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Social Distance and Charisma: Theoretical Notes and an Exploratory Study

Leadership Now: Reflections on the Legacy of Boas Shamir

ISBN: 978-1-78743-201-7, eISBN: 978-1-78743-200-0

ISSN: 1479-3571

Publication date: 5 October 2018

Abstract

The article addresses the relationship between social distance and charismatic leadership. Current theories of charismatic leadership in organizations have borrowed ideas from the literature on socially distant charismatic leaders and applied them to leadership situations that involve direct contacts between leaders and their immediate subordinates. This article argues that while social distance is not a necessary condition for charismatic leadership, there are fundamental differences between distant charismatic leadership and close charismatic leadership. The article attempts to identify these differences through a theoretical analysis of the two leadership situations and through an exploratory content analysis of interviews about close and distant charismatic leaders.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

The assistance of Naama Goldberg and Smadar Yadgar in this study is gratefully acknowledged. The author also thanks Bruce Avolio, Robert House, and Francis Yammarino for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

Citation

Shamir, B. (2018), "Social Distance and Charisma: Theoretical Notes and an Exploratory Study", Katz, I., Eilam-Shamir, G., Kark, R. and Berson, Y. (Ed.) Leadership Now: Reflections on the Legacy of Boas Shamir (Monographs in Leadership and Management, Vol. 9), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 225-254. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-357120180000009021

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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