Charismatic authority

Charismatic authority involves a type of organization or a type of leadership in which authority derives from the charisma of the leader. This stands in contrast to two other types of authority: legal authority and traditional authority. Each of the three types forms part of Max Weber's tripartite classification of authority.

"Charisma" is an ancient Greek term that initially gained prominence through Saint Paul's letters to the emerging Christian communities in the first century. In this context, it generally referred to a divinely-originating "gift" that demonstrated the authority of God within the early leaders of the Church. Max Weber took this obscure theological concept and generalized it, viewing it as something that followers attribute, thereby opening it up for use by sociologists who applied it to political, military, celebrity, and non-Christian religious contests. Other terms used are "charismatic domination" and "charismatic leadership".

Weber applies the term charisma to

certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader ... How the quality in question would be ultimately judged from an ethical, aesthetic, or other such point of view is naturally indifferent for the purpose of definition.

Charismatic authority is often the most lasting of regimes because the leader is seen as infallible and any action against him will be seen as a crime against the state. Charismatic leaders eventually develop a cult of personality often not by their own doing.

ower legitimized on the basis of a leader's exceptional personal qualities or the demonstration of extraordinary insight and accomplishment, which inspire loyalty and obedience from followers.

This page was last edited on 4 January 2018, at 00:46.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

Related Topics

Recently Viewed