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From a Behavioral Toward an Interactional Theory of Charisma in Organizations
Unformatted Document Text:  Student Paper Interactional Theory of Charisma 23 judiciously, taking into account the needs of organizational members so as not to deconstruct its own authority. Once charisma is transformed from a behavioral quality of a leader into an office, its perpetuation in the organization becomes an important issue. Weber (1947) recognized that once the “gift” of charisma had been routinized its force wanes. This is a problem for its propagation in organizational settings. One of the key tenets of charisma is that it is a revolutionary force. Leaders must constantly find new opportunities and break new ground in order to remain effective (Zeleznik, 1979). The continued demonstration of an office’s charisma thus involves acts of change and positive revolution that can be recognized by organizational members. This leads to the third proposition: Proposition 3: For charisma to continue to “hold sway” in an organization, followers must continue to perceive that the office is continually providing innovative strategies and positive change. Once a charismatic office is established and recognized by organizational members, it the next concern is that the office will continue to be revered as charismatic. As with any leadership position, there is always the possibility that followers will no longer have a need for it. An important function of organizational leadership is that it continually produces positive outcomes (Perrow, 1986). In other words, leaders must constantly prove their worth in order to remain effective. Charismatic leaders are no different, they must continually prove themselves to their followers in order to remain effective (Weber, 1968, p. 20). Schein (1992) documented this need for constant proof in his examination of organizational leaders and their impact on culture. To remain effective leaders must be able to enter into risky situations and come out on top. As mentioned earlier, followers must be aware that leaders are taking risks, but must also be able to

Authors: Leonardi, Paul.
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Student Paper Interactional Theory of Charisma 23
judiciously, taking into account the needs of organizational
members so as not to deconstruct its own authority.
Once charisma is transformed from a behavioral quality of a leader into an office, its
perpetuation in the organization becomes an important issue. Weber (1947) recognized that once
the “gift” of charisma had been routinized its force wanes. This is a problem for its propagation
in organizational settings. One of the key tenets of charisma is that it is a revolutionary force.
Leaders must constantly find new opportunities and break new ground in order to remain
effective (Zeleznik, 1979). The continued demonstration of an office’s charisma thus involves
acts of change and positive revolution that can be recognized by organizational members. This
leads to the third proposition:
Proposition 3:
For charisma to continue to “hold sway” in an organization,
followers must continue to perceive that the office is continually
providing innovative strategies and positive change.
Once a charismatic office is established and recognized by organizational members, it the
next concern is that the office will continue to be revered as charismatic. As with any leadership
position, there is always the possibility that followers will no longer have a need for it. An
important function of organizational leadership is that it continually produces positive outcomes
(Perrow, 1986). In other words, leaders must constantly prove their worth in order to remain
effective. Charismatic leaders are no different, they must continually prove themselves to their
followers in order to remain effective (Weber, 1968, p. 20). Schein (1992) documented this need
for constant proof in his examination of organizational leaders and their impact on culture. To
remain effective leaders must be able to enter into risky situations and come out on top. As
mentioned earlier, followers must be aware that leaders are taking risks, but must also be able to


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