The Puzzle of Leadership: The Interplay between Individual Traits and Coordination Mechanisms

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Kasper Feliks Hlebowicz , Jerome Buhl, Stephan T Leu


In social systems, movement of individual group members scales up to spatiotemporal dynamics of the group. However, the level of influence on group movement dynamics can be variable among group members. The influence of an individual is often referred to as their leadership potential. However, despite the common occurrence of leader-follower patterns across various taxa, little is known whether leadership relates to certain traits of the leader or whether it emerges from the behavioural coordination of leader and followers. Furthermore, leadership can also emerge as a by-product of group coordination mechanisms. This review highlights the variability of leadership across individuals, social groups, and populations emphasizing the need for an interdisciplinary research approach. By combining theory, observations, and novel technologies, we can explore the relationships between social responsiveness, movement characteristics, and coordination processes, advancing our understanding of leadership's ecological and evolutionary implications.



Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences


leadership1, sociality2, collective behaviour3, collective decision making4, movement ecology5, among-individual variation6, leadership, sociality, collective behaviour, collective decision making, movement ecology, among-individual variation


Published: 2023-08-07 23:39


CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

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