Karl Marx was a sociologist, philosopher and a writer of German origin. He was born in Trier in 1818. He underwent training up to the university level, where he initially studied law and later journalism. Being social with other people, he easily made friends with one of his lecturers. He was introduced to Hegel theory, which had an enormous impact on his life. This contributed to most of his later achievements as a sociologist (Kreis, 2008). This paper explores more on Karl Marx’s life and how his ideas influenced leadership styles.
Marx’s Sociological Theories and Leadership
Karl was also fascinated by Hegel philosophy of history evolving process, in which he argued that by all opposite equalization by means of a logical expression thesis, synthesis and antithesis unity would be achieved. After his doctoral thesis completion in the University of Jena, he decided to become a lecturer, though the plan failed as his friend Bauer, who he hoped would connect him to a teaching position, was dismissed. However, he started his career in journalism, but his articles were not published due to his radical political views. He moved to Cologne circle, where his article on press freedom was published in their Rhenish gazette. This helped him to be appointed as the chief editor of the newspaper (Barte, 2007).
Lenin’s contribution to Marx helped to elaborate capitalism as a means of governance and leadership. He argued that masses of workers have experienced exploitation under the capitalist leadership. They argued the necessity for struggling with the existing consciousness and related it to Marxism. This struggle was conducted as part of exercise in the struggle of material forces. This was mainly conducted by the revolutionary Marxist party. Social revolution, just like any other form of revolution, occupied the entire epoch. Its outcome was decided by the series of conflict in countries where it was emphasized and practiced. This led to tactics and strategies by revolutionary parties and also to the revolutionaries, who were guided by theoretical foundations that were laid by Karl Marx (Mitchell, 2007).
His influence on sociology was determined by the ideas he conveyed through his articles. He wrote many articles, including "The Communist Manifesto" and Das Kapital. "The Communist Manifesto" was a summary of the nature of the communist society and the anticipated revolution. He argued that the proletariat class was the determining factor of the revolution and believed they could win and result to class less society. Das Kapital was a book that contained a summary of capitalism (Slaughter, 1995). In this book, he came up with the theory which stated that a mode of economy in a particular society is what determined the classes in those societies.
The 21st century did not experience much of leadership and leadership styles. Scholars and researchers have studied leadership styles for years. These leadership theories have been tested and applied in different situations by different states and organizations. Majority of leadership theories by Karl Marx have been applied and utilized by communist countries like China, North Korea, former Soviet Union, and Cuba. To certain degree, some of these theories have worked.
However, leadership theories are not ideologies that need to be applied to the latter. In most cases, leadership theories are applied in parts and only in some situations they are applied as a whole. Some of his theories have been modified to suit different situations. Several factors have changed the way people think, work, and react towards leadership theories. Circumstances surrounding leadership styles and leaders have drastically changed over the past recent years. The business world, for instance, have become more volatile and competitive due to the influence by factors such as drastic technology change, changing demographics in the work forces, increasing international competition, markets deregulation, overcapacity in capital intensive industries, unstable oil cartels, and the raiders with the junk bonds.
Critics of Karl Marx theories on leadership argued that totality and the conflict of opposites is mainly the core of dialectics. For instance, Henri Lefebvre’s work, based on the sociology of Marx, 1968, led him to utopianism: he started with the concept of struggle of the opposites and left it at the abstract level. He left it at a level of general conflicts of alienation and praxis. These terms were taken from early works done by Marx in his early years (Avineri, 1970). He penetrated and exposed capitalism culture. These theories remained aloof from its practice. This was from the activities the class and their struggle for a working class leadership style based on Marx’s theories.
Karl Marx was mainly associated with the theory that the true conscious is achieved only through perpetual conflict. In the context of his time and era, this theory appeared quite accurate. However, his critics pointed out that there was not enough expansion in Marx’s research efforts, especially on complex relationship that exists between behavior and motives. Later, Coser joined Marx and they both expounded further on conflict and leadership theory. This has formed deep roots in this school of thought. In most cases, conflict reveals the kind of leadership being practiced by leaders at a particular point in history (Slaughter, 1995).
Other Karl Marx’s leadership theories suggested that some leaders happen to be the impetus of the conflict in their leadership. In this case, leaders and their situations play an integral part in the making of their era in history. Some individuals are trusted upon a leadership role mainly due to the situation on which they were acting. However, some individuals are destined to be effective leaders regardless of their situations or their eras.