Charisma is a trait found in persons whose are characterized by a personal charm and magnetism, along with innate and powerfully sophisticated abilities of interpersonal communication. One who is charismatic is said to be capable of using their personal being to interface with other human beings in a direct manner to effectively communicate.

The term was introduced in scholarly usage by German sociologist Max Weber as charismatic authority. He defined it as one of three forms of authority, the other two being traditional authority and rational authority. According to Weber, charisma is defined as a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which one is set apart from ordinary people and endowed with specifically exceptional powers or qualities.

Charisma almost always evolves in the context of boundaries set by traditional or rational authority, but by its nature tends to challenge this authority and is thus often seen as revolutionary. However, the constant challenge that charismatic authority presents to a particular society will eventually subside as it is incorporated into that society. The way in which this happens is called routinization.

Routinization is the process by which charismatic authority is succeeded by a bureaucracy controlled rationally established authority or by a combination of traditional and bureaucratic authority. For example, Muhammad, who had charismatic authority as The Prophet among his followers, was succeeded by the traditional authority and structure of Islam, a clear example of routinization.

Some leaders may employ various tools to create and extend their charismatic authority by utilizing the science of public relations, for example. As in the example of Christianity, a religion which evolves its own priesthood and establishes a set of laws and rules is likely to lose its charismatic character and move towards another type of authority upon the removal of that leader.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s