Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making

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Further, the leaders personality can decisively inuence the impact of his illness on policy, depending on whether he favors a more hands-on approach or tends to delegate more power and authority to others. Finally, the specic disease can determine the extent and nature of a leaders incapacitation. Some illnesses can be easier to manage, be more likely to prove fatal, or require treatment that exerts a greater effect than others.

Some diseases, such as common cardiovascular disease, can slowly affect brain function over time and thus manifest only intermittently, which might allow careful advisers to show a leader only at his best, even if just for a few hours a day. These important theoretical insights provided by Post and Robins prove true in this current study as well. Their conclusions remain crucial to understanding and appreciating the impact of illness on political leadership.

Importantly, the similarities they mention may vary with regime type as well. In democracies, for example, a greater degree of freedom of the press may make it harder for leaders to hide their illnesses, while simultaneously raising the stakes for keeping it secret.

In politics, no one wants to present himself as a weak leader; however, in democracies it may be easier to delegate important decisions to other leaders and branches of government if tragedy occurs. In a more authoritarian structure, the impact of a leaders incapacity may prove more devastating for the dayto-day running of the government.

Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making

Illness as an Adaptive, Domain-Specic, Content-Laden Program Modications in functioning, taken as a collective, can be viewed as an adaptive program that holds important consequences for judgment and decision making in leadership contexts. Because illness presents a repeated evolutionary challenge, people have had many opportunities to evolve strategies for maximizing their likelihood of survival under such circumstances. These strategies remain instinctual; the affected individual does not need to engage these processes consciously and is often unaware of their operation.

Nonetheless, such dynamic processes work to ensure that sufcient energy and resources are devoted to healing, even at the cost of less immediately important threats to the organism, such as abstract decision making about non-illness-related events and activities. The aficted individual may not wish to be impaired in this way but may not be able to help it; sick people may prove no more able to control their emotional responses than they do their immune system during times of illness, precisely because all necessary and available resources will be recruited by the physical body to promote healing and maximize chances for the survival of the whole organism.

Evolutionary psychology provides an approach to human behavior and decision making that examines those functional, adaptive aspects of the human cognitive architecture which evolved in response to repeated problems encountered by hunter-gatherer ancestors. Designed by natural selection to address these repeated challenges, evolutionary approaches posit that the human mind contains numerous content-laden, domainspecic programs. In other words, humans are not born tabula rasa, subject to learning and socialization on a blank slate.

Rather, humans are born with functionally specialized processes for handling specic problems encountered by their ancestors, including physical challenges such as 8. As Cosmides and Tooby describe, these processes are brought to bear under conditions, contingencies, situations or event types that recurred innumerable times in hominid evolutionary history. Repeated encounters with each type of situation selected for adaptations that guided information processing, behavior, and the body adaptively through a cluster of conditions, demands and contingencies that characterized that particular class of situation.

This can be accomplished by engineering superordinate programs, each of which jointly mobilizes a subset of the psychological architectures other programs in a particular conguration. Each conguration should be selected to deploy computational and physiological mechanisms in a way that, when averaged over individuals and generations, would have led to the most tness-promoting subsequent lifetime outcome, given that ancestral situation type.

This coordinated adjustment and entrainment of mechanisms constitute a mode of operation for the entire psychological architecture. In other words, the human cognitive architecture, here understood to incorporate not just thoughts but also feelings and other physiological processes in an integrated manner, evolved to respond to challenges repeatedly faced by our ancestors. Illness presented one of those repeated challenges whose successful resolution affected both tness and survival.

Illness can entrain a cluster of responses that coalesce to produce a notable and predictable impact on the manner in which an ill leader rules. The effects can display a wide range of dimensions; for example, serious illness may limit a persons attentional abilities, emotional resilience, and cognitive capacities. These restrictions in functioning produce particular biases in the focus that a leader brings to his job. Specically, illness works as a cognitive program that enhances internal focus, restricts time horizon, weakens cognitive capacity, affects perceptions of value and utility, restricts emotional resilience, and induces emotional lability.

Although I briey discuss each point in turn here, it is important to note in the following analysis that all these factors work in concert to color the lens through which sick leaders see themselves, their work, and the external world. Internal Focus Some political leaders may rise to their position of power because they have obtained specialized knowledge of particular areas of government or politics or garnered political favor through their personal charisma and skill. Rarely, however, does someone reach the pinnacle of power 9. Illness breaks this set. Illness by denition forces a person to focus on his internal world in a way in which political leaders, in particular, may never have had to previously.

A great deal of mental time, energy, and attention must now be devoted to the illness, its symptoms, its prognosis, its treatment, and its political impact. If a leader wishes to keep the illness secret, additional time and energy must be spent on hiding the illness and its effects from others.

If the illness is fatal, existential and legacy concerns may preoccupy the person as well.

He may become much more religious, for example. Given that all humans have limited time, energy, and emotional and physical reserves, resources devoted differentially to one cause will inevitably remain unavailable for other purposes, however important they may otherwise remain.

