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From a Behavioral Toward an Interactional Theory of Charisma in Organizations
Unformatted Document Text:  Student Paper Interactional Theory of Charisma 10 The above discussion, ignited by Weber’s own observation that practices of management squelch the fire of charismatic leadership, clearly shows that the qualities of a charismatic leader have little to do with the daily “scientific” operations of the manager. Zeleznik (1979) argues that the key distinction between managers and leaders is that “where managers work to limit choices, leaders work in the opposite direction, to develop fresh approaches to longstanding problems and to open issues for new options” (p. 168). He also contends that managers are bound by organizational history and culture and their decisions and goals arise primarily out of necessity. The leader, on the other hand, helps to construct an entrepreneurial culture in which bold decisions are made and risks taken. He resists the notion that people have to play the dual role of manager and leader. Pelz (1951) offers a succinct and insightful overview of the qualities of a leader in a hierarchical organization as differentiated from those of a manager. In his basic postulate for leadership he observes “Successful leadership depends in part on helping group members achieve their goals” (p. 280). Moreover, Vroom (1974) suggests that one of the leader’s most important functions is to control the processes by which decisions are made in the organization. The leader becomes an instrument of change in the organization. Vroom meticulously creates a formula to explicate what types of decisions should be made by the leader in certain types of situations. This emphasis on situational decision making is echoed by Hersey and Blancharu (1982) in their model of situational leadership. The model suggests that there is no one best way to influence people and that situational contexts need to be considered when such an action is required. The ability to size up difficult situations and communicate an effective and pleasing vision of the future is an essential task for the leader – really nothing less than word games.

Authors: Leonardi, Paul.
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Student Paper Interactional Theory of Charisma 10
The above discussion, ignited by Weber’s own observation that practices of management
squelch the fire of charismatic leadership, clearly shows that the qualities of a charismatic leader
have little to do with the daily “scientific” operations of the manager. Zeleznik (1979) argues
that the key distinction between managers and leaders is that “where managers work to limit
choices, leaders work in the opposite direction, to develop fresh approaches to longstanding
problems and to open issues for new options” (p. 168). He also contends that managers are
bound by organizational history and culture and their decisions and goals arise primarily out of
necessity. The leader, on the other hand, helps to construct an entrepreneurial culture in which
bold decisions are made and risks taken. He resists the notion that people have to play the dual
role of manager and leader. Pelz (1951) offers a succinct and insightful overview of the qualities
of a leader in a hierarchical organization as differentiated from those of a manager. In his basic
postulate for leadership he observes “Successful leadership depends in part on helping group
members achieve their goals” (p. 280). Moreover, Vroom (1974) suggests that one of the
leader’s most important functions is to control the processes by which decisions are made in the
organization. The leader becomes an instrument of change in the organization. Vroom
meticulously creates a formula to explicate what types of decisions should be made by the leader
in certain types of situations. This emphasis on situational decision making is echoed by Hersey
and Blancharu (1982) in their model of situational leadership. The model suggests that there is
no one best way to influence people and that situational contexts need to be considered when
such an action is required. The ability to size up difficult situations and communicate an
effective and pleasing vision of the future is an essential task for the leader – really nothing less
than word games.


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