Strategic Charismatic Leadership Communication: Bringing About a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of the Leader's Vision

Strategic Charismatic Leadership Communication: Bringing About a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of the Leader's Vision

Sharon E. Norris (Spring Arbor University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch103


Leaders with the capacity to motivate others to work committedly toward the leader's goals are characterized as charismatic individuals. Charismatic leaders are strategic and persuasive in their communication, and they convey their vision in a manner that inspires others to join their cause and willingly engage in the leader's change efforts. In the rapidly changing organizational environment of the modern day, charismatic leaders not only capture follower attention but also give them confidence that things can change for the better. Strategic charismatic leadership communication holds the potential to turn the leader's vision into a self-fulfilling prophecy. In this chapter, a conceptual framework for the influence of strategic charismatic leadership communication as a self-fulfilling prophecy of the leader's vision is presented with leader distance and proximity, follower self-efficacy, value congruence, and similarity attraction between leader and followers as influential aspects of this important leader-follower relationship.
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Strategic Charismatic Leadership Communication: Bringing About A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy Of The Leader’S Vision

The changing complexities of the world today make leadership and the communication of the strategic vision essential for organizational success. A compelling vision helps strategic leaders renew and redirect the efforts of the firm (Nanus, 1992), especially during times of uncertainty and change. Turning the strategic leader’s vision into a shared vision begins with the message itself. An effective vision creates a mental image of an idealized future (Awamleh & Gardner, 1999), which the strategic leader first constructs and then communicates in order to mobilize followers (Holladay & Coombs, 1993, 1994).

When strategic leaders create and communicate their vision in a way that instills confidence, these raised expectations hold the potential to increase follower performance and improve achievement outcomes (Eden, 1984). When optimistic expectations result in positive behavior, the expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy (Merton, 1948), also known as the Pygmalion effect (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968). A self-fulfilling prophecy or the Pygmalion effect in the workplace has been defined as “an increase in subordinate performance as a result of raised supervisor expectations” (Karakowsky, DeGama, & McBey, 2012, p. 579).

Pygmalion effect research has been conducted in educational (Babad, 1995; Harris & Rosenthal, 1985; Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968; Rosenthal & Rubin, 1978), military (Eden & Shani, 1982), and organizational settings (King, 1971, 1974; Sutton & Woodman, 1989), and the findings of this research explains how the high expectations of a teacher or leader results in higher achievement among students or employees. Over the years, self-fulfilling prophecy research has revealed when a leader has high expectations of followers, employee productivity is high; but, if leader expectations are low, employee productivity is also low (Livingston, 1969). Wong and Hui (2006) explain “the idea is that the way one person treats another can, for better or worse, transform one’s motivation, expectations and confidence” (p. 496). Karakowsky, DeGama, and McBey (2012) state, “the Pygmalion effect has served as a colourful, conceptual reminder of the power of supervisory expectations in enhancing subordinate performance” (p. 579).

Strategic charismatic leadership communication holds the potential to turn the leader’s vision into a self-fulfilling prophecy for the organization, with proximity of the leader, self-efficacy of followers, and value congruence between leader and followers as influential variable. Proximity refers to “conditions that affect vertical and lateral influence by bringing people together or imposing separation” (Cox, Pearce, & Perry, 2003, p. 60). Self-efficacy of followers is the strength of belief that individuals hold regarding potential to perform tasks or achieve goals (Bandura, 1997). Value system congruence is defined by Krishnan (2002) as “the extent of agreement between the leader’s value system and the follower’s value system” (p. 22). The purpose of this chapter is to present a conceptual and theoretical framework for the association between strategic charismatic leadership communication and the self-fulfilling prophecy of the leader’s vision when leader proximity, follower self-efficacy, value congruence, and similarity attraction exist between leader and followers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A process whereby the expectations of a teach or leader influences the performance outcomes of the individual.

Self-Efficacy: A belief in one’s personal capacity to complete a task or accomplish a goal.

Similarity Attraction: The phenomenon that explains how people are drawn toward others similar to themselves.

Visionary Leadership: A process of imagination and invention that evolves and develops into an expression or image that inspires action.

Leader Distance: The legitimate difference between people of unequal status in organizations.

Value Congruence: The congruence of the leader values with follower values.

Charismatic Leadership: A style of leadership that inspires followers through the communication of a compelling vision.

Leader Proximity: Follower perception of closeness to the leader.

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