Emergence of leadership within a homogeneous group

Brent E. Eskridge, Elizabeth Valle, Ingo Schlupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Large scale coordination without dominant, consistent leadership is frequent in nature. How individuals emerge from within the group as leaders, however transitory this position may be, has become an increasingly common question asked. This question is further complicated by the fact that inmany of these aggregations, differences between individuals are minor and the group is largely considered to be homogeneous. In the simulations presented here, we investigate the emergence of leadership in the extreme situation in which all individuals are initially identical. Using a mathematical model developed using observations of natural systems, we show that the addition of a simple concept of leadership tendencies which is inspired by observations of natural systems and is affected by experience can produce distinct leaders and followers using a nonlinear feedback loop. Most importantly, our results show that small differences in experience can promote the rapid emergence of stable roles for leaders and followers. Our findings have implications for our understanding of adaptive behaviors in initially homogeneous groups, the role experience can play in shaping leadership tendencies, and the use of self-assessment in adapting behavior and, ultimately, self-role-assignment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0134222
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

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