Power and Leadership in Complex Organizations
ByAbraham Zaleznik
Pages 24

There is a phenomenon called interest politics that applies to most complex organizations, and how a leader deals with this phenomenon becomes a variable in the display of his power and in the enactment of his leadership position. In his urgency to assert the primacy of libido theory in group formations, Sigmund Freud neglected the observation that groups, particularly in large, complex organizations, form as a result of contracts, explicit or implicit, that give expression to self-interests. Modern economies function and thrive through the market activities of complex organizations, particularly business corporations. Freud's Group Psychology opens the door to considering the character, including the substantive abilities, of the leader as a variable in understanding behavior in complex organizations. Freud's assertion of the primacy of the leader is essentially correct. However, it needs amplification in understanding behavior in complex organizations. Leaders in complex organizations are placed in positions of formal authority either by appointment or through election according to established rules.