Role Models: The Power of Example

Some individuals, who are regarded as role models, can persuade others to follow their example – not necessarily by intent.

Celebrity attracts imitators.  Celebrity can be in any of several fields, including sport, entertainment, politics, and business.

Kings College London described Florence Nightingale’s impact, for example, The influence and legacy of a nursing icon:

“We often think of Florence Nightingale as the heroine of the Crimea, but she was much more than that. Widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing, Nightingale rejected the societal expectations for middle-class women to marry well and have a family, to pursue her career as a nurse. She was a social reformer, standing on a platform of robust evidence and with a talent for visualising data.

.. Her spirit of compassion and gritty determination are characteristics that many nurses and midwives still identify with today. Nightingale’s transformation across multiple areas including public health, epidemiology and social science developed nursing into a multifaceted profession, requiring multidisciplinary skill coupled with a practical and compassionate approach to caring for people.”

Florence Nightingale inspired other women to follow in her footsteps.  Other well-known people have lent their names to good causes.  Princess Diana was a prominent example, as reported by the BBC: Diana’s Charities.

Less well-regarded people can attract support by mentioning popular role models who endorse their cause.

People have an instinctive desire to be part of a social group.  Some people might join a religious organisation mainly because of respect and admiration for those who already belong.



This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/4314a.htm