Should the strength of this belief fade, the power of the charismatic leader may also fade, which is one of the ways in which this form of authority shows itself to be unstable. In contrast to the popular use of the term, "charismatic leader," German sociologist Max Weber saw charismatic authority not so much attributed to the character traits of the charismatic leader but as developing out of a relationship between the leader and followers. Weber believed the validity of charisma to be founded on its recognition by certain followers.
He believed this recognition to be based not on the grounds of legitimacy, but on a sense of duty belonging to certain followers who believe they are especially chosen to recognize and confirm the exceptional qualities of their leader. According to Weber, a charismatic leader is not solely of a positive force. Many sociologists argue that both Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler could exemplify the characteristics of charismatic leaders. Furthermore, society often remains neutral towards both positive and negative forms of charismatic domination.
Bourdieu argued that charisma usually depends on an "inaugural act," such as a decisive battle or moving speech after which the person will be regarded as a charismatic leader.
Charismatic authority almost always evolves in the context of traditional authority which provides comparative forms and boundaries. However, by its nature, charismatic authority tends to challenge conventionally accepted forms of authority and is therefore often considered revolutionary. This constant challenge that charismatic authority presents to older forms of authority must eventually subside or be incorporated into a society through the process of routinization.
Routinization is the process by which charismatic authority is replaced by a rationally established authority.
The Psychology of Human Leadership: How To Develop Charisma and Authority
Such routinization can be seen in the example of the prophet Muhammad , who maintained charismatic authority among his followers, although he was eventually succeeded by the traditional authority and structure of Islam. Politically, charismatic rule can be found in various authoritarian states, autocracies, dictatorships, and theocracies. In many circumstances when the leader of such a state dies or leaves office and a new charismatic leader does not appear, such a regime is more likely to fall.
As in the example of Islam, a religion which evolves its own priesthood and establishes a set of laws and rules is most likely to lose its charismatic character and eventually move toward a second type of authority upon the removal of that leader.
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The study of charismatic leadership has been undertaken by many professional scholars throughout history. In particular, the relationship between charismatic leadership and the onset of new religious movements has been closely monitored by scholars of a sociological , psychological , and religious background. Some historical patterns have emerged. According to psychologist Richard Wiseman,  a charismatic person has three attributes:. In regards to religious charisma, George D. Chryssides has asserted that not all new religious movements have charismatic leaders, and that there are differences in the hegemonic styles among those movements that do.
However Eileen Barker has claimed that in many new religious movements there is often employed a founder or leader who wields charismatic authority and is believed to have some special powers or knowledge. Barker asserts that almost by definition, charismatic leaders are unpredictable, for they are not bound to tradition or rules. In many circumstances, Barker asserts a warning when a leader who lacks accountability requires from their following an unquestioned obedience, and subsequently encourages a growing dependency upon the movement for all material, spiritual, and social resources.
Australian psychologist Len Oakes, who authored a dissertation regarding prophetic charisma, invited eleven charismatic leaders to complete a psychometric test, which he labeled the "adjective checklist. The following is a small sample of people whose leadership has been characterized, according to listed sources, as based on charismatic authority according to the sociological concept defined by Max Weber as "resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him.
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Who was Alexander the Great? Department of International Relations. The American University of Rome. Rome, Italy. Retrieved 17 April Secrets of Leadership: Hitler and Churchill. BBC News. Ghandi: The Traditional Roots of Charisma.
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Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information Grounded in philosophy and psychology, this book goes beyond standard recipes and models to examine such leadership qualities as charisma, the ability to motivate others and assertiveness, showing how to overcome crises and conflicts to create new structures.
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