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Rethinking reverence for Stalinism in the kibbutz movement

  • Western Galilee Academic College, Acre, Israel


The reverence for Stalinism by the main kibbutz movements, which through revolutionary rhetoric helped perpetuate leaders who had reached the dysfunctional phase, was wrongly interpreted. Historians missed leaders’ efforts to induce reverence and its use for their domination, while social researchers missed its enhancement of oligarchic rule. These are explained by the suppression of critics at the hands of a co-opted functionalist scientific coalition, by ethnographers missing the impact of inter-kibbutz organizations, and by the differentiation of disciplines. Multiple ethnographies of kibbutzim (pl. of kibbutz) and inter-kibbutz organizations and the integration of various findings by a good theory exposed these failures. They point to the required integration of disciplines and to the need for reform of scientific publication decision-making aimed at preventing such failures.
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Rethinking reverence for Stalinism in the kibbutz
Reuven Shapira
To cite this article: Reuven Shapira (2016) Rethinking reverence for Stalinism in the kibbutz
movement, Israel Affairs, 22:1, 20-44, DOI: 10.1080/13537121.2015.1111640
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VOL. 22, NO. 1, 20–44
© 2016 Taylor & Francis
Rethinking reverence for Stalinism in the kibbutz
Reuven Shapira
Anthropology, Sociology, and Management, Western Galilee Academic College, Akko, Israel
KEYWORDS Inter-kibbutz organizations; reverence for Stalinism; dysfunctional leaders; oligarchy;
dominant scientific coalition; co-opted functionalist researchers
e complexity of large organizational systems helps leaders mask the self-
perpetuation of their dysfunctional domination. If researchers do not penetrate
this complexity and untangle the changes in leaders’ practices from their early
eectiveness, they are bound to make major mistakes. e one exposed in this
article is a major ideological change, the etiology of which was missed by both
co-opted functionalist social scientists who lacked a historical perspective and
by historians who lacked sociological theory.
Such a major failure seems strange in the case of kibbutzim, very likely the
most studied of small societies. However, social scientists have found plausi-
ble reasons for such failures. Ethnographers found managers concealing or
camouaging the truth about their mistakes, misdeeds, and failures, while
The reverence for Stalinism by the main kibbutz movements, which through
revolutionary rhetoric helped perpetuate leaders who had reached the
dysfunctional phase, was wrongly interpreted. Historians missed leaders’ eorts to
induce reverence and its use for their domination, while social researchers missed
its enhancement of oligarchic rule. These are explained by the suppression of
critics at the hands of a co-opted functionalist scientic coalition, by ethnographers
missing the impact of inter-kibbutz organizations, and by the dierentiation of
disciplines. Multiple ethnographies of kibbutzim (pl. of kibbutz) and inter-kibbutz
organizations and the integration of various ndings by a good theory exposed
these failures. They point to the required integration of disciplines and to the
need for reform of scientic publication decision-making aimed at preventing
such failures.
CONTACT Reuven Shapira
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Goman revealed how positive façades were craed.1 Berger pointed out that
understanding a society is possible only if its formal facade is penetrated.2
However, penetration might fail if such a facade has been craed by powerful
tenured leaders and is defended by their loyal heirs. Since Machiavelli’s days it
is known that leaders oen rule by ruse, camouaging reality and masking the
stratagems with which their positive images are created and as Foucault has
proved by control of societal knowledge they defend such images.3 Might it be
that social scientists failed to penetrate the egalitarian and democratic facade of
the kibbutz system, lacking the historical perspective of the old-guard leaders’
change from democracy to oligarchy? Did kibbutz leaders carry out, early on, a
camouaged ideological change that enhanced their power and oligarchic rule
and did researchers miss both the change and its signicance? Where oligarchic
rule survives for decades, criticism is rare since radicals and critics are censored,
suppressed, and eliminated by denying them rights, rewards, and promotion,
until they either exit or become loyalists or turn mute.4 If some 80‒84% of kib-
butz members le, including most of the critics of kibbutz leaders,
it is possible
that dominant researchers did not meet critics of the oligarchic rulers, and
particularly not those who opposed the ideological changes enacted decades
before to perpetuate the leaders’ dominance.
An ideological change can be decisive when a successful leader of a radi-
cal egalitarian and democratic movement reaches the dysfunctional phase.6
In that phase, the leader loses prestige and power due to mounting unsolved
problems and his weak position oen invites competing leaders to try and
replace him (masculine language is used because all leaders studied were male).
If the latter threaten his primacy he can use autocratic practices: centralizing
control, weakening of democracy, promoting only his loyalists, censorship of
publications, and privileging himself and sta, in accord with Michels’ ‘Iron
Law of Oligarchy’.7 en he can adopt revolutionary rhetoric that creates a
radical image and masks conservative oligarchic practices. Although oligarchic
practices ruin mutual trust with activists as they lose trust-creating discre-
tion, the revolutionary rhetoric may make up for the loss of trust.8 Autocratic
conservative rule tends to deter joiners and harm adaptability, but in a com-
munal movement the autonomy of communes may retain local critical think-
ers and innovators who solve problems and adapt the communes to internal
and external changes.9 e leader’s dysfunction creates a leadership vacuum
which innovative mid-level ocers may enter, solve major problems, innovate,
and lead to prosperity.10 Prosperity may lead to factionalism,11 but also to the
leader’s empowerment and hence to using powers to mask a self-perpetuating
ideological change.
Even ethnographers oen nd it hard to penetrate such a mask, as a major
diculty of ethnography is to ‘perceive the context of phenomena, as it is
oen seen as a self-explanatory … it is spoken of only in hints’.12 e kibbutz
is a complex system: in 1985, at the peak of success, there were some 128,000
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people in 269 communes with many thousands of hired employees and 250‒300
inter-kibbutz organizations (I-KOs) with 15‒18,000 hired employees admin-
istered by 4‒4500 kibbutz members called pe’ilim (i.e. activists; numbers are
inexact due to a lack of research; see below).13 e two main kibbutz feder-
ations called the Movements had 2400 pe’ilim with some 800 company cars,
while 11 regional I-KOs had about 1200 pe’ilim with some 1100 cars. In other
I-KOs a few pe’ilim administered many hired employees; the two largest had
approximately 3500 and 1400 hired employees.
All I-KOs used non-egalitarian
and undemocratic practices, mostly led by tenured oligarchic heads, but even
ethnographers who alluded to the conformist practices of pe’ilim missed their
roots in oligarchic I-KOs, which they did not study, while historians who stud-
ied I-KOs ignored their oligarchic practices.15 e ri helped missing leaders’
use of extreme ideology to camouage conservative dysfunction and legitimize
self-perpetuating autocratic measures.
Leaders in dysfunctional phase shifted to reverence for Stalinism
e extremism under study, known as leism, consisted of the veneration of
Stalinism by the two major Movements, the Kibbutz Mechad (KM) and the
Kibbutz Artzi (KA), which comprised some 80% of the kibbutzim and their
members at the time.16 e two were innovative at rst, and established I-KOs
that enhanced the kibbutz cause: youth organizations in Europe that educated
for kibbutz pioneering, teacher’s colleges, publishing houses, daily and weekly
newspapers, journals, printing presses, nancial rms, and more.
eir heads,
KM’s Yitzhak Tabenkin and KA’s Me’ir Yaari, initiated leism in 1937 and 1939,
aer 14 and 12 years in power respectively, as their powers were threatened (see
below). However, at that time the two Movements were radically social demo-
cratic, in accord with the radical egalitarian ethos and culture of kibbutzim, and
they had used Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, though not its practices, to prevent
absorption by oligarchic social-democratic Mapai led by David Ben-Gurion
and Berl Katzenlson.18
While the thesis presented here is novel, students agree that leism was a
major mistake and caused the political and social isolation of the KM and KA,
harming their leading societal role, and causing crises, splits, and dissolutions
which greatly weakened them.19 While the KM and KA played major roles in
the establishment of the State of Israel, they remained in political opposition
during its formative years due, to a great extent, to their leism and to a belief
that Ben-Gurions government was doomed without them so that he would
soon ask them to join on their own terms.20 ey were proved wrong, and
Mapai coalitions with religious and rightist parties enabled Ben-Gurions con-
tinued oligarchic dominance while weakening the KM and KA, which aer six
years in the opposition joined the government on Ben-Gurions terms.21 us,
leism is signicant beyond kibbutz society and culture, and helps to explain
oligarchization of Israeli politics.22
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Leism contradicted radical democratic socialism practised by the early
kibbutzim. e latter was rational and critical of capitalism, trying to create a
better and more just society by adopting the principles of collectivism, democ-
racy, and egalitarianism.23 Up to the mid-1930s, both KM and KA had been
truly democratic: Major Movement decisions were reached by regular coun-
cils, three to four a year, of kibbutz representatives chosen by each kibbutz,
aer kibbutz assemblies discussed the issues to be decided by the council.24
Representatives convened with leaders and pe’ilim at one of the kibbutzim in
large gatherings that also involved locals and members of adjacent kibbutzim.
At that time the higher status of leaders and pe’ilim was not symbolized by
any privilege, insignia, or special title; many pe’ilim were rotated back to their
kibbutz aer a few years of service;
and Stalinists were suppressed and ousted.
