Authority and Leadership

May 16, 2019

Authority - according to the great sociologist Max Weber - can have the traditional-sacred nature (as it occurs in the religious institutions, monarchies and, even in familiar groups), rational-legal (as it is common in the companies and governments) and charismatic (notably in political parties, but also in companies). Many psychologists have approached the power of this charisma in their leadership and influence archetypes, in an interminable debate on dealing with a born or acquired trace by individuals.

In the entrepreneurial context addressed to the culture development, the leaderships' role is critical and, certainly, exceeds the charisma possibilities. It is clear that charismatic leaderships have well-known capacity of group mobilization. Even though, I will approach the exercise of the leadership under the rational-legal optics, without taking into consideration all its impact in the semi optical set that express basic values, beliefs, norms and purpose of a social group.

In the initial stage of cultural formation, after the first leaderships sharing their proper social repertory, after the group internalizing and trying such repertory in practice, after the leaders and the subordinates making things right and failing in the application of these principles, finally the group legitimize a certain refined set of values, beliefs and thoughts as their own social references.

As culture form itself like a political-symbolic process in a permanent interactive dynamics of plea, transformation and domination, in case the leaderships get to preserve their power, they will continue to influence the culture.

Thus, throughout the process of cultural development, the leaderships assume basic role in the use of primary and secondary mechanisms that can assure consistency of this evolution.

Leaders, whether conscious or not, utilize culture fixation mechanism.

- Attention, mensuration and control focus by the leaderships;

. Ways of reaction of the leaderships in face of crises and critical events;

. Natural behavior of the leaders in different interactions with teams;

. Adopted criteria in the definition of recognition and social status;

. Criteria adopted in the selection, promotion, resignation and retirement.

Moreover, leaders also use secondary mechanisms of articulation and reinforcement:

. Organizational Design;

. Internal policies and procedures;

. Physical environment;

. Set of legends and myths;

. Symbolic devices;

. Formal codes of enterprise behavior;

. Institutional manifests.

Therefore, the leaderships shape the culture of a social group.


Daniel Motta is the Founder and CEO of BMI Blue Management Institute, a leading niche consulting firm. He is a global thought leader focused on culture, strategy and leadership. He has a PhD in Economics, MSc in Financial Economics and BA in Economics. He is also an OPMer from Harvard Business School. He is the Managing Director of USA-based VC company White Fox Capital and the Senior Tupinambá Maverick of bossa&etc. He was a co-founder of Brazilian Society of Finance. He currently serves NGO UNIBES as Strategic Planning Principal. He is the author of the best selling books Essential Leadership and book Anthesis. He also has three articles published by Harvard Business Review. He is a Board Member of MASP.