Sunday, October 30, 2011

Charismatic Leadership in the Public Sector

Javidan and Waldman (2003) looked at the impact of charismatic leadership in the public sector. They found that leaders who are risk takers in pursuit of their visions instill higher esteem in subordinates. Also leaders who encouraged independent thinking and provided constructive feedback tended to build the esteem of subordinates. Charismatic leadership was perceived within the public sector, but it may not produce the same performance or motivational results typically associated in the private sector. Although there are degrees of uncertainty, crisis, and turbulence within the public sector, conditions in which charisma leaders tend to flourish, these factors do not appear to affect employees the same in the public sector as their private sector counterparts. A possible reason could be the merit system that many public jobs are based, protects workers from being dismissed without cause. Javidan and Waldman ruled that more research was needed in determining the impact of charismatic leadership in the public sector. However, these authors did note that environmental uncertainty manifested itself in the way of political changes, budget cuts, natural disasters, etc… They could not conclusively determine these factors on charismatic leaders’ effectiveness in the public sector.


Javidan, M. and Waldman, D.A. (2003 Mar./Apr.). Exploring charismatic leadership in the public sector: Measurement and consequences. Public Administration Review, 63(2), 229-242.

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