What is it about?

We show how unselfish and voluntary leaders play a central role in mobilizing support for environmental management within their own communities. Early action taken from unselfish leadership can help local communities develop successful local governance of their shared resources, such as forests, groundwater and fisheries. Their role is particularly important in the absence of a resource crisis and when users do not communicate much with one another.

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Why is it important?

Previous research has emphasized individual leader traits -- such as age, gender, wealth, and education -- as being important for leadership effectiveness. Our analysis finds that leadership actions may be even more important for galvanizing group efforts to create governance institutions. The research also shows that unselfish leadership actions can transform the group dynamics to foster stronger, trusting relationship among group members, which enables the group to address environmental degradation problems.

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This page is a summary of: Voluntary leadership and the emergence of institutions for self-governance, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2007230117.
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