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Charismatic leadership through the eyes of followers

journal contribution
posted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by S Kempster, Kenneth Parry
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to try and explain what charismatic leadership might be, by
finding 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 lived
experiences of charismatic leadership in organizational settings and examined metaphors for this
experience.
Findings – Most respondents identified with positive affect, a form of love story; a minority experienced
negative affect, especially anger; and some experienced both positive and negative emotions. The
authors suggest that if one adopts a certain identity within the context of a dramatic narrative, one might
be attributed with charismatic qualities by followers. In this way, it is suggested that charismatic
leadership 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 that
characterizes it as leader behavior, leader communication or follower dependency. The authors’
approach is more discursively oriented. To research charismatic leadership, aesthetic narrative
positivism was used, which undertook utilitarian as well as critical method.
Keywords Leadership, Identity, Relationship, Followership, Charisma, Narrative analysis
Paper type Research paper

History

Journal

Strategic HR review

Volume

13

Issue

1

Pagination

20 - 23

Publisher

Emerald Group Publishing

Location

Bingley, Eng.

ISSN

1475-4398

Language

eng

Publication classification

C3 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal

Copyright notice

2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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