Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

Charismatic Leadership Development: Role of Parental Attachment Style and Parental Psychological Control

Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

Charismatic Leadership Development: Role of Parental Attachment Style and Parental Psychological Control

Article excerpt

Despite the importance of charismatic leadership on individual and organizational outcomes, there has been little research examining the development of charismatic leaders. This study investigated the relationship between parental attachment style, parental psychological control and emergent adults' displays of charismatic leadership. Participants were 81 undergraduate students whose ages ranged from 18-25. They took part in the wilderness survival exercise, a simulation that is effective in measuring leadership effectiveness. Participants completed self-report measures on their parents' attachment style and levels of control. Both parental attachment style and fathers' psychological control were related to emergent adults' displays of charismatic leadership. Keywords are Charismatic, Leadership, Development. Parents, and Attachment.

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Charismatic Leadership Development: Role of Parental Attachment Style

The last twenty years have seen a proliferation of research on charismatic, transformational or visionary leadership, with charisma being the focal and most important construct (House, & Shamir, 1993). Weber (1947) first used the term "charisma" to describe a form of social authority. The original theological meaning is "endowed with the gift of divine grace" (Bass, 1988). Researchers (e.g., Howell, 1988) have distinguished between the dark and positive side of charismatic leadership. Socialized charismatic leader's articulate goals that serve collective interest and appeal to a better future for their followers, govern in an egalitarian manner, and recognize followers' needs in order to help them develop in their own right. In contrast, personalized leaders articulate goals that are ethnocentric and originate from the leader's self-interests, manage in a totalitarian self- manner, and recognize followers' needs as a means of achieving the leader goals and discourage questioning of the leader's decisions. This study focuses on socialized charismatic leadership as opposed to personalized charismatic leadership.

Concern about a failing US economy and a bureaucratic and inadaptable corporate climate led organization researchers in the 1970s and 1980s to rediscover Weber's conceptualization of charismatic leadership. Charismatic leadership was viewed as a positive force to mobilize organizations. Organizations were encouraged to select and promote managers who would transform the organization rather than following traditional tracks (Tichy & Ulrich, 1984). This resurgence of interest in outstanding leadership generated a substantial body of theoretical and empirical investigations including the 1976 theory of charismatic leadership (House, 1977), the attribution theory of charisma (Conger and Kanungo, 1987), and the transformational (Bass, 1985) and visionary theories of leadership (Bennis & Nanus, 1985; Sashkin, 1988). These theories conceptualized charisma as the core or central construct (House & Aditya, 1997). Central to these theories is that charismatic leaders have an emotional impact on their followers through their behavioral tendencies. Primarily, there is interplay between the charismatic leader's behaviors and the needs and values of their followers. House and Shamir (1993) integrated these theories and proposed various dimensions of charismatic leadership behaviors. To summarize, charismatic leaders use visionary language, arouse followers' motives, are excellent role models, project a positive self-image, and empower their followers. The literature on charismatic leadership has yielded evidence that charismatic leaders are more effective than non-charismatic leaders. The majority of studies have demonstrated the positive impact of charismatic leadership on subordinate performance (e.g. Howell & Frost, 1989; Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1996; Howell & Avolio, 1993). Presidents of 27 business firms, who were described as charismatic, had higher financial performance in their firms (Avolio, Yammarino, & Bass, 1991). …

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