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The Effect of Envy on Leadership : A KIeinian Analysis of the “Good” Leadership Failure

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  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology


The leadership phenomenon is one of the core subjects in psychoanalysis. Until the advent of psychoanalysis, the psychological theories available to historians dealing with leadership study were based merely on intuition (Mazlish,1984). The Freudian leadership model which conceives of the leader as the ego-ideal--and in other words, as a father figure and thus the embodiment of the superego‐of the group members(Freud,1927), has had a marked in fluence on these researchers. Illustrative is the large number of psychoanalytically oriented treatises on many historically famous leaders (e.g., Langer, 1972; Gatzke, 1973; and Waite, 1977, 0n adolf Hitler alone). Most of these works have attempted to understand leaders in terms of their childhood deprivation experiences and unconcious motives. Interestingly, historians were more prone to apply the Freudian theory than did political scientists who opted initially rather for, as a source of inspiration, Adler's work and its de-emphasis on libidinal factors and emphasis on inferiority and superiority complexes.

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