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Charisma (from Greek kharisma, 'gift' or 'divine favour') is a special personal quality or power of an individual making him capable of influencing or inspiring large numbers of people. Max Weber (1922/1978: 242) who introduced the word into scholarly usage defined charisma as

a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which s/he is "set apart" from ordinary people and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as divine in origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader.

Weber defined charismatic authority to be one of three forms of authority, the other two being traditional (feudal) authority and legal or rational (bureaucratic) authority. Charisma is therefore unusual (by contrast of everyday situations), spontaneous (by contrast with established social forms), and creative of new movements and new structures (it disrupts tradition). Charisma appeals to emotions rather than reason and includes an element of irrationality. Charisma provides the foundation of exceptional influence in both intimate interpersonal contacts and before immense crowds of people. Charismatic phenomena are unstable because of the change in the leader's vision and transient because the leader's mortality. The transformation of charisma into other types of authority Weber called 'routinization of charisma.'

Richard Wiseman (2007) suggested that charismatic leaders possess the ability to feel strong emotions strongly, to induce the similar emotions in others, and to resist the influence of other charismatic people. Emotionality is what unites charisma and art. As Simonton (1984: 113) puts it, "Aesthetic judgements and charisma have in common an intense subjectivity; both depend upon the ability of genius to appeal directly to emotions."

Charisma. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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