Definition of Authoritarian Leadership
(noun) A leadership style in which a leader takes charge of all decisions, issues orders, and assigns tasks without consulting the group’s members.
Examples of Authoritarian Leadership
- Fascist leaders such as Francisco Franco (1892–1975), Adolf Hitler (1889–1945), and Benito Mussolini (1883–1945).
Authoritarian Leadership Pronunciation
Syllabification: au·thor·i·tar·i·an lead·er·ship
- American English – /uh-thor-uh-tAIR-ee-uhn lEE-duhr-ship/
- British English – /aw-thor-i-tEUH-riuhn lEE-duh-ship/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /əˌθɔrəˈtɛriən ˈlidərˌʃɪp/
- British English – /ɔːˌθɒrɪˈteərɪən ˈliːdəʃɪp/
- Authoritarian leadership results in leaders “taking charge” of a situation.
- Kurt Lewin, Ronald Lippitt, and R. K. White developed a leadership typology by studying 10-year-old boys in school. Their findings were published in the “Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Experimentally Created ‘Social Climates‘” (1939). The resulting typology was authoritarian leadership, democratic leadership, and laissez-faire leadership.
- A colloquial way to understand these three leadership style is an authoritarian leader “takes charge,” a democratic leader “includes others before acting,” and a laissez-faire leader “is hands off.”
- An (noun) autocratic leader or (noun) authoritarian leader uses an (noun) authoritarian style to lead.
- “Authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire types of leadership also reflect individual personality as much as any organisational plan. Then, too, in the ‘real world’ of organisations, leaders and their cronies sometimes seek to benefit personally through the abuse of organisational power. And perhaps even more commonly, leaders take credit for the efforts of their subordinates. Many secretaries, for example, have far more authority and responsibility than their official job titles and salaries suggest” (Macionis and Plummer 2012:172).
- Word origin of “authoritarian” and “leader” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Goethals, George R., Georgia J. Sorenson, and James MacGregor Burns. 2004. Encyclopedia of Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Helgesen, Sally. 1990. The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership. New York: Doubleday Currency.
- Ridgeway, Cecilia L. 1983. The Dynamics of Small Groups. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Scheidlinger, S. 1994. “The Lewin, Lippitt and White Study of Leadership and ‘Social Climates’ Revisited.” International Journal of Group Psychotherapy 44(1):123–27. doi:10.1080/00207284.1994.11490737.
- White, Ralph, and Ronald Lippitt. 1953. “Leader Behavior and Member Reaction in Three ‘Social Climates.'” Pp. 586–611 in Group Dynamics, edited by D. Cartwright, and A. Zander. Evanston, IL: Row & Peterson.
- Leadership Styles – Kendra Cherry: psychology.about.com
Lewin, Kurt, Ronald Lippitt, and R. K. White. 1939. “Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Experimentally Created ‘Social Climates.'” The Journal of Social Psychology 10(2):271–99. doi:10.1080/00224545.1939.9713366.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Cite the Definition of Authoritarian Leadership
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “authoritarian leadership.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/authoritarian-leadership/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
authoritarian leadership. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/authoritarian-leadership/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “authoritarian leadership.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/authoritarian-leadership/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“authoritarian leadership.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/authoritarian-leadership/>.