Tabenkin and Kibbutz Ein Harod Artzi, KM’s predecessor federation (estab-
lished 1923), fought leists of the Gdud Haavoda Movement in 1926‒1927.26
e KA was established by graduates of Hashomer Hatzair youth movement;
its struggle against leists in the Warsaw branch in the mid-1920s ended in
the expulsion of about 40 members, while such struggles in some young KA
kibbutzim in the early 1930s ended in the exit or expulsion of many, and splits
in kibbutzim.27 In 1934 Hazan called the USSR ‘a destructive force within the
working class, and in 1937 the KA called for an international investigation of
the Moscow trials, a clear anti-Stalinist move.28 ereaer Tabenkin and Yaari
needed almost a decade of leward pushing to induce leism, and only aer
the reversal of Stalins anti-Zionism in 1947 did their push win the support of
KM and KA secretariats. Even then, KMs ex-Secretary-General Yisrael Idelson
(later Bar-Yehuda) opposed leism ‘as a most prominent member of the [KM]
leadership, representing it in the headquarters of the clandestine Resistance
Movement, and ‘the assumption that KA members were leists proved wrong …
most kibbutzim (and especially the veterans [larger kibbutzim]) were rightists.29
Tabenkin’s leism commenced in 1937: everyone was criticizing Stalin’s show
trials including the KA secretariat, as cited, except for Tabenkin and most of his
students in the KM’s activist seminar.30 In 1939, the Molotov‒Ribbentrop Pact
was censured by all KM leaders except for Tabenkin and one deputy, while in
the KA it was censured by most leaders including Yaari’s partner Hazan, but
supported by Yaari who prevailed aer a debate of some months.31 In 1940,
aer the imperialist nature of the Pact was exposed by USSR invasions of its
neighbours, Tabenkin reversed his reverence and criticized USSRs ‘imperialistic
socialism’, while Yaari criticized it as ‘Machiavellian’.32
In 1942 the two leaders renewed leist preaching,33 while Mapai sought
Soviet support for the Zionist struggle against Great Britain and invited Soviet
diplomats, who met Yishuv leaders. In a meeting with them Yaari proclaimed:
‘We will not achieve full national and social redemption without … an alli-
ance with the forces of the World of Tomorrow’, i.e. the USSR.34 In 1943‒1944
the diplomatic romance advanced, the Soviet Union promised help for Jewish
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immigration to Palestine and its representative in London proposed that ‘the
Jewish nation should be allowed to continue building the Land of Israel as its
national homeland’.35 en Tabenkin presented Stalin’s murderous collectiv-
ization in a positive light, and depicted it as an ‘alliance between Stalin and
the peasantry’.36 Stalin was vindicated in KM’s youth movement seminar, and
growing reverence for the USSR led to a split between KM and Mapai sup-
porters.37 Soon survivors arrived from the partisan war in Eastern Europe and
their memoirs exposed the brutal anti-Semitism and chauvinism of Stalin’s
commissars, but Yaari and Hazan censored out these chapters of survivors’
books which the KA published.38
Leism won wide support only in 1947, aer Stalin shied to support the
UN Palestine partition plan which buried KM’s and KAs unrealistic ideas.
e political distress caused by the victory of Mapai’s realistic approach drew
the KA and the KM closer, and in January 1948 they combined into the Mapam
party which identied itself with the USSR and the Soviet bloc.39 is was a
terrible political mistake which greatly harmed them, and alienated them from
most Israelis, who rejected Stalinism.40 Even more serious, it played into the
hands of their rival Ben-Gurion: He cast doubt on their national loyalty and
overcame opposition in Mapai to the dismissal of their members from high
oces. e Palmah, the democratic and egalitarian army which the KM had
established and which kibbutzim had nurtured, was disbanded, the best of the
1948 war commanders who leaned towards Mapam were side-lined and dis-
charged, Mapam was pushed into the opposition, and the Histadrut educational
system ‒ in which Mapam had a large stake ‒ was dissolved.
Tabenkin’s deputy
Ben-Aharon has said: ‘ere was not one trap which Ben-Gurion set for us that
we did not get caught in, while historian Near concluded: ‘KM and KA leaders
managed a policy ... fundamentally mistaken. ey caused irreparable ri in
one movement, ruined the life of many members, and barred development of
tens of kibbutz communities’.42
Historians’ explanations do not stand up to close scrutiny
Historians noticed these failures, but their explanations belittled leaders’ abili-
ties, failing to explain how such experienced, astute leaders had fallen into these
traps. For historians, leism had not been a deliberate move but rather leaders
had dried into it to extricate the Movements from ideological and political
complications created by Marxist ideas which they used against Mapais uni-
cation pressures, and because they were swept away by the glory of the USSR
victories and by its increasing support for Zionism.
No doubt the above did facilitate leism, but neither the timing of the two
leaders’ switch to leism nor other facts support historians’ explanation of
dri. Tabenkin became leist in 1937 and Yaari in 1939, six and four years
before the Stalingrad victory when the Moscow trials and the pact with Hitler
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were exposing Stalins dictatorship at its ugliest, when Yaari’s KA secretariat
demanded international socialist investigation of the trials.43 Secondly, le-
ism might have solved some complications but, very experienced of Stalins
cynical and horric policies, they dened his regime as ‘imperialistic’ and
‘Machiavellian’, and were cognisant of ‘how deeply rooted anti-Zionist policy
was among the USSR and its allies in international communism.44
Leism has been presented as a gradual and natural outcome of the Marxist
approach, but if this is so, why did almost all deputies, likewise Marxists, not
support it until 1947, why did KM’s General Secretary Idelson continue oppos-
ing it, and why did most KA members reject it in 1953?45 All the above facts
prove that Stalinism was neither a gradual nor a natural move and aroused
continuous opposition which was defeated in 1948 but resurrected in the early
1950s. Tzachor has asserted that in the 1930s Hazan was brought to ‘a growing
admiration for the USSR … [leading] to an almost blind support of Stalin,46
but, as has been mentioned, in 1939 he opposed the Stalin‒Hitler pact. In 1942
Yaari had resumed leism and published a leist book, then Hazan quickly
published a competing book, writing: ‘e shadows of USSR dictatorship are
many; it imposes a heavy yoke, it maintains rule with a heavy hand’ and ‘its
rulers … are always endangered by corruption.47 His book failed and he also
failed in opposing Yaari’s motion to establish KAs party (see below), so that
aer the Stalingrad victory he surrendered and joined Yaari. However, even
aer Hazan had joined Yaari’s version of leism, most of their deputies still
opposed it and so they became mute.48
us, Tabenkin and Yaari needed great eort, tactical retreats, and a turna-
round in USSR policy to impose leism. is long and intensive struggle was
inexplicable as simply an eort to disentangle themselves from the ideological
complications with which they had, up to then, coped quite adequately. Instead,
the advance of the oligarchic process from the mid-1930s explains leism as
an eort at self-perpetuation by dysfunctional leaders.
The oligarchic process in KM and KA leadership from the mid-
Kibbutz social scientists have evaded signs of oligarchy in KM and KA
leaderships, just as they ignored the study of I-KOs (hence the minimal data),
concealing their anti-kibbutz principles and the thousands of privileged I-KO
pe’ilim whose exposure would have ruined the egalitarian and democratic
image of kibbutzim.49 is evasion commenced early on: in 1944 KM lead-
ers vehemently rejected Landshut’s seminal study because of his critique of a
KM policy.50 en Professor Buber, head of the Hebrew University’s Sociology
Department, published a functionalist book in 1947 (English translation 1958),
in which he mentioned I-KOs in only two neutral sentences, ignoring I-KOs’
violations of kibbutz principles:51 prolonged oligarchic tenures for leaders and
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deputies, weakened democracy, centralization, conservative dysfunction, rever-
ence for a dictatorship, censorship of publications, and privileges to leaders and
sta (see below).
Buber’s book was celebrated by kibbutz leaders, who made it
a must-read in kibbutzim as it legitimized avoidance of study of I-KOs by later
students. Until Tabenkin and Yaari vanished in the early 1970s no one exposed
I-KOs’ anti-kibbutz cultures and their leaders’ dysfunction and suppression of
critics and innovators.53
Only in 1984 did Beilin reveal how Yaari and Hazan suppressed a group of
young KA leaders who, beginning in 1953, criticized their leism and conserva-
tism. Criticism of Yaari and Hazan and the ensuing inuence of the group were
enhanced in 1956, as Khrushchev exposed Stalin’s crimes, and as Hungarian
democracy was brutally suppressed. en Yaari resorted to a Machiavellian
tactic, and Hazan, who had nurtured some of the group members, eventu-
ally surrendered and supported him. ey destroyed the groups solidarity by
obligating them to accept several leists who initiated discussions on ‘USSR
socialism’, which curtailed the group’s inuence in kibbutzim while suppressing
its critical and innovative members, especially the gied radical leader Efraim
Reiner, who subsequently le.54
In 1989 Kynan exposed KA leaders’ earlier dysfunction: in 1949‒1950 they
rejected all new proposals put forth by kibbutz managers for new methods of
immigrant absorption, although this was Israel’s main problem. Ben-Gurion
attacked the kibbutzim for not helping solve it, while initiatives by the moshavim
absorbed many immigrants.55 Ultimately, kibbutzim stuck with a problematic,
old, and limited method, called Hevrot Noar (youth groups), and when Kibbutz
Gan Shmuel solved the main problem of this method, the Hevrot Noar discrim-
ination versus kibbutz youth, Yaari and Hazans negative attitude prevented
other kibbutzim from following suit.56
Tabenkin’s dysfunction was no dierent: Although he agreed to two innova-
tions, they largely failed, due to his conservative rejection of any change which
would have enhanced immigrant absorption. Historian Kaa wrote:
At the KM Convention social realities in kibbutzim were not discussed at all…
the objective realities did not interest Tabenkin, and so he did not invest any eort
in nding solutions or carrying out reforms … [KM’s secretariat] proposals were
impractical and contradictory.57
Even earlier, Tabenkin’s deputies ‘lost patience, trying to steer through the
maze of his conicting proposals’; some were illogical, and others were clearly
unrealistic and ignored.58
In accord with oligarchy theory, in 1951 Yaari identied himself with the KA
and Mapam, declaring at the KA Central Committee: ‘I, Meir, am Mapam. I am
Hashomer Hatzair. I express the historic trajectory of Hashomer Hatzair’, while
encouraging a cult of personality among his supporters.59 ough Mapam was
a parity union of KA and KM, Yaari’s intoxication with power led KA Stalinists
to dominate its activity, causing a series of crises and failures until its split in
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1954.60 is was true of Tabenkin as well: a deputy who criticized his decision
to split Mapam resigned and did not answer his letters. Tabenkin came to his
kibbutz, angrily broke into his house, took a chair and, banging it on the oor,
broke it, shouting: ‘What do you think I am [more] important to our Movement
than Lenin was to Russia!’61
Oligarchy theory predicts centralization of control and decline of democ-
racy. At rst major decisions were made in frequent democratic councils
of kibbutz delegates, but from the mid-1930s such meetings were deferred
for a year or so and leader-nominated councils replaced them, while inter-
vals of Movement conventions stretched into 3‒7 years.62 e theory pre-
dicts increasing privileges appropriated by the leader and his ocers. In
the 1920s‒1930s, only a few KM and KA activists had privileges: those who
held high oces in the Jewish Agency, the Histadrut (federation of labour
unions and socialist movements), and its subsidiaries.63 However, in the 1940s
Movement executives were also privileged, receiving monetary allowances
and company cars which kibbutz members could not use when they stood
idle. In the early 1950s Yaari and Hazan obtained large and fancy chauf-
feured American cars, similar to Cabinet ministers; Tabenkin’s was smaller
but he kept this privilege aer formal retirement in 1961.
