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Charismatic Leadership in Context: Awe-Inducing Environments Influence Leader Perceptions

Charismatic Leadership in Context: Awe-Inducing Environments Influence Leader Perceptions
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  Running head:  CHARISMATIC  LEADERSHIP IN CONTEXT Charismatic Leadership in Context: Awe -Inducing  Environments Influence  Leader Perceptions M.Sc. Work and Organizational Psychology Maastricht University 16141797  —  Leonie Hentrup August 2017 First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jochen Menges WHU  Otto Beisheim School  of Management Second Supervisor: Dr.  jir Uitdewilligen Maastricht University  CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP  IN  CONTEXT Abstract Research  on charismatic  leadership has thus  far largely overlooked contextual  actors that  interact with charisma. Context, however,  s a necessary element  of ny holistic leadership theory and central to the practical field  as managers and CEOs  lways act  in physical, organizational,  social, and situational  environments.  The  current research  aims  o provide  a rst step towards understanding  contextual  actors in charismatic  leadership.  Three studies —  a  vignette, a icture  and a video study —were onducted  to investigate the effect of environmental awe  on the extent to  which leaders  appear  charismatic to  their followers. The first study demonstrated that environmental awe ncreased perceived leader charisma  for leaders naturally low  but not high  in charisma.  In the second study, his effect  held  for both leaders low  and high in natural charisma,  but was  smaller for the  latter group. The effect extended to perceived leader effectiveness as one exemplary consequence of  eader charisma, but not to the  unrelated construct of eader morality. Unexpectedly, he third study showed an effect of  awe n the  opposite  direction, i.e. low and not high environmental awe ncreased charisma  perceptions. Finally, results showed that this effect was mediated by positive affect. The  mplications  of ur esults and  the conflicting findings  of he third study are discussed from a methodological,  heoretical, and practical  perspective.  CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP IN  CONTEXT 2 Charismatic  Leadership  in Context Charisma is an  important characteristic attributed to many  uccessful leaders. Leadership theories suggest hat charismatic leaders have the  power to transform followers' needs,  values,  references, and aspirations House Howell, 992). Both field and laboratory studies have shown  hat leader  charisma predicts leader effectiveness (Lowe, Kroeck, ivasubramaniam, 1996), and charismatic leaders, compared to non -charismatic leaders, significantly increase followers' commitment,  atisfaction, motivation, performance, trust in the leader,  effort, and organizational citizenship behavior (Waldman ammarino, 1999).  Thus, eader charisma  is a central component of  trategic and successful leadership (Bass togdill, 1990; Hunt, 1991; Pawar Eastman, 997) nd an  understanding of he factors that increase how charismatic leaders are perceived  is of ey importance for today's managers and CEOs. Though charisma has  long been  of reat interest to researchers  from differentdisciplines and has  played a central role in theories of eadership, pertinent research has thus far mostly been limited  to the effects of  harismatic leadership. At east partially, this is due to the fact that most  efinitions of harismatic leadership explain the concept by ts consequences Antonakis, Bastardoz, Jacquart, Shamir, 016). The  presupposed  effects included in extant definitions are then tested in empirical studies. The  majority  of hese studies looked at  positive outcomes, uch as increased motivation of ollowers, rust in leaders beliefs, identification  with the leader, emotional involvement with the mission and increased self-efficacy e.g. Etzioni, 1975; House,  1976; Shamir, House, Arthur, 993); only some consider negative  outcomes such as unquestioned leader obedience and heacceptance of he leader, or the  suppression  of motions e.g. House,  1976; Menges, ilduff, Kern, ruch, 015). The  effects of harismatic  leadership are thus well-known.  CHARISMATIC LEADERSHI P   IN CONTEXT In  contrast,  the context hat charismatic leadership  is  embedded in has  thus far  mostly been overlooked Shamir &Howell,  999).  Very  few  situational contextual  variables havebeen  investigated,  including the occurrence  of crisis,  and  attributional ambiguity.  Some theoretical  explorations have also  considered the effect of  ther contextual variables (Shamir   owell,  1999),  however,  no  empirical research has been conducted  to  support  theseclaims.  Contextual  nvestigations  are thus very  limited.  To our knowledge,  no  research  has yet  looked  at basic contextual  variables  present in all leadership  situations,  such  as  thephysical office environment  hat  charismatic leaders act in. The entral  importance of  ontextual factors for an understanding  of  eadership and its  consequences  in  general  has  recently received increased attention in the  literature  (e.g. Dinh et al. 2014;  orter  &McLaughlin, 006).  Taking away  context from  considerations and investigations of  eadership  also takes  away any  ink  to the practical field  where context cannot be  removed. As  orter and McLaughlin 2006)  hrase  t leadership  in organizations does not take  place in a  vacuum p.559).  Like any kind  of  eadership,  charismatic  leadership thus  takes place in a  context,  and therefore  needs  to be  understood  in its interacting effects with environmental  variables.  While a  solely leader -focused perspective  on  charisma  may st ll be  heoretically interesting  and  help explain the  `pure' onstruct, it will always be incomplete and miss  important  heoretical aspects  explaining  the interaction  of harisma and other  variables.  Such  explanations,  however,  re  necessary  to increase  an  understanding  of the effects of harismatic leadership  as  we ind them  in  organizations. On  a practical level, considerations  of ontext are necessary to  be  able  to  draw  any conclusions from experimental research  and  develop concrete  practical guidelines for todays' eaders.  The context  leaders find  themselves  in,  can  broadly  be  divided into the physical  context the  office environment),the  work  context e.g. task  variety, esponsibility), the organizational  context  e.g.
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