De autoritaire attitude sinds Adorno et al. (1950) | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0921-5077
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7235


The authoritarian attitude since Adorno et al. (1950): concept, methodology and research

The authoritarian attitude since Adorno et al. (1950): concept, methodology and research

L.A. ten Horn, Gedrag & Organisatie, volume 20, June 2007, nr. 2, pp. 114-136

In this article research into the authoritarian attitude since 1950 is reviewed with two intentions. The first is to clarify the interaction between conceptualization, measurement, results and the societal pressure bearing on the research. The second purpose of this paper is to identify its potential value for Work and Organizational Psychology. It is argued that societal pressure resulting from the so-called 'left-wing-authoritarianism' controversy caused a search for other conceptualizations and a predominance of methodological issues. The controversy's solution brought a clarification of the concept as did the study of the relationship with religion. The syndrome became reduced to three core elements: conventionalism, submissiveness and aggression. The originally psycho-analytic approach was replaced by an attitudinal one.

The present state of knowledge and instruments (especially in Dutch) are reviewed. It is concluded that the concept has become well-developed, and can be measured reliably and validly. Much is known of its correlations with behavior and other attitudes and its distribution in various populations. Gaps in our knowledge concern causing factors, factors turning high-authoritarian potential into concerted action in society, characteristics of low authoritarians and long term societal developments.

Work and Organizational Psychology can benefit by adopting the concept especially in the study of leadership, resistance to change, innovation and cross-cultural issues.



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