Charisma as a Follower-Centric, Cognitive-Affective Phenomenon: Inital Qualitative Evidence

Research Cluster

Speaker:Jask Jayakody, University of Colombo
Date: Thursday 8 November 2012
Time: 4.30pm
Location: Seminar room B Xfi Building

Further details

Using two qualitative case studies conducted in Sri Lanka, I illustrate that charisma is in the eyes of followers rather than in traits and behaviors of the leader. Having conceptualized charisma as a cognitive-effective construct embodying extraordinariness, archetypically, group prototypicality, reverence and passion, I demonstrate how followers construct charisma along these dimensions. Finally, I discuss the need of treating charismatic leader as a person-in-context phenomenon, explaining how context and follower attributes influence the construction of charisma. During the presentation, you will hear my interpretative portrayal of what twelve immediate followers of two leaders – a project leader of an ERP project in a multinational company and a CEO who turned around one of the largest telecommunication companies in the country – say about their leaders. Since my intention was to illustrate how my theoretical formulation manifests itself in the case sites, I allowed my disciplinary expectations to guide the fieldwork and the interpretation of followers’ tales of their leaders. Therefore, this is not an attempt at exploring the ‘Sri Lankan version’ of charisma; although I looked into some aspects of Sri Lankan culture in order to comprehend the notion of charisma appearing in the academic discourse