Political leaders in the SYMLOG space: Perceptions of right and left wing leaders by right and left wing constituencies

Shmuel Ellis*, Arie Nadler, Amos Rabin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Systematic Multiple Level Observation of Groups (SYMLOG) was applied to studying images of political leaders. Three left wing and three right wing Israeli leaders were evaluated by left and right wing voters along the SYMLOG's three dimensions - friendliness, task orientation, and dominance. It was found that right wing voters rated right wing leaders higher on friendliness and task orientation than left wing leaders. In a similar fashion, left wing voters viewed left wing leaders as more friendly and task-oriented than right wing leaders. Leaders of the right were viewed as more dominant than leaders of the left by left and right wing voters alike. Right and left wing voters assigned different SYMLOG types to right and left wing leaders. The dimension that distinguished between the various images was the dimension of friendliness. Whereas for right wing voters, all images of right wing leaders included a component of friendliness, none of these three images included an accented component of friendliness when rated by left wing voters. In a similar fashion, left wing voters saw two out of the three left wing leaders as including a component of friendliness, whereas none of the three left wing images included this component for right wing voters. Respondents from the right and the left rated their "ideal leader" as reflecting values of "dominance", "friendliness," and "task-orientation". However, respondents saw leaders affiliated with their own political camp as closer to their image of the ideal leader on friendliness and task-orientation than leaders of the opposite political camp. Both right and left wing voters saw all political leaders as equally similar to their image of "ideal leader" on the "dominance" dimension regardless of that leader's political affiliation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-526
Number of pages20
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1996

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