Homo sapiens inherited enormous genetic potential, selected over a great arc of time, which has proved indispensable to his survival but at times also manifests useless or even irritatingly awkward vestigial aspects that create a sort of dissonance, an evolutionary mismatch. Aggressiveness is one of those potentially problematic aspects that, if it is properly channelled does not necessarily have to lead to violence and destructiveness, but can become a resource, a way of adapting effectively to civilised contexts. Humans have evolved the ability to bring conflict to a symbolic level, expressing it and acting on it through competition, thereby effectively containing violence.
If immersed in socially evolved processes, aggressiveness can be transformed into competition or even cooperation, and is, in any case, one of the components in a person’s capacity for self-determination and ability to confront highly demanding situations.
Departing from this consideration, the article explores the concepts of authority, leadership, followership and the primary task, highlighting their functional and dysfunctional expressions. After outlining the specific features of institutions and their functional facets, the author goes on to describe the investigative and analytical methodology applied to institutions that is fruit of the studies, research and experiences of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and the Tavistock Clinic of London.