Such was the case
with leaders’ private telephones and other privileges that contradicted their
preaching on modesty.65
Leader dysfunction and suppression of creative deputies
Oligarchization is clear, as is its contradiction to kibbutzims radical ethos. But
oligarchy is conservative, while leism was a change. Is there not a contradiction?
Not at all, as leism did not change any kibbutz practice except its ideology
and politics, while camouaging the conservatism of dysfunctional leaders
who opposed new, creative solutions to problems. As found in other large and
successful cooperatives,66 the fast-growing kibbutz system required creative
solutions to maintain democracy and egalitarianism, but as leaders suppressed
critics and innovators, conservative capitalist practices crept in:
1. Capitalist-like I-KOs: New I-KOs were established in the cities rather
than in kibbutzim as in the past, and surrounding norms were adopted.
e leaders did not object, and soon transferred Movement headquar-
ters to Tel Aviv. In Tel Aviv, at rst ocials had no privileges, but grad-
ually more and more privileges appeared.67
2. Capitalist-like industry: From 1940, many kibbutzim established work-
shops and plants with capitalist practices: hired labour, autocratic man-
agement, privileges for managers, and more. e leaders denounced
hired labour but not other capitalist practices which they themselves
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used; only from the 1960s did local innovators instil kibbutz principles
in many factories, while a few I-KO innovators led the provision of the
necessary funding.68
3. Declining collectivism and egalitarianism in kibbutzim: In addition to
I-KOs and the industry breach of these principles, breached egalitari-
anism the salaries of thousands who had served in the British army, the
personal possessions beyond the kibbutz level of urban middle-class
joiners, and more. Previous solutions were insucient and signicant
gaps appeared,69 but the leaders suppressed creative problem-solving.
Worse still, heads of economic I-KOs legitimized inequality by instilling
capitalist values.70
4. Diminishing democracy in kibbutzim: In addition to the Movements
centralization and the weakening of democracy, the size and complexity
of kibbutzim and I-KOs impaired direct democracy. Serious problems
emerged: low attendance at general assemblies, a minority of attendees
voting, repeated debates, no respect for decisions and their violation,
and domination by cliques.71 e leaders evaded these problems, which
pointed to the need to return power to kibbutzim which leaders had
taken away by centralization and weakening of democracy. Worse still,
local kibbutz leaderships declined through the promotion of successful
and talented ocers to I-KOs and their replacement by inferior ones;
this served the leaders’ interests: the promoted became their loyalists
and subdued the inferior replacements, defeating their eorts to solve
problems innovatively.72
Leaders’ dysfunction was clear. It may be argued that they did not solve prob-
lems, being too busy with rapid growth, but this was not convincing aer 1939,
when problems mounted while growth slowed due to a lack of immigration
from Europe: in 1933‒1939 the number of kibbutzim increased by 122% versus
77% from 1939‒1945.73 Moreover, if they were busy, why would they suppress
creative innovators instead of letting them solve problems? Clearly, successes
by the latter would have accentuated their own ineptitude and diminished their
authority. In the 1920s to early 1930s innovation was encouraged, but already in
1935 Tabenkin suppressed Ein Harod innovator Gershon Ostrovski, who was
one of KM’s founding leaders and headed its delegation to Poland. In Poland
he had successfully and innovatively led the Halutz Movement that doubled
the KM in two years; he ‘stood up against the heavy pressure of Jews who tried
to emigrate … one who had to improvise solutions so that the ood of people
into the Halutz would not ruin the system.74 Naturally, he expected another
high oce, but aer returning in 1935 he criticized Tabenkin and his loyalists
for violating egalitarianism and democracy; he was sent back to the ranks and
later le.75 His close friend David Maletz remained and the KM publishing
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house refused to publish his novel Cycles (published by Am Oved, 1945), which
inter alia criticized Tabenkin’s privileges.76
Yaari similarly suppressed Mordechay Shenhabi, whose innovations
enhanced the success of many KA kibbutzim. Until 1942 Shenhabi helped by
Hazan repeatedly overcame Yaari’s eorts to impede his eorts at innovation,
but in 1942 he gave up as Hazan stopped support in order to spare himself one
conict with Yaari to help overcoming his leism, and Shenhabi proceeded to
found the National Holocaust Memorial Museum ‘Yad Vashem’ in Jerusalem.
Dysfunctional leaders only solved a few national problems up to
Oligarchization is a process, and a leader may turn conservative in one sector
but not in another where he can enhance his power. In 1937, Hazan helped
Shlomo Gur of Kibbutz Tel Amal to create the ‘Tower and Stockade’ system
which enabled 53 Jewish settlements to be established despite Arab resistance.
In 1939, Hazan initiated KA alignment with the Shlonsky group of anti-Stalinist
urban authors and poets, gave them a literary section in KAs weekly journal,
and employed them in its publishing house. ese authors had no previous
connection with the KA, but as they opposed the literary establishment headed
by Bialik, whom Mapai had adopted, an opposing alliance was benecial to
both sides.79 In 1942, Tabenkin renewed the Palmah, which the British had
set up in 1941 but disbanded, as a kibbutz-based, underground Hagana and
Yishuv army. In return for the soldiers’ work, kibbutzim provided sustenance,
hid weapons and arms production plants, and their youth movement graduates
lled the army’s ranks.80
Leaders’ dysfunction in the national arena commenced earlier on other sub-
jects. In 1937 they faced a challenge: the British Peel Commission proposed
the division of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, and most Zionist leaders
adopted this solution. Tabenkin opposed it irrationally; at rst, he ‘found him-
self holding and discarding various solutions, up to contradiction, and then
he proposed an international mandate, although this alternative had never
previously existed.81 Yaari proposed a bi-national state, which also had never
succeeded anywhere before, while Hazan supported him without believing in
it.82 KM’s urban political partner, Faction B, opposed Tabenkin’s idea,83 and
it seemed that, like Hazan, most members did not believe in the proposals of
the two leaders but did not actively oppose them. However, even more clearly
dysfunctional was Tabenkin when facing in 1942 the challenge of Ben-Gurion
ousting the KM from Mapai. en Tabenkin became paralysed, ‘let Ben-Gurion
do whatever he pleased’, was ‘dysfunctional … [and] inuencing [likewise] those
around him’; in 1943 ‘the paralysis he suered … continued’ until he decided
on a counter-move in 1944.84
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How did the turn to leftism serve leaders’ survival?
While it was clear that leaders’ growing dysfunction paralleled eorts to induce
leism, how exactly did leism serve their power?
First, revolutionary rhetoric suited their specialization in oral and written
discourse, masked their conservatism, and presented them as devotees of radi-
cal socialism. Secondly, leism swept the KM and KA away from Ben-Gurions
Mapai, and negated its unication eort aimed at absorbing them. irdly, it
strengthened leaders by Stalinism legitimizing autocracy, centralization, weaken-
ing of democracy, power continuity, censorship of publications, and privileges. But
according to Wolfs analysis, it served them even more by radically changing the
cosmic world view so that their superiority became independent of their deeds.
