Psychological Insecurity and Leadership Styles

Authored by: Christiane Schoel , Dagmar Stahlberg , Constantine Sedikides

Handbook of Personal Security

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781848726758
eBook ISBN: 9781315713595
Adobe ISBN: 9781317498476


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One of the most fundamental human motives is the need for security. Individuals desire predictable, structured, and sheltered niches. They want to experience control over their lives, render their social interactions understandable, and make sense of themselves and their social environment. Already in his theory of motivation, Maslow (1943) highlighted the importance of the need for security. He distinguished among five categories of needs: physiological needs, security, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. He proposed that these needs form a hierarchy, such that a higher-order need is activated only when the lower-order need is satisfied. Security occupies a basic position in this hierarchy and is preceded only by physiological needs. Establishing and maintaining security, then, is primary to belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. Times of terrorism, political upheavals, economic crises, national conflicts, and increasingly demanding social interactions pose substantial threats to the need for security for individuals in many cultures. Of course, these threats differ on several dimensions. Yet they all entail unpredictability, loss of control, and potential harm. As such, they may impact negatively on the individual. One such negative impact is self-uncertainty (cf. Kagan, 1972).

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