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Love and leadership: constructing follower narrative identities of charismatic leadership

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Management Learning
Issue number1
Volume45
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)21-38
Publication statusPublished
Early online date5/02/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Most extant research on charismatic leadership has an essentialist orientation which characterises it as leader behaviour, leader communication or follower dependency. Our approach is more discursively oriented. To research charismatic leadership we used aesthetic narrative positivism, which undertook utilitarian as well as critical method. We examined followers’ implicit narratives of their lived experiences of charismatic leadership in organizational settings. We examined metaphors for this experience. Most respondents identified with positive affect, a form of love story; a minority experienced negative affect, especially anger; some experienced both positive and negative emotions. We posit 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 we suggest that charismatic leadership might be less a gift from God and more a ‘gift from followers’.