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Charismatic leadership, manipulation and the complexity of organizational life

Iiris Aaltio‐Marjosola (Iiris Aaltio‐Marjosola is at the Lappeenranta University of Technology, Department of Management, Lappeenranta, Finland.)
Tuomo Takala (Tuomo Takala is at the Jyväskylä University, Department of Economics, Jyväskylä, Finland.)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 1 June 2000



Charismatic leadership can be defined by the features of the leaders, but also by the multiple‐level interaction processes that take place between the leaders and the led. As we approach the phenomenon, it is easy to see that in earlier research charismatic leadership is faced with many kinds of criticism. As seen, its consequences may be dangerous for organizations which may be led for “shared madness”. The undesirable consequences at the societal level include totalitarian aspects as well as truth manipulation practised by charismatic leaders. At the same time, charismatic leadership can be regarded as part of transformational leadership, where vision, intrapreneurship and emotions play a vital role. In this paper we explore charismatic leadership and followership taking a case from ice hockey coaching as an example. We suggest that ethics usually takes a guardian’s role in evaluating the outcome of charismatic leadership processes, that emotionality plays a vital role both in charismatic leadership and followership, and that charismatic leadership needs to be understood in the contexts that may culturally trigger it.



Aaltio‐Marjosola, I. and Takala, T. (2000), "Charismatic leadership, manipulation and the complexity of organizational life", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 146-158.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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