JFK: A Profile in Pain

But serious illness will not take second place; it demands primary focus. Therefore, however important particular projects or goals may have been to a leader before the illness took center stage, everything else reverts backstage in the wake of a serious disease. Work may be neglected or delegated to others. But the inevitable result is that the leader will have less overall resources available to devote to his job in the face of illness, pain, and treatment.

Foreshortened Time Horizon Time perspective represents an important variable in the way individuals relate to their sense of past, present, and future. As such, time perspective constitutes a fundamental representation of the way individuals construct their sense of time, history, and legacy. Some people remain preoccupied with the past, others manage to stay focused in the present, while still others concentrate on the future.

This subjective focus in time can reliably exert a powerful inuence on many aspects of human behavior, including educational achievement, risky driving, tendency for delinquency and substance abuse, various health dimensions such as likelihood to engage in preventive care, and mate choice. Although often stressed in time management and certain religious traditions such as Buddhism, shifting from a future to a more present-oriented time perspective has been shown to encourage more risky behavior. Illness itself forces a more present-time orientation on its victim.

In the face of incipient illness, time is of the essence. Life seems shorter. There is too much to accomplish with too little time to do it. Sick people cannot defer treatment if they want to have a chance of recovery. Moreover, treatment may at least delay the appearance of the ravages of illness, which could have important political implications.

Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making - Rose McDermott - Google книги

In the wake of illness, men who had been future oriented are forced to focus on the present. No longer can they defer or avoid things they do not want to do because of their power and inuence. No longer can they overcome the effects of illness simply because they confront important and timely policy decisions simultaneously. Further, Post and Robins note that many leaders develop a greater sense of urgency in the face of a diagnosis with a fatal illness. As a result, they need to be more desirable in order to overcome the natural preference for immediate rewards.

Obviously, a leaders sense of the future can change if he believes that his life-span will be inadvertently and unexpectedly foreshortened. His sense of the future becomes more limited. The importance of his historical legacy becomes heightened and more salient, while simultaneously seeming more difcult to achieve in the remaining time in a weakened state.

For example, when the shah of Iran began his so-called White Revolution to bring about a long-term program of modernization in his country, he believed that he had several decades to accomplish his goals. When he was diagnosed with cancer, his timetable noticeably quickened; at least some of the radical religious opposition he encountered in pursing this program resulted from the social dislocation and upheaval precipitated by a pattern of rapid modernization and secularization. Ironically, the shah had originally understood the importance of slow and steady change in order to achieve widespread societal acceptance, but his illness forced him to reevaluate this plan, to his ultimate detriment.

Lessened Capacity Illness diminishes a leaders sheer physical, psychological, and often cognitive ability to work as hard as he might have been able to do previously. As a result, fewer resources remain available for processing information and making decisions. Optimal decision making requires full attention and the ability to bring to bear as much information about the situation as possible.

Some people from the start possess more inherent resources and But, regardless of skill and experience, sickness limits the previous ability of any leader to exert his full capacity in making important and inuential decisions that can affect millions in both economic and military terms. The leader spends more time and energy dealing with the symptoms and consequences of his illness, undergoing treatment, and possibly ensuring secrecy.

More time and energy must also be devoted to doctors and less, by consequence, to advisers and political demands.

  • Neurotransmitter Actions and Interactions: Proceedings of a Satellite Symposium of the 12th International Society for Neurochemistry Meeting, Algarve, Portugal, April 29–30, 1989!
  • Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making.pdf.
  • The Case of Nestorius: Ecclesiastical Politics in the East, 428-451 CE.
  • New Corporate Governance: Successful Board Management Tools.

And more psychic energy becomes consumed with anxiety, depression, fatigue, and thoughts of death. Pain, in and of itself, can be incredibly draining and debilitating, even when the prospects for recovery appear positive overall. In addition, many medications used in the treatment of various ailments can induce direct compromises in cognitive functioning. A leader undergoing treatment may simply possesses fewer resources for handling the crises of the day. Equally signicant, such an impaired person may nd less importance and interest in such events while he is ghting for his life.

Judgmental Alterations in Perceptions of Value and Utility Any serious illness will weaken a persons physical and cognitive resistance to stress. Stress represents a complicated political and psychological phenomenon. Some leaders thrive on political crisis; others become paralyzed in the face of it.

Presidential Leadership Illness And Decision Making Mcdermott Rose

Stress and illness also exert a reciprocal and cyclical interrelationship. Stress causes illness, but illness itself also causes stress.

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It is not simply that a sick person may not be able to ght off other infections as quickly and easily as they might in a healthy state. An ill person also worries about his health, its impact on his family and job, and its likely course. All of a sudden, things that once seemed important appear trivial by comparison with the prospect of death. In the context of illness, other values shift as well. Events that may once have felt like a waste of time, such as spending time with loved ones, become precious and crucial means of coping.