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Charismatic and Transformational Approaches Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jan 17th, 2022

In the article, “Leadership Theories: Charismatic and Transformational Approaches,” Van Wart (2005) tried to explore the different leadership theories and how they function. Van Wart (2005) described leadership approaches such as transactional leadership and contrasted it with transformational leadership. However, the core of the discussion was the charismatic and transformational approaches. Charismatic leadership is characterized by a strong conviction of the leaders of their ideals and beliefs. The leadership is marked by the strong desire to inspire followers and appeal to them to change the status quo. This is achieved by the creation of a vision that relates to the needs of the followers. The leadership approach centers primarily on personality. On the other hand, transformational leadership entails a participatory approach in which the leader works within a group to identify and execute the expected change. However, just like in the charismatic approach, the leader inspires the followers and guides them through creating a vision and goals they are supposed to acquire. In such a case, the power is distributed to all members as they can make decisions which relate to the leadership.

In order to enhance understanding of the charismatic and transformational approaches, Van Wart (2005) grouped them together and used perspectives of different theorists to establish points of convergence and divergence. This was well established by examining what scholars have developed concerning the theories. For example, Van Wart (2005) examined Conger and Kanungo charismatic theories through which he established the causal chain model which is implicit in the leadership approach. Concerning transformational leadership, Tichy and Devanna theory of transformational leadership was analyzed which created a better perspective of leadership and how it compares to charismatic leadership. Further, Van Wart (2005) discussed ideal practices of leadership as theorized by Kouzes and Posner. Therefore, by aligning the discussion to the varying perspectives of the theorists, Van Wart (2005) concisely created a pool of knowledge which is imperative in establishing how performance is achieved in the two leadership approaches.

The piece provided an objective analysis that led to better knowledge about the two leadership approaches. For example, concerning charismatic leadership, it added knowledge about the confines of good and bad leadership. Further, it exemplified that there is extreme charisma characterized by strong referent power, personal dominance, and unconventional behavior (Van Wart, 2005). This forms the basis in which parallels have been drawn between charismatic leadership and dictatorial tendencies, which is unlike transformational leadership that emphasizes on changing the environment rather than the personality traits. Despite the similarity in which there is the need to create a new vision which acts as the basis of performance in the two approaches, the piece has added knowledge on how the leadership approaches can be applied in different scenarios based on the different causal chain models.

Different variables such as leadership behaviors, intervention, performance, and moderation were used as the basis for describing and analyzing the approaches. The variables act as the key dimensions that define how power is distributed in the approaches. As a result, Van Wart (2005) provides a compelling analysis of the leadership theories and hence fosters a better understanding of leadership and authority. The knowledge provided can be applied in framing studies that examine leadership dynamics especially in the public sector where in most cases leadership is aligned to maintaining status quo.


Van Wart, M. (2005). Leadership Theories: Charismatic and Transformational Approaches. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.

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1. IvyPanda. "Charismatic and Transformational Approaches." January 17, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charismatic-and-transformational-approaches/.


IvyPanda. "Charismatic and Transformational Approaches." January 17, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charismatic-and-transformational-approaches/.


IvyPanda. 2022. "Charismatic and Transformational Approaches." January 17, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charismatic-and-transformational-approaches/.


IvyPanda. (2022) 'Charismatic and Transformational Approaches'. 17 January.

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