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The Charismatic Leader: Behind the Mystique of Exceptional Leadership by Rabindra N. Kanungo, Jay A. Conger

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8

Origins of Charisma: Ties That Bind the Leader and the Led

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries

The concept of charisma not only has fascinated sociologists, political scientists, historians, psychologists, and organizational theorists, but it has also captured the imagination of the popular press. It has become a household word. Yet, notwithstanding the existence of a literature on the topic, remarkably little insight has been shed on the psychological origins of charisma. The question of what psychological forces make for the mysterious, almost mystical, bind between leader and led has been largely left unanswered.

Etymologically, charisma means a gift of grace, being favored by the gods. Church historian Rudolf Sohm (1892) used this term for the ...

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