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Handbook of Research on Crisis Leadership in Organizations

Handbook of Research on Crisis Leadership in Organizations

Elgar original reference

Edited by Andrew J. DuBrin

With contributions from many of the leading researchers in the field, the Handbook of Research on Crisis Leadership in Organizations summarizes much of the theory, research, and opinion about various facets of crisis leadership in order to advance this emerging field. It recognizes that crises have become an almost inevitable part of organizational life, and describes how leaders can facilitate people getting through the crisis.

Chapter 4: Charismatic leadership in crises: its origins and effects on performance

Michael D. Mumford, Paul J. Partlow and Kelsey E. Medeiros

Subjects: business and management, organisational behaviour, politics and public policy, leadership


One of the dominant models of leadership proposed over the years may be found in charismatic theory (Shamir, House, and Arthur, 1993; Yukl, 1999). Charismatic theory, like transformational theory, was intended to account for incidents of exceptional leader performance – incidents of effective performance that could not be accounted for by more traditional constructs such as consideration, initializing structure, participation, and change management (Yukl, 2002). Although many attributes influence people’s perception of charisma, for example attractiveness, communications skills, and prior performance (Rowold and Heintz, 2007), the basis for charismatic leadership has been held to lie in the leader’s formulation and articulation of a viable vision or image of the future (House, 1977; Conger and Kanungo, 1988). Recent work has begun to examine both how people formulate viable visions (Strange and Mumford, 2005) and different styles by which viable visions might be formulated (Hunter, Cushenbery, Thorough good, Johnson, and Ligon, 2011). These styles of vision formation are commonly described (Mumford, 2006) as charismatic (future orientation), ideological (past oriented) and pragmatic (present oriented).Not only do multiple styles of charismatic, or outstanding, leadership appear to exist, it is also clear that when people are confronted with crises they seek out charismatic, ideological, or pragmatic visions (Hunt, Boal, and Dodge, 1999).

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