The First Leadership? Shared Leadership in Indigenous Hunter-Gatherer BandsPublished: 2009
Was the leadership practiced in hunter-gathrer bands the first human leadership model?
This study draws upon Australian Aboriginal traditional knowledge and anthropological studies on contemporary African Bushmen bands to trace the history of leadership back to its indigenous roots. Leadership in prehistoric and contemporary bands represent a ‘pure’ horizontal leadership <-> followership paradigm ‘untainted’ by the vertical paradigm, which has dominated the rest of
humanity for thousands of years. At a general level therefore, the study encourages further exploration of indigenous leadership as a horizontal paradigm; it may progress the indigeneous leadership discourse towards recognising the value of a horizontal paradigm. Perhaps even more importantly, a horizontal leadership paradigm is one of the unique contributions that indigeneous leadership can make to the mainstream leadership discourse.
Existing leadership models in contemporary leadership literature are cemented by ‘thousands of years of cultural conditioning’ the (mostly) implicit theory that vertical hierarchical leadership under the single command of a top-chief is required to ‘prevent organizational chaos and anarchy’.