Social Identity and the Romance of Leadership: The Importance of being Seen to be ‘Doing it for Us’

S. Alexander Haslam*, Michael J. Platow, John C. Turner, Katherine J. Reynolds, Craig Mcgarty, Penelope J. Oakes, Susan Johnson, Michelle K. Ryan, Kristine Veenstra

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutput: ArticleAcademicpeer review

98 Citaten (Scopus)


Previous research by Meindl (e.g. 1993) on the ‘romance of leadership’ suggests that individuals in leadership roles are perceived to be more charismatic to the extent that the organization they lead undergoes a crisis turnaround (e.g. moving from loss to profit) rather than a crisis decline (e.g. moving from profit to loss). Building on a social identity approach to leadership and previous research by Haslam and Platow (in press-a), this paper argues that this pattern should be tempered by the degree to which a leader's behavior serves to affirm and promote an ingroup identity shared with followers. Consistent with this analysis, an experimental study (N = 120) revealed that, independent of organizational performance, a (male) leader was seen as more charismatic in an intergroup context when his previous behavior had been identity-affirming or even-handed rather than identity-negating. Even-handed leaders also tended to be seen as particularly charismatic when they were associated with crisis turnaround, while identity-affirming leaders were protected from negative attributions in the context of crisis decline. These results suggest that social identity and self-categorization processes have a complex role to play in the emergence and perception of charismatic leadership.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)191-205
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftGroup Processes & Intergroup Relations
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - jul.-2001
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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