The essay "Is Charisma a Personal Quality or a Trait?" examines the concepts of charisma as a trait and a personal quality. Charisma has been studied and theorized in various ways by different sociologists, psychologists, and management specialists.
The concept of charisma as a trait has been elaborately explained in Weber’s work related to leadership in the civil society. Originally, Weber referred to charisma as an inherent quality of an individual, which makes that individual very different from the ordinary men and gets treated as someone specially awarded with paranormal, heroic and exceptional qualities. Later, he narrowed this definition to include specific personal qualities that distinguish the individual from other people.
Based on Weber’s generalization and pontification of charisma, Shils defined charisma as, “the quality which is imputed to persons, actions, roles, institutions, symbols and material objects because of their presumed connection with ‘ultimate,’ fundamental,’ ‘vital,’ order-determining powers”. Weber refers to charisma as one of three bases of legitimate authority in the institutional setup. While Weber’s original concept of charisma emphasizes on charisma as a personal quality. Weber’s philosophy bases the evolution of all social organizations on charismatic qualities of few individuals. Klein and House define charisma as “a fire that ignites followers’ energy and commitment, producing results above and beyond the call of duty”.
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