Document Type




Format of Original

13 p.

Publication Date



Leadership Quarterly

Source Publication


Source ISSN



The process by which leaders emerge from leaderless groups is well-documented, but not nearly as well understood. This article describes how non-linear dynamical systems concepts of attractors, bifurcations, and self-organization culminate in a swallowtail catastrophe model for the leadership emergence process, and presents the experimental results that the model has produced thus far for creative problem solving, production, and coordination-intensive groups. Several control variables have been identified that vary in their function depending on what type of group is involved, e.g. creative problem solving, production, and coordination-intensive groups. The exposition includes the relevant statistical strategies that are based on non-linear regression along with some directions for new research questions that can be explored through this non-linear model.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Leadership Quarterly. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 4 (August 2007): 357-369. DOI. © 2007 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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