An authoritarian personality is an individual who demonstrates unquestioning obedience and respect for an authority which is realized through the oppression of subordinate people. The following are illustrative examples.
Social DominanceAn authoritarian personality seeks social dominance through unquestioning allegiance to an authority such as a government, corporation, ideology or political group.
BureaucracyAuthoritarian personalities thrive in a system with rigid rules such as a bureaucracy. They often perform well in such roles as they implement processes, rules and procedures with accuracy.
Distrust of FreedomAuthoritarian personalities crave certainty such as formal authority and processes. As such, they don't necessarily benefit from freedoms. In fact, they may be antagonistic towards freedoms and people who exercise freedom.
Defense of the Status QuoAuthoritarian personalities crave stability and are likely to resist change.
GroupthinkGroupthink is a situation where a social group are pressured to fully embrace an ideology or political movement. This often has an us vs them dynamic whereby all ideas are labeled as belonging to the group or the opposition. Groupthink is often enforced by individuals with an authoritarian personality within the group who work to socially isolate and socially punish anyone who questions the group's ideas or actions.
Authoritarian LeadershipIn a leadership role, authoritarian personalities do everything by the book and many micromanage their subordinates. They also tend to be disciplinarians who are quick to deal out punishment. These traits may be viewed as valuable in a command and control organization such that authoritarian personalities thrive in this type of environment.
Authoritarian personalities can be used to explain how societies, organizations or groups do unintelligent or immoral things as they don't question authority but vigorously implement it.
NotesAn authoritarian personality may find many ways to establish social dominance by enforcing rules, norms and values. For example, they many relish in roles such as neighborhood associations or condo boards that are charged with creating or enforcing community guidelines. Likewise, authoritarian personalities may take to social media to admonish anyone who doesn't follow perceived rules.
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