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Limits of Charisma

Nancy C. Roberts

Raymond Trevor Bradley

This chapter describes a longitudinal study of a charismatic leader. The study used a theoretical framework (Bradley, 1987) that distinguishes three levels of charisma: charisma as a social category, charisma as a social relationship, and charisma as a social structure. In our in-depth study of a school district superintendent, we observed the manifestation of charisma at each of these three levels. Interestingly, when the superintendent was later appointed a state commissioner of education, no evidence of charisma was to be found. From a comparative analysis, we discovered that the requisite elements for charisma at all three levels were absent in the second setting. By specifying ...

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