Wolf studied extreme ideologies and concluded that it is better to deal with such
foundational ideas in terms of their functions in society. ey can be shown to be
legitimate and justify forms of rulership. At the same time, these functions anchor
rulership in a cultural structure of imagining, which … postulates cosmologies;
cosmologies in turn, articulate ideologies that assign the wielders of power the
role of mediators or executors on behalf of the larger cosmic forces and grant
them ‘natural’ rights to dominate society as delegates of the cosmic order.85
In the leist cosmic order, Stalin was the ‘sun of the Nations’ and the USSR
was the centre of socialism and its highest form, the yardstick of kibbutz com-
munism, rather than kibbutz successes compared to other communities; it
demoted both kibbutz successes and unsolved problems to secondary impor-
tance. Leaders’ authority was no longer harmed by dysfunction, as it was
based on their ‘role as mediators or executors representing the greater cosmic
powers which grant them “natural rights” to prevail in society’, as Wolf stated.
ey were likened to Admors (acronym of ‘our lord, teacher, and Rabbi’) in
Hassidic courts, spiritual leaders, and prophets of Leninist deceptions ‒ such as
Tabenkin’s assertion that faith was more important than knowing the truth.86
is status was independent of election, and a Bolshevist ‘guided democracy’
enhanced their rule and legitimized autocratic practices.87 ey were suppos-
edly above mundane Movement problems, though, in practice, they made every
major decision and interfered in minor ones as well. In accord with Hughes,
they assigned low-prestige, problematic tasks to aides whose failures did not
harm their positive image, while strengthening their status and power.
opposed this, but submitted to Yaari.89 Tabenkin ‘threw out ideas which others
[had] to implement, proposing to set up an ‘alliance of the Kibbutz Movement’;
and notwithstanding objections to the idea, it failed primarily due to Tabenkins
lack of eort at implementation.90
The political situation encouraged Tabenkin’s Stalinism
Now let us examine the political situation that encouraged leism and explain
its timing. e dominance of both leaders was being menaced by the success
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of competing leaders, while their dysfunction diminished followers’ trust,
making their authority vulnerable; this made the threat to their supremacy
real, encouraging the leist solution.
e campaign for unication of the kibbutz movement which Katznelson
had started in 1935, threatened Tabenkins KM leadership. As the KA rmly
opposed the idea, the only real partners were the two Mapai-leaning Movements:
the KM, in which Tabenkin’s supporters were 60‒65%, and the smaller Hever
Hakvutzot, in which Tabenkin had no supporters.91us, Katznelson aimed
at dethroning Tabenkin, turning his KM majority into a minority in a united
Movement. e idea of unication had much appeal among the rank and le;
hence, the KM secretariat, consisting of Tabenkin loyalists, tried to prevent its
discussion at the 1936 Yagur Convention but failed, and one-third of the del-
egates supported it.92 Subsequently, support gained momentum, so Tabenkin
instead proposed an ‘Alliance of Kibbutz Movements’ to unify only some func-
tions of the Movements. But as ‘everyone understood why Tabenkin suddenly
needed this “alliance”’ ‒ that it was due to his Yagur defeat ‒ it failed.93 en he
initiated the 1937 leist seminar for activists, mentioned above, in which the
KM was likened to the USSR: both were governed by ‘centralized democracy’,
had been ‘a society built on rule from above’, and if that of the USSR was wrong,
that of KM would have to be as well. e ‘cruelty’ of the KM to its pioneers,
such as the poor conditions in work training camps in Poland, was compared
to the cruelty of the USSR, but without a word about the fate of its victims.
For example, the USSR was not a dictatorship, free speech reigned there, and
more such deceit.94
Such deceptions are not needed by an eective leader who is fully trusted
by followers since his decisions have proven successful and have solved major
problems, and his high morality and vision give them inspiration for further
eorts and solutions;95 they are needed by a leader who has been weakened by
dysfunction and whose status is in danger. Tabenkins defeats in Yagur 1936
and the ‘alliance’ of 1937 threatened his power, and this explains his adoption
of leism at the height of Stalins despised show trials. Alas, his opponents won
by a small margin at the 1939 Naan Convention, despite Tabenkins four-hour
speech. He then used his last resort, a resignation that regained him the upper
hand since almost all KM pe’ilim were his loyalists who called him back, as the
opposition had no candidate to succeed him; the only one of his calibre, Eliezer
Livenshtein (Livne), had already le aer his suppression similar to Ostrovski.
Tabenkin was also weakened by the KM’s specic unsolved problems, in
addition to the common kibbutz problems. Rapid growth had for years caused
a lack of housing for a third or more of the members. Turnover was problematic;
there was mass inux and some half of the newcomers exited aer a short period.
is made managerial planning dicult and caused a lack of worker prociency.
Heterogeneity was a problem; for instance, some newcomers wanted a semi-
religious, semi-secular kibbutz.97 e heterogeneous KM had a homogeneous
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leadership and centralist economic decision-making which preferred growth
over minimal human needs,
causing considerable distrust of the dysfunctional
Tabenkin, as his failures at the two KM conventions signalled.99 His resignation
and return saved his power; then Katznelson’s unication campaign died out,
the KM was ousted from Mapai, and aer two years of Tabenkins paralysis the
KM founded an unsuccessful party.100 However, Tabenkin’s power beneted
from Palmah successes and thereaer no one challenged his primacy.
Hazan opposed Yaari’s leftism, failed and surrendered
Yaari also used leism due to weakening, in his case caused by the success of
co-leader Hazan. Tzachor described their twin leadership as ‘an alliance … with
an ever-present element of disagreement’.101 Yaari had been KA leader since its
inception in 1927. Hazan had been a deputy who became co-leader from 1932
when Yaari, a successful ideologue, failed to manage the growing KA and called
Hazan to help. He succeeded as an organizer and popularizer of ideas, but the
two disagreed on a major strategic issue: Yaari aspired to an independent KA
party, while Hazan envisioned that such a party would have to be leist to attract
disenchanted Mapai supporters, and therefore sought a truce or even a merger
with Mapai.102 He was more critical of KA leist leaders than Yaari and tried to
suppress them, but Yaari retained their status aer they had rebelled, failed, and
become docile.103 ey served Yaari’s rule: With them he cultivated the image
of being the only one who could steer the KA without falling into either leism
or rightism, becoming a supposedly indispensable leader in accord with Ansell
and Fishs explanation that a leader becomes indispensable if he symbolizes
the movement and his authority seems essential for its survival and success.104
In 1936 KA urban supporters established the Socialist League and the KA
aligned itself with it, a partial victory for Yaari. However, the terrorist cam-
paign of the Arabs radicalized the Yishuv against them and damaged the KA’s
position as it had sought compromise with the Arabs. Yaari was more seriously
harmed, as Hazan was more militant towards Arab terrorism, while Yaari’s
preaching seemed misplaced.105 Hazan was also strengthened by the success
of the ‘Tower and Stockade’ innovation that he helped invent, and by using
the bi-national state idea to attack Mapai.106 en, by the 1939 leist support
for the Molotov‒Ribbentrop Pact which Mapai had denounced, Yaari took the
lead in the struggle against Mapai and achieved supremacy by defeating Hazan’s
critique of the Pact. In 1940 he tactically retreated (‘USSR was Machiavellian’),
appeasing Hazan and other opponent;, but in 1942 leism was renewed, as has
been noted, and in addition to Hazan’s book failure, he failed to oppose Yaari’s
motion to establish the KA’s party.107
us, Hazan adopted leism in 1943 because of repeated failures in the
struggles against Yaari in 1939 (Molotov‒Ribbentrop Pact), 1942 (the party),
and 1943 (the book). Yaari proved to be unbeatable and Hazan surrendered;
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further conict with Yaari would have endangered his status, Yaari could have
demoted him. He preferred to retain status and wait for a political change,
which came in the early 1950s: he led the expulsion of leists who had sup-
ported the anti-Zionist Prague trial and nurtured Reiner and his colleagues who
were criticizing leism, until he gave in to Yaari and helped to crush them, as
has been noted. He gradually succeeded Yaari from the late 1960s but never
admitted that the past leism was wrong.108
Why Mapai was not attacked from a socialistic-democratic
An additional question which should be asked is why Tabenkin and Yaari turned
to leism instead of attacking Ben-Gurions undemocratic rule through the oli-
garchic Histadrut (the federation of labour unions and socialist movements)
which employed Mapai pe’ilim in privileged jobs.109 As this negated socialist
ethos, Tabenkin and Yaari could have demanded the abolition of privileges as
a precondition for unication, damaging the appeal of Katznelson’s campaign.
Moreover, this would have enabled them to better align with Mapai’s internal
urban opposition, Faction B, which opposed Ben-Gurion’s rule; in 1935 they
had aligned with it and had defeated Ben-Gurion in a Histadrut referendum.
Why did they not choose this direction again?
e answer once again stems from oligarchic dysfunction. is direction
would have been credible only if Tabenkin had democratized the KM in accord
with the Livenshtein and Ostrovski critique and demands, and if KM pe’ilim
in the Histadrut and Jewish Agency had refused privileges. Mapai had tried
to co-opt opposition of KA in the Histadrut by giving out privileged oces
to leaders’ deputies, as in Zionist organs; for instance, Hazan was a director of
the Jewish National Fund.111 e KM had more such jobs, and Tabenkin and
Yaari themselves travelled bi-yearly to Zionist Congresses in Europe as a part of
Histadrut delegations.
Additional obstacles to critique were I-KOs and kibbutz
industry’s capitalist practices. us, a critique of Mapai from a social-democratic
standpoint would not have been credible unless kibbutz organs had themselves
adopted social-democratic practices. But this would have meant forsaking priv-
ileges by which the two leaders obtained docile deputies and pe’ilim, and, worse
still, allowing critical creative deputies like Ostrovski and Shenhabi to invent
these practices might have gained them prestige and power. Leism, on the
other hand, enabled criticism of Mapai without these ‘troubles’.
