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From a Behavioral Toward an Interactional Theory of Charisma in Organizations
Unformatted Document Text:  Student Paper Interactional Theory of Charisma 22 followers validate the leader and grant him permission to have authority over them. When charisma is transferred there may be no slight of hand. Organizational members know when they can and cannot trust certain leaders, therefore a very basic but important proposition is proposed: Proposition 2a: The transfer of charismatic leadership from an individual to an office depends entirely upon the recognition and validation of this transfer by organizational members. One of the key features highlighted in behavioral theories of charismatic leadership is that followers are completely moved by the rhetoric of the leader (Boss, 1976). Communication strategies often secure the leader’s position as a figure of authority. When charisma is routinized, it takes on much more authority. Weber notes that the power exerted over followers in this situation can be defined as “the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this probability rests” (1968, p. 15). Yet for power to exist it must be recognized and consented to (Deetz, 1992). Organizational members are thus largely responsible for the ongoing authority under which they work. They must recognize authority as such and be persuaded to abide by its rules. Therefore, the office endowed with charisma must be sure to exercise proper decision making and organizational strategies so as to not upset the recognition and acceptance of its authority. Thus, the following proposition is advanced: Proposition 2b: In order for the charismatic office to survive, organizational members must recognize that it has authority over them and must be willing to live under the organizational ideology it proposes. The implication for the office then is as follows: Proposition 2c: The charismatic office must exercise its authority prudently and

Authors: Leonardi, Paul.
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Student Paper Interactional Theory of Charisma 22
followers validate the leader and grant him permission to have authority over them. When
charisma is transferred there may be no slight of hand. Organizational members know when they
can and cannot trust certain leaders, therefore a very basic but important proposition is proposed:
Proposition 2a:
The transfer of charismatic leadership from an individual to an
office depends entirely upon the recognition and validation of this
transfer by organizational members.
One of the key features highlighted in behavioral theories of charismatic leadership is that
followers are completely moved by the rhetoric of the leader (Boss, 1976). Communication
strategies often secure the leader’s position as a figure of authority. When charisma is
routinized, it takes on much more authority. Weber notes that the power exerted over followers
in this situation can be defined as “the probability that one actor within a social relationship will
be in a position to carry out his own will despite resistance, regardless of the basis on which this
probability rests” (1968, p. 15). Yet for power to exist it must be recognized and consented to
(Deetz, 1992). Organizational members are thus largely responsible for the ongoing authority
under which they work. They must recognize authority as such and be persuaded to abide by its
rules. Therefore, the office endowed with charisma must be sure to exercise proper decision
making and organizational strategies so as to not upset the recognition and acceptance of its
authority. Thus, the following proposition is advanced:
Proposition 2b:
In order for the charismatic office to survive, organizational
members must recognize that it has authority over them and must
be willing to live under the organizational ideology it proposes.
The implication for the office then is as follows:
Proposition 2c:
The charismatic office must exercise its authority prudently and


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