Administrative Leader as Hero: Yochanan Ben Zakkai and the Rebuilding of Post-Temple Jewish Organizational Structure

Management & Organizational History, 2016, DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2016.1141691

Posted: 11 Feb 2016

See all articles by William Adler

William Adler

Northeastern Illinois University

Hershey H. Friedman

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Date Written: February 9, 2016

Abstract

Building on the literature on administrative leadership, this paper examines how transformational leadership affects the process of organizational change. The paper does so through a case study of the rebuilding of Jewish organizational life after its devastation in the first century. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 C.E. and a large part of the Jewish population was killed or sold into slavery. The Jewish religion, which was based around worship in the Temple, was in serious trouble. One man, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, saved Judaism. He did this without any armies and only a handful of followers. As a case of administrative leadership, ben Zakkai acted as an ethical, transformational leader who reconfigured the religion and reconstructed the organizational basis of Judaism. This example shows how transformational leadership is well suited as a method of leading large-scale organizational change.

Keywords: Leadership; public administration; history; management; Jewish history; organizational change

Suggested Citation

Adler, William and Friedman, Hershey H., Administrative Leader as Hero: Yochanan Ben Zakkai and the Rebuilding of Post-Temple Jewish Organizational Structure (February 9, 2016). Management & Organizational History, 2016, DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2016.1141691 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2730372

William Adler

Northeastern Illinois University ( email )

5500 N. St. Louis Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
United States

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York ( email )

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