Charismatic Leadership and Workplace Bureaucracy

Charismatic Leadership and Workplace Bureaucracy

Place your order


Charismatic leadership is often perceived as the most effective leadership style in any institution, it involves engaging and stimulating employees in a seductive approach to achieve positive results. Smircich and Morgan (1983) carried out a review of the charismatic leadership approach which is based on creating close interpersonal relationships with employees and the use of feminine traits which emphasize relationship building (cited by Avolio et al., 2013). The author concludes that charismatic leadership aims at balancing creativity and consistency and that each and every employee has the responsibility to improve an organisation’s work environment. On the other hand, bureaucracy is the concentration of administrative power where rules and procedures are precisely defined (Smircich and Morgan, 1993). Workplace bureaucracy leaves a company stagnant and demotivated and as a result, many companies lose great employees and customers (Sørensen, 2007). Some employees do what they feel is best for the company, hence acting secretly and proactively in the interest of positive results, yet their actions lead to problems with the management of the enterprise. Therefore, the ability to reduce workplace bureaucracy depends on the type of leadership and administration in the organisation. This essay seeks to find the answer to the question of whether charismatic leadership can be seen to be in harmony or tension with workplace bureaucracy.

Cultural myths are embedded in the American psyche; it unconsciously structures the most crucial understanding of social relationships, whether between leaders, managers, and employees. Fiske (2010) concludes that myth is “a way of circulating meanings in a society and can thus provide unique insights into the way an institution organizes itself and the ways its members have of making sense of themselves and of their social experience” (p.133).  Like other social myths, charismatic leadership is seldom expressed crudely in its jejune, long form: mobilising a new organisational identity and subsequent institutional utilisation of the revolutionary leader’s power. In Max Weber’s theory of institutional organisation, all authority somehow ‘fallsout’ from charismatic explosions, and Swatos (2014) confirms that “various transformations and optimisations can and will appear” (p.135). Sometimes it also appears in a mundane aspect as a rhetorical strategy, albeit in a modified form, to lend a quality of urgency and idealism to particular issues.

Bureaucratic leaders stick to the rules in seeing to it that employees follow the set-out procedures in getting their jobs done. While this style of leadership would be very suitable for work where serious safety risks are involved (for example, working at heights, or with machinery), it is likely to demoralize staff when applied to other situations as it entails high levels of control and is also highly inflexible (Informa Australia, 2017). This might lessen the organisation’s ability to deal with the changing external situations.

Charisma, however, can take on new mythic ideas as the familiar script is adapted for particular contexts. To justify this study, Hogan and Williams (2015) state that “most studies of charisma retain an emphasis on psychological and sociological concerns…what remains insufficiently explored is the phenomenon that links leaders and followers together: the charismatic message” (p. 2). Charisma demonstrates its usefulness in leadership, management, and popular culture in an organisational environment (Brodwin et al., 2015). The power and ability of charismatic leadership rest solely in the subjective culture and beliefs of trusting followers of charismatic leaders, the impact of a charismatic leader depends on the trust given to them by the members of the organisation.

The primary goal of leadership and management in a team is to secure maximum success for both the employer and the employees. The word “maximum success” has been used to mean more than large dividends for the owner or company, and to develop every branch of the business to its highest state of prosperity so that the success can be permanent (Dunleavy et al., 2016). Maximum success also means the development of each and every employee to be able to perform maximally and perfect their skill so that they may be able to do their job in the highest most efficient way according to their job description. However, throughout the world, in many organisations, employers mostly do not agree with their employees, possibly the bulk on either side do not accept as true that it is possible to build mutual relations and have the same interests.

A majority of scholars believe that the important goals of employers and employees are unavoidably antagonistic. However, the findings of scientific research on management conducted by Louis (2013) showed that charismatic leadership considers the interests of their employees and is based on the belief that the prosperity of the employer cannot exist unless those of the employee accompany it through a long term of years. Louis (2013) emphasized that it is possible to give an employee high salaries and at the same time lower the labour cost for their manufacturers. It is important for every employee to be motivated and involved fully in the organisation by their leaders so that they can perform (at their fastest pace and with maximum efficiency).

Charismatic leadership steers success in society.  According to Spahr 92014), ‘the charismatic leadership style relies on the charm and persuasiveness of the leader’ (n.d.). In this case, charismatic leaders rely on their commitment to and convictions in their cause, as their driving force. The true traits of charismatic leaders often emerge in times of crisis when they manifest extraordinary expertise in and devotion to their fields. Charismatic leaders possess a clear vision of what they would want to achieve, as well as the potential to engage others.

The creativity of every generation helps to develop innovative ways of doing tasks in businesses. Thus, the methods being used in management are different since they change according to time and place. Shapiro (2002) is of the view that there is no single aspect of trade that is characterised by uniformity in the techniques employed. As opposed to relying on a single generally accepted way of doing things, each day, workers experiment with numerous ways of getting each aspect of work done.

