Michel's Oligarchy

In democratic systems, often the power moves upwards. Michels (1949) had the most influential analysis of this process -- his work with the Social Democratic Party in pre- WWI Germany showed that oligarchic tendencies shift power from the majority and place it with an elite minority (Scott p. 332). They are an unintended consequence of organization (Scott p. 332). The new leaders become enamored of the social trappings of their position and become more concerned with organizational survival than the stated goals of the organization. The majority end up "rubber-stamping" executive decisions. Thus the leadership ends up not serving the primary interests of their organizational members.