Allophilia and Intergroup Leadership

24 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2005

See all articles by Todd L. Pittinsky

Todd L. Pittinsky

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: May 2005


One of the most pressing concerns confronting leaders is intergroup conflict, often inspired or facilitated by prejudice. Not only might leaders inherit conflicts between political, religious, or organizational groups, but they may unwittingly contribute to them. Foundations of strong intragroup leadership, such as fostering strong group identification and cohesion, are often stepping stones to intergroup conflict. I refer to this as the "ingroup/outgroup leadership tradeoff." While the reduction of prejudice is essential to the reduction of intergroup conflict, I argue that the necessary approach is not to replace prejudice with the neutral stance of tolerance. Something critical lies beyond the reduction of prejudice and the promotion of tolerance: positive intergroup attitudes, allophilia. While the academic and applied literature on intergroup relations is well supplied with terms for negative intergroup attitudes (e.g., xenophobia, sexism, racism, anti-Americanism, classism, ageism, homophobia), there are surprisingly few terms for positive intergroup attitudes. Allophilia is a term I coin, derived from the Greek words meaning "liking, or love, of the other." The concept of allophilia provides a powerful anchor for a new framework for understanding intergroup leadership. To initiate the development of a framework of allophilia and leadership, I address three interrelated questions in this article: (1) What is allophilia in the context of intergroup relations?; (2) What role does - and might - allophilia play in intergroup leadership?; and (3) What are the keys to further developing allophilia as a framework for intergroup leadership theory and practice? The framework prompts leaders to push their societies and the world community away from the natural direction in which individuals and social system might otherwise unfold, leading them instead on a trajectory of positive intergroup relations.

Keywords: allophilia, intergroup leadership, International Affairs/Globalization, International Security, Leadership/Conflict Management, Welfare / Health Care/ Social Policy

Suggested Citation

Pittinsky, Todd L., Allophilia and Intergroup Leadership (May 2005). KSG Working Paper No. RWP05-038. Available at SSRN: or

Todd L. Pittinsky (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-7283 (Phone)
617-384-5490 (Fax)

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