A leader with charisma would not hope to get in at full measure the ingenuity of their employees unless they feel that they are giving more than they receive from their employees. It is important for employees and key stakeholders in the organisation to be willing to make a change, they should develop a commitment to the vision (Nahavandi 2016). Charismatic leaders are better innovators than sustains, they tend to inspire creativity in their employees, and hence they can work under minimum supervision yet still produce perfect results. Atik (2015) argues that the disposition of the followers towards their leader is crucial for the success of charismatic leadership. The leader has to have a socialised charisma which is influenced by the need to develop others for the greater good of the organisation. It involves mobilising ideas and visions to manage in new ways and providing empowerment to workers by dealing with the nitty-gritty barriers of change.

The management does all planning but labour is equally subdivided among the employees, and every operative is given tasks based on their past presence in the field. Every employee is also motivated to have the initiative and develop new ways of dealing with issues under minimum supervision from the administration in the organisation (Waldman et al., 2013). The equal distribution of tasks according to one’s past performance under minimum supervision allows the workers a free environment in which they can feel free to create and work with their maximum performance, thereby leading to the prosperity of the organisation.

Bureaucratic leadership involves clearly defined rules and regulations in the organisation; the employees are promoted based on their ability to follow the rules.  This strict culture in an organisation tends to reduce performance and creativity leading to low performance in business (Cooper et al., 2015). Workers avoid working too hard because they know that their performance will not be recognised. Those who work hard are mocked by other employees because they feel that to get a promotion or be identified, it is not a matter of how hard or smart you work, but how good you are at following rules and regulations set in the company.


The success of an organisation mostly depends on the type of leadership available; charismatic leaders create a free climate in the team where there are no strict rules and regulations to be followed by the employees, this allows the workers to work freely hence fostering creativity and high performance in the company. Also, workplace bureaucracy cannot be in harmony with charisma and leadership because the two are based on very different principles of management. Bureaucracy advocates for the strict following of rules and hierarchy set by the administration in a company and employees receive salary increments according to how good they are at conforming to standards, while under charismatic leadership, employees are awarded according to their performance and creativity in the workplace.



Avolio, B.J., and Yammarino, F.J. eds., 2013. Introduction to, and overview of, transformational and charismatic leadership. In Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. 40-57). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Antonakis, J. and House, R.J., 2013. The full-range leadership theory: The way forward. In Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. 3-33)

Atik, M.D., Dopson, S., Fitzgerald, L., Bennett, C., Ferlie, E., Ledger, J. and McGivern, G., 2015. Knowledge Leadership: Mobilizing management research by becoming the knowledge object. Human Relations, 69(7), pp.1563-1585.

Brodwin, P. and Very, L., 2015. The practice of constraint in psychiatry: new forms of care and control.

Cooper, M.J., Sornalingam, S. and O’Donnell, C., 2015. Street-level bureaucracy: an underused theoretical model for general practice?. Br J Gen Pract, 65(636), pp.376-377.

Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Dunleavy, P., 2016. Democracy, bureaucracy and public choice: economic approaches in political science. London: Routledge.

Informa Australia., 2015. Leadership styles: Understanding and using the right one for your situation. [Online].

John, D.P., Butler, J.A., and DeWine, S.A., 2016. Organizational Communication: Foundations, Challenges, and Misunderstandings. New York: Pearson.

Lee, Y.J., and Won, D., 2016. Applying representative bureaucracy theory to academia: Representation of women in faculty and administration and Title IX compliance in Louis, A., 2013. The Art and Science of Leadership -Global Edition. Pearson intercollegiate athletics. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 9(4), p.323.

Louis, A., 2013. The Art and Science of Leadership -Global Edition. New York: Pearson

Nahavandi, A., 2016. The Art and Science of Leadership -Global Edition. New York: Pearson.

Shapiro, 2., 2002. The Evolution of Innovation. [Online].

Smircich, L., & Morgan, G., 1982. Leadership: The Management of Meaning. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 18, 257-273.

Sørensen, J.B., Bureaucracy and Entrepreneurship: Workplace Effects on Entrepreneurial Entry. Administrative Science Quarterly, 52(3), 387-412.

Spahl, P., 2014. What is Charismatic Leadership? Leading Through Personal COnviction. [Online].

Swatos, S. and Berson, Y., 2014. Personality and charismatic leadership in context: The moderating role of situational stress. Personnel Psychology, 68(1), pp.49-77.

Waldman, D.A. and Javidan, M., 2013. Charismatic leadership at the strategic level: Taking a new look at upper echelons theory. In Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. 201-227). Bingley, West Yorkshire, England: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Williams, Hogan, 2015. The Jossey-Bass handbook of nonprofit leadership and management. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Write My Essay Now
$ 0 .00


Be Awesome - Share Awesome