Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to try and explain what charismatic leadership might be, byfinding out more about the other side of the relationship, the perspective of followers and their attitudes,feelings and responses to leaders.Design/methodology/approach – The authors examined followers’ implicit narratives of their livedexperiences of charismatic leadership in organizational settings and examined metaphors for thisexperience.Findings – Most respondents identified with positive affect, a form of love story; a minority experiencednegative affect, especially anger; and some experienced both positive and negative emotions. Theauthors suggest that if one adopts a certain identity within the context of a dramatic narrative, one mightbe attributed with charismatic qualities by followers. In this way, it is suggested that charismaticleadership might be less a ‘‘gift from God’’ and more a ‘‘gift from followers’’.Originality/value – Most existing research on charismatic leadership has an essentialist orientation thatcharacterizes it as leader behavior, leader communication or follower dependency. The authors’approach is more discursively oriented. To research charismatic leadership, aesthetic narrativepositivism was used, which undertook utilitarian as well as critical method.Keywords Leadership, Identity, Relationship, Followership, Charisma, Narrative analysisPaper type Research paper
Field of Research
150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce
HERDC Research category
C3 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal
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