Articulation of a vision is commonly held to be a critical component of theories of outstanding leadership – both transformational and charismatic leadership. Although there is reason to suspect that vision contributes to leader performance, less is known about the nature and origin of viable visions. In the present chapter, we argue that leaders’ visions can be viewed as a prescriptive mental model reflecting beliefs about the optimal functioning of an organization. To test this proposition, outstanding leaders possessing two contrasting types of prescriptive mental models were identified: ideologues whose models stress the maintenance of extant standards and charismatics whose models stress adaptive change. These two types of prescriptive mental models were associated with distinct patterns of leader behavior in a sample of notable historic leaders. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to current theories of outstanding leadership.
We would like to thank Shane Connelly, Gina Marie Scott, Blaine Gaddis, Judy Van Doom, and Whitney Helton for their contributions to the present effort. Parts of this work were sponsored by a series of grants from the United States Department of Defense, Michael D. Mumford and Mary Shane Connelly, Principal Investigators.
Mumford, M.D. and Strange, J.M. (2013), "Vision and Mental Models: The Case of Charismatic and Ideological Leadership", Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 125-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-357120130000005013Download as .RIS
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