Needs, identity, and leadership: a theory of conflict and change
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This PhD dissertation aims to inform theories of conflict and International Relations (IR) by using modified social psychological models of identification and leadership in which needs fulfilment plays a central role. The main hypothesis is that identification with groups and leaders is flexible on the lower needs levels and more lasting on the higher needs levels, and that leadership, to be adaptive, must on the lower needs levels be action-oriented and on the higher levels be relations-oriented. This hypothesis is used to inform group and system level theories. On the group level, the hypothesis reads that due to this pattern of individual identification, cohesive collective action and violence in physiological deprivation requires coercive leadership to make up for the absence of unity, while on the higher needs levels collective violence necessitates manipulative leadership to make up for the absence of real deprivation. On the system level, the hypothesis reads that since the dynamics of collective action depend on the level of needs fulfilment and identification, change in the system can only be understood by examining all three levels of analysis. The first two hypotheses (on the individual and group level) are developed and demonstrated through qualitative case studies on the conflicts of the Sudan/South Sudan and between the former Yugoslav republics. These hypotheses are then used to reconcile the various conflicting theories on each level of analysis as well as to create a comprehensive framework through which the various theories and concepts of IR can be seen as connected to a certain level of needs security/development, and thus as historically and regionally specific.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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