Love and leadership: Constructing follower narrative identities of charismatic leadership
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Most extant research on charismatic leadership has an essentialist orientation that 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 organisational 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; and 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’.
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