Professor in Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology


Leadership and status

Evolution and the social psychology of leadership (2008)

Van Vugt, M., Johnson, D., Kaiser, R., & O'Gorman, R. (2008). Evolution and the social psychology of leadership: The mismatch hypothesis.

In Hoyt, C., Goethals, G., & Forsyth, D. Leadership at the Crossroads, Volume 1 (Psychology of leadership): Chapter 16: 267-282. 



This chapter advances an evolutionary perspective on leadership, arguing that leadership consists of a constellation of adaptations for solving different coordination problems in human ancestral environments, most notably pertaining to group movement, social cohesion, and intergroup relations. Our evolved leadership psychology influences the way we think about and respond to modern leadership, which creates the potential for a mismatch. This chapter provides some evidence for this mismatch hypothesis and notes some implications for leadership theory and practice.

Copyright © 2012– Mark van Vugt