When leaders victimize: The role of charismatic leaders in facilitating group pressures

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When leaders victimize: The role of charismatic leaders in facilitating group pressures
The Leadership Quarterly

We present a conceptual model exploring the process by which employees seek out and process information from their social context in response to victimizing behaviors from their leader. In particular we explore how charismatic leaders with personalized values can facilitate group processeswhereby groupmembers pressure the target into conforming. Followers of charismatic leaders have been found to ingratiate themselves with and revere their leader. This creates the potential for followers to prematurely comply with destructive behaviors from their leader. Research on social influence is drawn upon to theorize how targets who experience confusion about victimizing behaviors can become particularly susceptible to group pressures to conform. Through our theoretical model we advance theory on the potential dark side of charismatic leadership specifically how personalized charismatic leaders may trigger negative consequences for the target group and organization. We conclude with theoretical and practical implications and propose avenues for future research.

Citation: 
The Leadership Quarterly 24 (2013) 189 – 202

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