Social Distance and Charisma: Theoretical Notes and an Exploratory Study

Abstract: The article addresses the relationship between social distance and charismatic leadership. Current theories of charismatic leadership in organizations have borrowed ideas from the literature on socially distant charismatic leaders and applied them to leadership situations that involve direct contacts between leaders and their immediate subordinates. This article argues that while social distance is not a necessary condition for charismatic leadership, there are fundamental differences between distant charismatic leadership and close charismatic leadership. The article attempts to identify these differences through a theoretical analysis of the two leadership situations and through an exploratory content analysis of interviews about close and distant charismatic leaders.

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APA-Format Citation

Shamir, B. (1995). Social distance and charisma: Theoretical notes and an exploratory study. The Leadership Quarterly, 6(1), 19-47.