 711-756, May.
    6. Kroszner, Randall S & Stratmann, Thomas, 2005. "Corporate Campaign Contributions, Repeat Giving, and the Rewards to Legislator Reputation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 41-71, April.
    7. Hermalin, Benjamin E, 1998. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1188-1206, December.
    8. Dewan, Torun & Myatt, David P., 2007. "Leading the Party: Coordination, Direction, and Communication," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 827-845, November.
    9. Richard Zeckhauser, 1969. "Majority Rule with Lotteries on Alternatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 696-703.
    10. Hao Li & Sherwin Rosen & Wing Suen, 2001. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1478-1497, December.
    11. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
    12. Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati & Matthias Sutter & Eline van der Heijden, 2004. "Leadership and cooperation in public goods experiments," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-29, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    13. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    14. Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce & Morrow, James D. & Siverson, Randolph M. & Smith, Alastair, 2002. "Political Institutions, Policy Choice and the Survival of Leaders," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(4), pages 559-590, October.
    15. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:102:y:2008:i:03:p:351-368_08. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: https://www.cambridge.org/psr .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.