How did historians miss the leftist turn and its historical
Historians are supposed to expose and analyse historically signicant turn-
ing points, but in this case a decisive turning point was missed. Leism was
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depicted as a continuation of the Marxist approach, and the leaders seemed
to have just been swept away. However, critics exposed oligarchic phenomena
as early as the 1970s.113 So why did students not use their ndings to explain
leism by oligarchy theory? One explanation is illogical but common: the sep-
aration of the social sciences and history.114 Without oligarchy theory the nd-
ings were not integrated into a whole which would accentuate the signicance
and etiology of leism. Historians studied leaders and politics while ignoring
ethnographies that exposed oligarchies in both kibbutzim and I-KOs,
how prime leaders served as patrons of these oligarchies, which by loyal support
empowered and retained the leaders.116
Historians have an alibi: Dominant social scientists preceded them
in ignoring I-KOs’ oligarchs, having adopted the research paradigm of
communal societies as if the kibbutz resembled these societies, which do
not have I-KOs.117 Until the 1990s only two sociologists and one ethnogra-
pher ‒ that is myself ‒ studied two types of I-KOs, out of the hundreds that
existed, and these sociologists ignored oligarchic phenomena and other I-KO
violations of kibbutz principles.118 Likewise, kibbutz ethnographers ignored
I-KO jobs which enabled continuity of pe’ilim and their local dominance in
en the Hebrew University’s functionalist sociologists became the domi-
nant scientic coalition in kibbutz research and also ignored I-KOs and the oli-
garchic rule of their heads, so no question was raised concerning their roots.
ey ignored or suppressed ethnographies which exposed oligarchies in kibbut-
zim.121 ese either remained unpublished or were published only in Hebrew;
hence, later studies ignored them. For instance, Evens studied Yaari’s Kibbutz
Merchavia, depicting eight status categories, but without citing Yaari’s supreme
status above them all as the oligarchic ruler of the KA.122
For the two leaders, the turn to leism was a striking success, aording extra-
long tenures, dominance, privileges, and ample prestige which was largely faked.
For the kibbutzim, leism was ruinous, as has been partially analysed. Full anal-
ysis has proven that kibbutzims oligarchization, enhanced by leism, ruined
cultural uniqueness.123 e interest in how leaders coped with the ideological
complications of leism prevented exposure of how they proted from it. e
simplistic explanation that they had just dried into leism has been disproved
by a detailed study which was prompted by suspicions regarding leaders’ aims
in light of ethnographies which exposed I-KO oligarchies. Critical historians
exposed the oligarchic phenomena in the Movements, but without using oligar-
chy theory and not alluding to oligarchies in other I-KOs and kibbutz industry
they missed the oligarchic process, its timing, its etiology, and its pertinence to
leism. e other main reason for this failure was domination of a co-opted
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functionalist scientic coalition which evaded I-KOs, according to leaders’
wishes, and failed to penetrate their mask of serving public aims.
However, even critical ethnographers who deed this coalition only par-
tially exposed oligarchization, depicting local kibbutz oligarchs but not alluding
to powerful I-KO heads who nurtured them by promotion to privileged and
prestigious I-KO jobs. Ethnographers’ partiality was explicable by their failure
to ‘perceive the context of phenomena, as it is oen seen as a self-explanatory
… it is spoken of only in hints’,124 and by the dominance of the functionalist
scientic coalition which ignored I-KOs: as ethnographers have not studied
I-KOs, they could not integrate oligarchic signs in senior pe’ilim they met at
kibbutzim with I-KO oligarchies and grasp leisms support of leaders’ oli-
garchic rule. Without untangling the systems complexity by ethnographies of
both I-KOs and kibbutzim, ethnographers missed the roots of kibbutzims local
oligarchies in oligarchic I-KOs.
Erroneous interpretations of mistaken ideologies are inevitable,125 while the
exposure of the true etiology of leism has ramications beyond the kibbutz
history, explaining dierently the major struggles of the Israeli socialist move-
ment, in the late pre-state era, and the Israeli state. e kibbutz movement
played a decisive role in the pre-state era, and might have played a similar role
in the state’s formative years had democracy replaced leaders when they entered
dysfunction phase. Had this taken place, both leism and leaders’ utopian
solutions to the Arab‒Jewish conict might not have been adopted by KM and
KA; kibbutz principles could have reigned in its industry and I-KOs, as they
did in the Palmah; co-optation eorts by Mapai would not have threatened
leaders, who could have counter-attacked Mapais oligarchic leaders from a
social-democratic standpoint. e disbanding of the Palmah and the Histadrut
educational network might have been prevented and leism crises avoided.
Kibbutzim would have initiated new ways to absorb immigrants, as did the
moshavim,126 and would have retained their servant elite status; Israeli history
would have been very dierent if the turn to leism had been prevented by
means of democracy and replacement of dysfunctional leaders.
In 1947 Buber’s book mentioned the lack of kibbutz principles in I-KOs in
two neutral sentences that prompted followers to evade I-KOs’ oligarchic prac-
tices and to miss how leism masked their conservative dysfunction. Leism
raised leaders’ status to delegates of a new cosmic order heralded by the USSR,
demoting kibbutz problems to secondary importance and legitimizing leaders’
extra powers, continuity, and privileges. Leism enhanced the suppression of
creative radicals who then le or turned to outside careers and/or became mute.
By studying radicals’ failing careers, ethnographers could have learned about
their suppression by local conservative oligarchs and about oligarchic I-KO
heads’ support of suppression. Alas, they did not, although every journalist
knows he must seek the views of critics and those who are subdued and/or
have exited. Leism and oligarchic rule bred mass exit of the disenchanted, but
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ethnographers did not seek them out to hear their suering from both phe-
nomena unlike education student Sabar.127 Hearing them helped me untangle
the systems complexity, the impact of leaders’ power, and how dysfunctional
leaders’ dominance caused mass exit and Hirschmans pruning of critics which
deprived students of informative critique.128
An ethnographer of complex organizational systems must consider the
power leaders have to divert or block their eorts, and must seek to overcome
stratagems designed to prevent exposure of the truth about leaders’ functioning
and aims. Informal methods make it easier to evade barriers set up by leaders,
but the danger exists of missing the eects of contexts, and not nding one's
feet in a complex eld to properly interpret cultures.129 Ethnographers must
suspect that, due to leaders’ barriers and camouages, predecessors have missed
a critical sector and events which were problematic for the leaders, and to
study them. is may expose cultural ris which highlight the signicance of
phenomena.130 A home ethnographer who is a part of the studied society may
imagine that they are aware of its contexts, but in a multicultural, fast-changing
and complex system, they may be mistaken.131 For instance, one context that
aected kibbutzim was adjacent ‘development towns’, and to understand their
eects their cultures required ethnography as performed by Marx132 but not
by kibbutz students. Another example is the historical context: the pre-state
Jewish community was an ideological and highly value-laden democracy; thus,
it was alienated by anti-democratic leism. Worse still, Tabenkin and Yaari did
not admit that it was wrong even aer 1956, furthering public alienation to the
detriment of kibbutzim; but this had not been studied.
Wallerstein calls for integration of disciplines by ‘historical social sciences’
and the present case supports it;133 integration is essential but is dicult to
achieve due to dierent academic backgrounds and research methods. In addi-
tion, much history is written in the spirit of the leaders who have shaped it.
us, it is essential to nd the small amount of critical historical material and
integrate it with one’s own ethnographies of dierent parts of the complex
system, as well as with other ndings, and with the help of a good theory, in
accord with psychologist Kurt Lewin’s famous remark about its practicality, one
may penetrate leaders’ masks and camouages. However, the right theory may
be found in another discipline; thus, more interaction and integration among
disciplines by new solutions is called for.
Another problem of social sciences must also be addressed in light of the
suppression of critical kibbutz researchers: Like leaders and their loyalists who
defend the masks, early students tended to defend their ndings against later
critical disproof. In this manner, the kibbutzims hegemonic scientic coalition
defended evasion of I-KOs and oligarchic rule, preventing true explanation
of leism. Collins exposed the problem of such hegemonies in 1975,134 but
his exposure did not change publication decision-making norms in the social
sciences: Disagreement among reviewers still leads to rejection; hence, one
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member of a hegemonic coalition among reviewers can be enough to block
exposure of its mistakes. A reform of this method is required to limit conserv-
ative hegemony of scientic coalitions. is may be done by adoption of the
method of natural sciences: when only one reviewer agrees with an article, it
is not rejected but is reviewed by an additional scholar.
e author thanks Haim Shferber, Emanuel Marx, Gideon M. Kressel, Einat Libel,
Naama Kedem-Hadad, Nir Resisi, Sergey Gornosteiev, Barbara Doron, Martin Kett,
Henri Near, Daniel De-Malaach, Uri Izhar and anonymous reviewers of earlier versions
of this article for their helpful comments.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author.
1. Dalton, Men Who Manage; Goman, e Presentation of Self; Hughes, Men and
their Work; Mehri, Notes from Toyota-land.
2. Berger, Invitation to Sociology, Ch. 2.
3. Bourdieu and Wacquant, An Invitation, 92; Foucault, Power/Knowledge.
4. Hirschman, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty; Michels, Political Parties.
5. Leviatan, Oliver, and Quarter, Crisis Kibbutz, 163; Sabar, Kibbutz L.A.; Shapira,
Transforming Kibbutz Research, Ch. 14.
6. Hambrick and Fukutomi, “e Seasons.
7. Michels, Political Parties.
8. Bourdieu, Outline; Fox, Beyond Contract; Sasson-Levy, Muda”ut.
9. Brumann, “e Dominance of One”; Shapira, Transforming, Chs. 15‒16; Stryjan,
Impossible Organizations.
10. Shapira, “Institutional Combination.
11. Moshkowitz, Likud Bli Likud.
12. Marx, “Hamekhkar hakhevrati-anthropology,” 147.
13. For a brief discussion of I-KOs, see Shapira, Transforming, Ch. 6.
14. Niv and Bar-On. e Dilemma; Shapira, Transforming, Chs. 5‒8.
15. For a similar ri between organizational research disciplines, see Bate,
“Whatever Happened.
16. Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. II, 364‒71.
17. Dror, Historiya; Niv and Bar-On, e Dilemma of Size; Rosolio, Hashita
Vehamashber; Shapira, Transforming, Ch. 6.
18. Shapiro, “Hashorashim.
19. Beilin, Banim Betzel Avotam; Kaa, Emet O Emuna; Tzachor, Hazan; Zait,
Khalutzim, 125.
20. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 615; Tzur, Lo Yu k h lu.
21. Yatziv, Hakhevra Hasectoryalit.
22. Beilin, Banim; Etzioni-Halevy, Kesher Ha”elitot; Shapiro, Elita Bli Mamshikhim;
Shapiro, “Hashorashim.
Downloaded by [Reuven Shapira] at 20:25 01 February 2016
23. Buber, Paths in Utopia; Landshut, e Kvutza; Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. I.
24. Argaman, Hakibbutz Yakhlit; Tzur, Miginzay Haarchion.
25. Kanari, Tabe n k i n ; Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. I; Tzur, Miginzay Haarchion.
26. Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. I, 140‒43.
27. Zertal, Ken Ne”urim, 160‒77. Tzachor, Hazan, 152‒7; Zait, Khalutzim, 261.
28. Hazan, “Leemdatenu”; Zait, Khalutzim, 120.
29. On the KM: Goren, Yisrael Bar-Yehuda. On the KA: Tzur, Nofey, 237. Also Zait,
Khalutzim, 145, 166.
30. Kaa, Emet, 30.
31. Ibid., 38; Tzachor, Hazan, 163‒4.
32. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 471, 478; Zait, Khalutzim, 121.
33. Kaa, Emet, 49; Zait, Khalutzim, 123.
34. Zait, Khalutzim, 205.
35. Ibid., 203‒4.
36. Kaa, Emet, 60‒62.
37. Ibid., 66, 72.
38. Porat, Me”ever Lagashmi, 178‒82.
39. Zait, Khalutzim, 237, 259‒60.
40. Ibid., 262; Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. II, 329.
41. Kaa, Emet, 110‒12; Tzachor, Hazan, 188‒97; Yatziv, Hakhevra.
42. Gvirtz, Yeled Bilti Rtzuy, 217; Near, Rak Shvil, 467.
43. Zait, Khalutzim, 120.
44. Ibid., 208.
45. Goren, Israel Bar-Yehuda; Tzur, Nofey, 237.
46. Tzachor, Hazan, 155.
47. Zait, Khalutzim, 123, 205.
48. Ibid., 123.
49. Shapira, “Communal Decline”; Shapira, “Academic Capital”; Shapira, “Becoming
a Triple Stranger”; Shapira, Transforming.
50. Kressel, “Hakdama.
51. Buber, Paths, 141. On functionalists dominance in Israel: Ram, e Changing
Agenda. On functionalism: Platt, “Functionalism and the Survey.
52. E.g. Lenski, Power and Privilege; Michels, Political Parties.
53. Tabenkin died in 1971 and Yaari relinquished oce in 1973 due to poor health.
54. Beilin, Banim, Ch. 5; Shapira, Transforming, 185; Personal knowledge as a
member of Reiner’s kibbutz and as his student in KAs Seminar Center and the
Ruppin College.
55. Ben-Artzi, “Kibbutz or Moshav?”
56. Kynan, “Betzalmnu Kidmutenu.
57. Kaa, Emet, 125, 127.
58. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 593, 604‒5, 635‒52.
59. Kynan, “Betzalmnu Kidmutenu”, 190; Halamish, Me i r Yaa r i, 88.
60. Mapam: Kanari, Tab e n k i n , 640‒77; Intoxication: Kets de Vries, Leaders. Series
of crises: Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. II, Chs. 7‒8; Tzachor, Hazan, 188‒221.
61. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 745.
62. Kaa, Emet, 35; Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. II, 65; Tzachor, Hazan, 224; Tzur,
63. As this negated kibbutz egalitarianism, it was never mentioned in print, but
has been told in veterans’ interviews; for instance, in 1990 interview in Kibbutz
Ramat Yohanan with David Kahana, who served as a Histadrut subsidiary
ocial in 1930.
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64. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 761; Tzachor, Hazan, 180.
65. Halamish, Mei r Yaar i , 104.
66. Stryjan, Impossible Organizations.
67. Kanari, Tab e nkin, 476; Shapira, Transforming, 127‒32; Tzachor, Hazan, 171‒80.
68. Rosner, “Ha”avoda Bakibbutz”; Shapira, Klitat; Shapira, “Rotatzia otomatit”;
Shapira, Transforming, Ch. 16; Shapira, “Institutional Combination.
69. Ben-Horin, Hitporerut Kvutzot, 82; Katzir, Sharsheret Zahav, 76.
70. Cohen, “Khevrat Hyekhidim.
71. Argaman, Hakibbutz Yakhlit; Ben-Horin, Hitporerut.
72. Shapira, “Rotatzia”; Shapira, “Communal”; Shapira, Transforming, Chs. 12‒15;
Topel, “Livnot.
73. Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. II, 362‒71.
74. Ibid., respectively, 389, 395, 389‒90.
75. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 389‒90.
76. Keshet, Makhteret Rukhanit.
77. Shapira, Transforming, 150; Zait, Hakholem Vehamagshim.
78. Interview with Shlomo Gur, Tel Aviv, 1992.
79. Shapira, “Avraham Shlonski”; Shapira, Transforming, 159.
80. Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. II, 13, 24‒31.
81. Ibid., 433, 523.
82. Tzachor, Hazan, 162, 172‒4.
83. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 441.
84. Ibid., 513‒21.
85. Wolf, Envisioning Power, 283‒4.
86. Kaa, Emet, 27.
87. Porat, Me”ev e r , 181‒2; Tzachor, Hazan, 229.
88. Hughes, Men and eir Work.
89. Tzachor, Hazan, 223‒4.
90. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 412, 408 respectively.
91. Zait, Khalutzim, 71; Ben-Avram, Khever Hakvutzot.
92. Near, e Kibbutz, Vol. I, 349‒50.
93. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 408‒9.
94. Kaa, Emet, 27‒30.
95. Giuliani, Leadership; Graham, “Servant-Leadership in Organizations.
96. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 390, Ch. 24.
97. Ibid., respectively 395, 374, 386, 371‒2.
98. Landshut, e Kvutza, 80‒92.
99. Kanari, Tabe n k i n , 375.
100. Ibid., 521, 539; Zait, Khalutzim, Chs. 6, 8.
101. Tzachor, Hazan, 91.
102. Ibid., 150‒52, 158‒9.
103. Ibid., 153‒4, 218; Kaa, “Dfusay Manhigut.
104. Ansell and Fish, “e Art.
105. Tzachor, Hazan, 156‒60.
106. Ibid., 161‒2.
107. Zait, Khalutzim, 79.
108. Tzachor, Hazan, 251‒69.
109. Shapiro, Elita; Shapiro, “Hashorashim.
110. Kanari, Laset, 153‒86.
111. Shapiro, “Hashorashim,” 47; Tzachor, Hazan, 224.
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112. Minutes of World Zionist Organization Congresses (Jerusalem: World Zionist
Organization, 1950), 1925‒1935. Congresses No. 14‒19.
113. Adar, “Mechonit Tzmuda”; Bowes, Kibbutz Goshen; Fadida, “Hadinamica”;
Kressel, Rivud; Kressel, Lekol Ekhad; Ron, “Ha”ideologya Hakibbutzit”; Shapira,
“Hadinamica”; Shapira, “Academic Capital;” Shapira, Transforming; Topel,
114. Bourdieu and Wacquant, An Invitation, 90.
115. See note 113, and Shapira, Anatomya; Shapira, “Rotatzya.
116. Shapira, “Communal”; Shapira, Transforming.
117. Shapira, Transforming, Ch. 1.
118. Khermesh, “Hashpaot Hasviva”; Rosolio, Hamiv ne Ha”ezori.
119. E.g. Rosenfeld, “Social Stratication”; Spiro, Kibbutz; Topel, “Livnot.
120. Ram, e Changing Agenda. E.g. Collins, Conict Sociology, Ch. 9; Platt,
Realities of Social Research; Platt, “Functionalism and the Survey.
121. Ben-David, “Bikoret”; Shepher, “Kibbutz Sdom Ve”amorra.
122. Evens, Two Kinds of Rationality.
123. Shapira, Anatomya; Shapira, “e Voluntary”; Shapira, “Communal”; Shapira,
124. Marx, “Hamekhkar,” 147.
125. Zoloth, “Mistakenness.
126. Ben-Artzi, “Kibbutz or Moshav?”
127. Sabar, Kibbutz L.A.
128. Hirschman, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty.
129. Marx, “Hamekhkar,” 147; Geertz, e Interpretation of Cultures, 13.
130. Hazan, Hasiakh Ha”anthropology, 29.
131. Shapira, “Becoming a Triple.
132. Marx, e Social Context.
133. Wallerstein, e Uncertainties of Knowledge.
134. Collins, Conict Sociology, Ch. 9.
Notes on contributor
Reuven Shapira is a retired senior lecturer of anthropology, sociology, and management
at the Western Galilee Academic College, Acre, Israel, and a member of Kibbutz Gan
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... As cited, many states limit the term of civil servants but not that of leaders, explainable by recognizing that even an eight-year limit often prunes successful leaders who are at their peak effectiveness in their ninth year or later after learning many lessons of experience, enjoying vast followers' trust that empowers them to solve major problems by radical innovations, overcoming entrenched tenured conservative powerholders. For example, prestate Israeli leaders Ben-Gurion and Tabenkin made such radical changes in their 13th and 15th years in power, respectively (Segev 2018;Shapira 2016b). ...
... For instance, the leaders of the largest kibbutz federations were effective high-moral democratic from the mid-1920s to 1937-1939; then they became oligarchic dysfunctional within a decade and democratic succession became impossible: egalitarian kibbutzim (pl. of kibbutz) limited officers' terms to three to four years and, like weak shortterm Japanese prime ministers, weak short-term kibbutz officers could not democratically replace the entrenched dysfunctional veteran leaders. Kibbutz canonic research missed this and mistakenly glorified term limits (Shapira 2005(Shapira , 2008(Shapira , 2016b. ...
