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Institutional Context and Leadership Style: The House from Cannon to Rayburn

Joseph Cooper and David W. Brady
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 75, No. 2 (Jun., 1981), pp. 411-425
DOI: 10.2307/1961374
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1961374
Page Count: 15
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Institutional Context and Leadership Style: The House from Cannon to Rayburn
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Abstract

This article deals with the transition in House leadership from Cannon to Rayburn. The transition involved moving from a hierarchical pattern of leadership to a bargaining pattern. In accounting for this transition, we argue that it is the institutional context of the House that determines leadership power and style. Moreover, we argue that there is no straightforward relationship between leadership style and effectiveness; rather, style and effectiveness are contingent or situational. We conclude that the impact of institutional context on leadership behavior is itself primarily determined by party strength. When party strength is high, power is concentrated and leaders are task- or goal-oriented, whereas when party strength is low, power is dispersed and leaders will be oriented to bargaining and maintaining relationships.

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