Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



In everyday parlance, charisma is often used as a colorful synonym for sex appeal or popularity. It is also invoked to explain how certain types of people become leaders. Yet, the reverse is more likely to be true: very few national political leaders selected by established party and electoral processes are charismatic. Charisma comes from the Greek kahrisma: gift of grace, the partaking of the divine. Weber emphasizes that charisma refers to "an extraordinary quality of a person, ... to which the governed submit because of their belief " (Gerth and Mills 1946, 52 and 295.)
The vertical axis places charisma between the group which acknowledges the sign of grace and the leadership role to which the chosen or self-selected person is anointed. The horizontal axis traces the development from the originating crisis - the "charismatic moment" - toward its likely output: institutionalization.
The lower left quadrant (LLQ) covers the moment thought by followers to be the extraordinary birth. The primordial charismatic character often has a religious origin and is recognized according to how he or she appears to possess supernatural qualities and style befitting "an envoy of God, a hero - a mighty warrior" (Boudon and Borricaud 1989, 69). The upper left quadrant (ULQ) depicts charisma in movement, arising out of crises that so often beset communities. Crisis produces a quest for a return to the foundations of the community. And when action and conflict are required, people become followers, having put their trust in a figure known for effectiveness, heroism, sacrifice, prophecy, or prayer. In the upper right quadrant (URQ), the community is on a more rational footing, emerging as an institution whose need for leadership must be more in keeping with established rules and practices that actually define an institution and are in the process rationalized by supporting beliefs - i.e., the function of ideology. It is this quadrant that best applies to one of Weber's most luminous discoveries, the "routinization of charisma." The lower right quadrant (LRQ) is a still more formalized version of routinization, in which rationalization is crafted directly in terms of a monocratic authority. Charisma is here instrumental to the founding of a new political order, be it the early monarchies of the thaumaturgic kings healing their followers or the authoritarian regimes of revolutionary leaders.