... 2. Leaders who retired after 20 years rarely left a deputy of their caliber to replace them; such deputies were often "inside outsiders" (Bower 2007), talented critical thinking innovators who already were suppressed, pruned out, or left disenchanted. 3. Often, after 16 years even high-moral radical leaders became entrenched immoral conservatives, for instance, kibbutz prime leaders (Shapira 2008(Shapira , 2016b 4. After 16 years, one can hardly imagine the organization's continuity without herself or himself at the helm; projecting a failure, one feels justified to bar such change even by illegal means. ...
Full-text available
Successful leaders tend to reach a dysfunction phase and to become conservative self-serving oligarchic. Polities and large organizations try to prevent this by term limits despite many drawbacks, while corporations use “Golden Parachutes,” a costly measure with major drawbacks as well. Despite much research, the timely succession of leaders in large organizations remains a recalcitrant problem demanding a solution. A review of current solutions points to the plausible use of intangible rewards rather than tangible ones by offering leaders possibility of multiple terms with each reelection requiring a higher majority in a proper constituency. This will reward leaders by plausible tenure prolongation, prestigious higher majority reelection, and plausible creative innovation due to long time horizon, while barring dysfunctional oligarchic continuity. Suggestions for practicing this solution and for further study of the problems it entails are offered.
... Many smart shrewd leaders have used power achieved by various means to radiate charismatic images with no real wisdom and led people to false visions, wrongs, failures, and disasters (Boddy et al., 2010;Chang & Halliday, 2005;Lipman-Blumen, 2006;Montefiore, 2003). Howell and Shamir (2005: p. 107) proposed that "the more the leader felt empowered, the more he or she will engage in charismatic behaviors, such as displaying self-confidence and presenting a challenging vision," but likewise can self-empower a past transformational leader who had weakened due to dysfunction in accord with LLCT (Leadership Life Cycle Theory); a charismatic image can help her/him defend power: by adopting a challenging vision, preferably of a distant and secretive seemingly successful organization/polity, such leaders display a charismatic image, using authoritarian practices legitimized by this example to camouflage their self-perpetuating conservatism, suppressing ascending talented innovators (Beilin, 1984;Rifkin & Harrar, 1988: Ch. 10;Shapira, 2016a). Such a vision of an extreme ideology may empower a leader by radically changing followers' cosmic worldview: ...
... Each leader democratically suppressed Leftism in his respective movement by lengthy debates aimed at gaining followers' trust; these debates lacked any sign of leaders' adoration, and Leftists were expelled after long debates and approval by a vote of kibbutz members, with no charismatic leader fiats (Near, 1992: pp. 140-143;Tzachor, 1997: p. 153;Shapira, 2016a). ...
... 389-391) and by authoritarian rule, while in the 1939 Naan Convention he himself boasted about the "Bolshevist" imposition of KM Secretariat decisions on kibbutzim. Yaari centralized KA only politically-ideologically (Tzachor, 1997), but both leaders soon legitimized growing autocracy by a complete reversal in 1937 (Tabenkin) and 1939 (Yaari) from criticism of Stalin's USSR to its reverence (Shapira, 2016a). ...
Full-text available
Two cases of half-of-a-century democratic movement leaders described by all as charismatic are found initially truly transformational. Then democracy limitation curbed followers’ trust and competing leaders threatened their positions which they defended by radical ideological turns that legitimized autocracy and camouflaged dysfunctional conservatism. This turns led to crises which they overcame by adopting charismatic postures. Co-opted scholars accepted these postures, ignoring leaders’ disproving self-perpetuating conservative dysfunction and innovators’ suppression. Leaders’ dysfunction created leadership vacuums which innovative mid-levelers filled, renewing successes but enhancing leaders’ charismatic images rather than succeeding them. Posthumous scholars exposed leaders’ subterfuges but not the mistaken charismatic designation which vague charisma concept helped. The findings emphasize the time and culture dimensions of tenured leadership combinations, the need for clear concepts and theory and the decisiveness of researchers’ close contact with the reality of leaders’ changing practices and ideologies. Suggestions for further research are offered.
... However, leaders' low-moral self-perpetuating efforts commenced in, 1937-9 by the two urging reverence of Stalinism which contradicted kibbutz egalitarianism and Israeli democratic culture, legitimizing centralized control, autocracy, and censorship of publications ([88][89]p. 178;[90]). The two became conservatives and suppressed young radical leaders who objected both Stalinism and conservatism[87][91][92][95], policies which sidetracked the kibbutzim, helping the government ignore their unique needs. ...
... Worse still, new generation leaders criticized Movements' undemocratic and non-egalitarian practices, objected to reverence of Stalinism, and called for a leadership reshuffle. These young leaders were suppressed, sidetracked, and/or left[90][92], but even these events did not move students to study suppressing prime leaders and loyalist I-KO power elites. According to Kuhn[129]the sticking to paradigms disproved by new findings is a common scientific problem. ...
... However, functionalists continued; for instance, as was depicted in, 1975 two of them vehemently denounced Kressel's seminal ethnography that untangled the oligarchization of Kibbutz Netzer Sireni[110][111]. Then Kibbutz Research Institute studied kibbutz plants but not studied oligarchization in these kibbutzim (personal knowledge[90]). Time was even riper for a change from, 1980 as a series of critical publications further disproved functionalists' rosy picture of kibbutz[68] [72] [73] [76] [97] [101] [108] [136], but the dominant coalition ignored critiques and this helped ultra-conservative, loyalists without critical thinking succeed the old guard and worsen implementation of its outdated policies in accord with Hirschman[31], such as establishing 21 new kibbutzim without proper financing, adding superfluous debts[100]which together with a new hostile governmental economic policy in, 1985 more than doubled debts yearly, and the kibbutz system collapsed[137]. Even after this collapse with mismanaged I-KOs[74]responsible for a large part of the system debts[137], while governmental help for rescuing kibbutz required abandoning their principles[137], functionalists continued to ignore I-KOs, and helped conceal the heavy burden of their inflated bureaucracies. ...
Critics find that major social scientists comply with domination by power elites. However, kibbutz research is a unique case: initial compliance was benign, aimed at helping a progressive social movement in crisis while missing/ignoring leaders’ pernicious self-perpetuation and their suppression of well-intended critical research. Uncritical functionalism became hegemonic and helped leaders’ autocratic self-perpetuation by a fake image of democracy and egalitarianism, evading members’ interest in exposing reality. In return, power elites helped functionalists’ academic success. The findings support above critics, pointing to the need for measures that will minimize self-serving selectiveness of survey researchers and chances of co-optation, as well as measures that will maximize chances for exposing such scientific failures.
... However, leaders' low-moral self-perpetuating efforts commenced in, 1937-9 by the two urging reverence of Stalinism which contradicted kibbutz egalitarianism and Israeli democratic culture, legitimizing centralized control, autocracy, and censorship of publications ([88][89]p. 178;[90]). The two became conservatives and suppressed young radical leaders who objected both Stalinism and conservatism[87][91][92][95], policies which sidetracked the kibbutzim, helping the government ignore their unique needs. ...
... Worse still, new generation leaders criticized Movements' undemocratic and non-egalitarian practices, objected to reverence of Stalinism, and called for a leadership reshuffle. These young leaders were suppressed, sidetracked, and/or left[90][92], but even these events did not move students to study suppressing prime leaders and loyalist I-KO power elites. According to Kuhn[129]the sticking to paradigms disproved by new findings is a common scientific problem. ...
... However, functionalists continued; for instance, as was depicted in, 1975 two of them vehemently denounced Kressel's seminal ethnography that untangled the oligarchization of Kibbutz Netzer Sireni[110][111]. Then Kibbutz Research Institute studied kibbutz plants but not studied oligarchization in these kibbutzim (personal knowledge[90]). Time was even riper for a change from, 1980 as a series of critical publications further disproved functionalists' rosy picture of kibbutz[68] [72] [73] [76] [97] [101] [108] [136], but the dominant coalition ignored critiques and this helped ultra-conservative, loyalists without critical thinking succeed the old guard and worsen implementation of its outdated policies in accord with Hirschman[31], such as establishing 21 new kibbutzim without proper financing, adding superfluous debts[100]which together with a new hostile governmental economic policy in, 1985 more than doubled debts yearly, and the kibbutz system collapsed[137]. Even after this collapse with mismanaged I-KOs[74]responsible for a large part of the system debts[137], while governmental help for rescuing kibbutz required abandoning their principles[137], functionalists continued to ignore I-KOs, and helped conceal the heavy burden of their inflated bureaucracies. ...
Critics find that many social scientists comply with domination by power elites. The kibbutz movement led major changes of the Jewish community in Palestine and the Israeli state, but its prime leaders became early conservative self-perpetuators and suppressed critical social research which could have advanced the movement’s aims. This facilitated hegemony of functionalists, who helped leaders conceal pernicious autocratic conservative rule by a fake image of democracy and egalitarianism, evading the contrary reality in leaders-headed inter-kibbutz organizations. In return, the leaders helped functionalists’ academic success. The academic-supported oligarchic rule eventually led to the demise of kibbutz radicalism, a failure that functionalists have failed to explain and have not admitted helping. The findings support critics of this conformist tendency, pointing to the need for measures that will minimize self-serving selectiveness of survey researchers and chances of co-optation, as well as measures that will maximize chances for exposing such scientific failures.
