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Is Leader Charisma Individual-Centered or Relationship-Centered? Empirical Evidence from China

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image of Frontiers of Business Research in China

Despite the multitude of research on charisma of leaders, researchers have failed to reach a consensus on its nature. The main debate is whether charisma resides innately within a leader or it is developed from specific relationships. This paper elucidates this issue using empirical studies from China. Combining qualitative investigations and exploratory factor analysis, we find that leader charisma consists of three dimensions: love towards followers, talents and wisdom of leadership, and public virtue. The three-factor structure of charisma suggests that a leader’s charisma on the surface originates from leader’s personality and behavior but it can actually only be fully understood by integrating the relationship-centered view of charisma.


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