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May 19, 2023
  • Our arguments thus far have been premised on an assumption that leaders gain power through their ability to define group identities. Leaders who define themselves as the embodiment of the group may be no more or less able than those who do not. But the former will certainly be more able to harness the energies of the group than the latter.

    A proposal that is framed as realizing group beliefs may be no better or worse than one that is not. But the former will certainly be more likely to garner collective support than the latter. Our argument was that leaders who want to get things done need power. And to get power (in the sense of power through, rather than power over; Turner, 2005), they need to be entrepreneurs of identity.

    Our focus previously has been on the forms that this entrepreneurship takes—and indeed we have shown that effective leaders leave no aspect of identity untouched in the course of their quest. Now, in this chapter, we want to step back.

    To start with, we will look more closely at the link between leadership, identity, and power. What are the different ways in which leaders can control the behavior of others, and how do issues of identity affect these forms of control? As should already be apparent from what has gone before, our aim is to demonstrate that, where leaders can establish a consonance between themselves, their proposals, and group identity, there will be a qualitative shift in their ability to control mass action

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