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Stigma and Charisma and the Narcissistic Personality

Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition

ISBN: 978-1-78190-599-9, eISBN: 978-1-78190-600-2

Publication date: 27 June 2013


In the 1990s, scientists succeeded in demonstrating the highly positive effects of transformational and charismatic leadership on performance effectiveness, based on a large number of empirical findings. Bass (1985) predicted that this type of leadership would be related to “performance beyond expectations”. This has proved to be true to a very large extent. The so-called “new leadership approach “, however, has not yet succeeded in a close analysis of the interaction and influencing processes between charismatic leaders and their followers. This paper provides such an analysis. After pointing out the main problems with prior theoretical work, we offer an alternative model to help explain the emergence of charisma using social-cognitive and psycho-dynamic theories. Basically, we start from the premise that a focal person may be categorized as a charismatic leader on the basis of evaluative borderline attributes assigned to him or her, which are closely related to characteristics stigmatized by society. These attributes are exhibited consciously or unconsciously by the leader, either by means of social dramatization or by means of social reversion. We then propose a model of charismatic leadership relationships, which deal with both intra-personal and inter-personal feedback processes, based on recent theories of narcissistic behavior. Our overall intent is to help explain and clarify the processes between leadership behavior and the attribution of charisma.


Steyrer, J. (2013), "Stigma and Charisma and the Narcissistic Personality", Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 269-292.



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