Handbook on Responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business
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Handbook on Responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business

Edited by Jonathan P. Doh and Stephen A. Stumpf

Ethics, social responsibility, leadership, governance. These terms are heard in the classroom, in the boardroom, and viewed on the front page of newspapers and magazines. Yet serious attention to the relationships among these concepts is lacking. Although commitments to leadership, ethics, and social responsibility are evident, individuals and companies are falling short in combining these duties into policies and cultures that guide behavior and decisions. The missing element is a broad-based and integrated approach to responsible leadership and governance. This volume provides the leading thinking on these issues and includes a discussion of emerging areas that require future attention.
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Chapter 7: Leadership and the Social Construction of Charisma

Rakesh Khurana


1 Rakesh Khurana The first hurdle for myself is the laugh test: if we actually named this guy and told the employees and shareholders that he was the new boss, what would they think? Then there is the tendency to find people who look like the job. You start by whacking down the job to a set of alternatives. So you consider things like performance, the company, the company they are coming from, who they have worked with. From there you start to find people who look like the position. (William Pounds, former dean, MIT Sloan School of Management, and corporate director) Introduction Charismatic leadership is back, and this is something that should surprise us. It is probably not surprising that, in the realm of religion, a figure such as John Paul II should have emerged to lead the world’s Catholics following years of tumult in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church; or that, among the dispossessed and disenfranchised of the Islamic world, we should have seen the rise of a charismatic such as Osama bin Laden. After all, as our foremost student of charismatic leadership, Max Weber, would remind us, charisma itself is a phenomenon associated with religion generally, and with politics in societies not yet governed by the rationalizing forces of capitalism and liberal democracy. Yet the resurfacing of charismatic leadership in American politics (with Ronald Reagan as the prime exemplar) and business (in the person of the charismatic CEO) in the last two decades presents a more puzzling...

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