... Even more devastating were a series of political-ideological and economic crises in the, 1950s, resulting inter alia from the self-serving, self-perpetuating efforts of the two prime leaders, KM's Tabenkin and KA's Yaari, who prevented innovative involvement in coping with the new state's major problems [84]- [87]. However, leaders' low-moral self-perpetuating efforts commenced in, 1937-9 by the two urging reverence of Stalinism which contradicted kibbutz egalitarianism and Israeli democratic culture, legitimizing centralized control, autocracy, and censorship of publications ([88] [89] p. 178; [90]). The two became conservatives and suppressed young radical leaders who objected both Stalinism and conservatism [87] [91] [92] [95], policies which sidetracked the kibbutzim, helping the government ignore their unique needs. ...
... Worse still, new generation leaders criticized Movements' undemocratic and non-egalitarian practices, objected to reverence of Stalinism, and called for a leadership reshuffle. These young leaders were suppressed, sidetracked, and/or left [90]- [92], but even these events did not move students to study suppressing prime leaders and loyalist I-KO power elites. According to Kuhn [129] the sticking to paradigms disproved by new findings is a common scientific problem. ...
... However, functionalists continued; for instance, as was depicted in, 1975 two of them vehemently denounced Kressel's seminal ethnography that untangled the oligarchization of Kibbutz Netzer Sireni [110] [111]. Then Kibbutz Research Institute studied kibbutz plants but not studied oligarchization in these kibbutzim (personal knowledge [90] [136], but the dominant coalition ignored critiques and this helped ultra-conservative, loyalists without critical thinking succeed the old guard and worsen implementation of its outdated policies in accord with Hirschman [31], such as establishing 21 new kibbutzim without proper financing, adding superfluous debts [100] which together with a new hostile governmental economic policy in, 1985 more than doubled debts yearly, and the kibbutz system collapsed [137]. ...
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Abstract Critics find that social sciences tend to comply with social domination by power elites, which is often low-moral, but the debate on public expectations of social scientists often misses this. The failed kibbutz research illuminates this problem: while supposedly abiding by such expectations, a dominant functionalist scientific coalition was co-opted by privileged old guard leaders and power elites for dozens of years to the public detriment. This coalition concealed leaders’ and power elites’ violations of kibbutz radical principles in inter-kibbutz organizations (hereafter I-KOs) by evading their study, and created a faked image of democracy and egalitarianism that enhanced academic success but helped conceal the pernicious conservative oligarchic hegemony of life-long I-KO leaders, harming efforts to overcome it. This eventually led to the demise of the kibbutz radical system, a failure that functionalists have failed to explain. The findings support critics of conformist social sciences while pointing to their Achilles heel, i.e., fallible survey research methods that call for new measures that minimize fallibility and the likelihood of co-opting social scientists by power elites, as well as measures that will maximize chances of exposing such scientific failures.
... 'Jumper' CEOs preferred PM loyalty over job competence, while 'jumper' protégé PMs followed their low-moral modelling (e.g., Liu et al., 2012). However, the context of oligarchic I-KOs field, ruled by dysfunctional low-moral old guard leaders who preferred sponsored mobility (Martin and Strauss, 1959) largely explained 'jumper' executive choices of CCMI-L-MC (Shapira, 2008(Shapira, , 2015b(Shapira, , 2016. ...
... Due to ignorance of their own ignorance, 'jumpers' missed how CCMI failed them, as employees resisted their stupidity by means of local knowledge advantages (e.g., Roy, 1952). Kibbutz managers accepted rotatzia although it weakened them, requiring repeated facing of ignorance due to kibbutz students' vindication of it, missing its oligarchic enhancement (Shapira, 2005) while the socialist ideology legitimized leaders' prolonged dysfunctional rule (Shapira, 2016). Rotatzia was also accepted due to the prospect of 'jumping' to I-KO privileged jobs with perks unknown inside kibbutzim, while the informal norm of pe'ilim monopolizing executive jobs and some mid-level ones spared them job competition with competent hired employees. ...
... The context of the oligarchic kibbutz field encouraged CCoMI and AC by offering better prospects of career advancement by patrons' auspices rather than by performance, hence PMs mostly followed the 80% of detached CEOs who followed prime oligarchic kibbutz leaders (Shapira 2008(Shapira , 2015b(Shapira , 2016. TMs mostly opted otherwise, due to their habituses and/or due to being closer to practitioners and/or having psychological safety because of their pertinent and referred expertises and/or grasping little prospects for sponsored mobility than for mobility by performance because executives preferred promoting their own loyalists, much as UK engineers were rarely promoted to executive ranks (Armstrong 1987). ...
... 'Jumpers' accepted circulation, although it weakened them inter alia due to kibbutz social researchers' vindication of it, missing its oligarchic enhancement and how socialist ideology legitimized leaders' prolonged dysfunctional undemocratic rule (Shapira 2005(Shapira , 2016. The informal norm of pe'ilim monopolizing managerial jobs also encouraged circulation by sparing ...
Conference Paper
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Executives’ morality and ethics became major research topics after recent business scandals, but research missed a major explanation of executives’ amorality: career advancement by ‘jumping’ between firms, causing ignorance of job-pertinent tacit know-how and phronesis (Greek for practical wisdom) and tempting ‘jumpers’ to use covert concealment of managerial ignorance (hereafter: CCoMI) by detachment and/or autocratic seduction-coercion. CCoMI causes a distrust and ignorance cycle, which engenders mismanagement that bars performance-based career advancement and encourages amoral careerism (AC), advancing by bluffs, power abuse, scapegoating, and other self-serving subterfuges. Though AC is a known malady of large organizations, its explanation missed ‘jumpers’ choice of CCoMI, probably because the latter remained on organizations’ dark side through secrecy and conspiracies of silence. A 5-year semi-native anthropological study of five ‘jumper’-managed automatic processing plants and their parent inter-kibbutz co-operatives found common CCoMI-induced AC among executives, some 68% practiced AC and some 78% were ineffective CCoMI users, versus only some 25% of mid-level ‘jumpers’ practicing CCoMI and AC. This gradation of morality accorded power, authority, and status ranking that made practicing CCoMI-AC easier the higher one’s position; it is consistent with findings that show lower morality the higher one’s status (Piff et al. 2012) and supports the hypothesis that ‘jumping’ careers tend to nurture amoral executives. Ideas for remedies for this corporate malady are suggested, and further study of ‘jumpers’ coping with ignorance is called for.
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Purpose – Organizational research missed managerial ignorance concealment (MIC) and the low-moral careerism (L-MC) it served, leaving a lacuna in managerial stupidity research: MIC serving L-MC was not used to explain this stupidity. The purpose of this paper is to remedy this lacuna. Design/methodology/approach – A semi-native longitudinal multi-site ethnography of automatic processing plants, their parent inter-kibbutz co-operatives (I-KC-Os) and their kibbutz field context enabled a Strathernian ethnography that contextualized the prevalence of MIC and L-MC. Findings – I-KC-Os’ oligarchic context encouraged outsider executives’ MIC and L-MC that caused vicious distrust and ignorance cycles, stupidity and failures. A few high-moral knowledgeable mid-managers prevented total failures by vulnerable involvement that created virtuous trust and learning cycles. This, however, furthered dominance by ignorant ineffective L-MC executives and furthered use of MIC. Practical implications – As managerial know-how portability is often illusory and causes negative dominance of ignorant outsider executives, new CEO succession norms and new yardsticks for assessing fitness of potential executives are required, proposed in the paper. Social implications – Oligarchic contexts encourage MIC and L-MC, hence democratization is called for to counter this negative impact and promote efficiency, effectiveness and innovation. Originality/value – Untangling and linking the neglected topics of MIC and L-MC explains, for the first time, the prevalence of these related phenomena and their unethical facets, particularly among outsider executives and managers, emphasizing the need for their phronetic ethnographying to further explain the resulting mismanagement.
Outline of a Theory of Practice is recognized as a major theoretical text on the foundations of anthropology and sociology. Pierre Bourdieu, a distinguished French anthropologist, develops a theory of practice which is simultaneously a critique of the methods and postures of social science and a general account of how human action should be understood. With his central concept of the habitus, the principle which negotiates between objective structures and practices, Bourdieu is able to transcend the dichotomies which have shaped theoretical thinking about the social world. The author draws on his fieldwork in Kabylia (Algeria) to illustrate his theoretical propositions. With detailed study of matrimonial strategies and the role of rite and myth, he analyses the dialectical process of the 'incorporation of structures' and the objectification of habitus, whereby social formations tend to reproduce themselves. A rigorous consistent materialist approach lays the foundations for a theory of symbolic capital and, through analysis of the different modes of domination, a theory of symbolic power.
While utopian communes - groups that voluntarily live together and share all their property - are notoriously unstable, some of them achieve long durations. Based on a broad comparison of cases, I show that charismatic leaders in communes inhibit survival if they are too dominant, as when they are attributed quasi-divine properties and absolute power over members. By contrast, a branch structure - a number of semi-independent settlements instead of a single one - is often associated with long-term survival and institutional vigor. Branches restrict settlement sizes to a favorable level (75-500 persons), while mutual economic support, social control, and the testing of innovations in clearly bounded subunits may proceed undiminished. None of the branches may be too dominant, however, so that the same structural principle as for charismatic leaders applies. The comparative study of real-life cases with different degrees of success offers the most promising path to a general theory of cooperation.
This article proposes a model of the dynamics of the CEO's tenure in office. The central argument is that there are discernible phases, or seasons, within an executive's tenure in a position, and that these seasons give rise to distinct patterns of executive attention, behavior, and, ultimately, organizational performance. The five delineated seasons are (a) response to mandate, (b) experimentation, (c) selection of an enduring theme, (d) convergence, and (e) dysfunction. The theoretical and practical implications of the model are discussed.