گاندی "کاریزماتیک" بود؟ بررسی رهبری بلاغی مهاتما گاندی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3355||2010||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 21, Issue 5, October 2010, Pages 844–855
This study explores a deceptively simple question: was Gandhi a “charismatic” leader? We compare Gandhi's rhetorical leadership to social movement leaders and charismatic U.S. presidents to examine whether any consistencies in charismatic rhetoric emerge across historical and cultural contexts. Our findings indicate that charismatic themes of articulating the intolerable nature of the present and appealing to values and moral justifications emerged in similar levels across all three samples. In addition, Gandhi's speeches contained comparable levels of language that emphasized his similarity to followers, followers’ worth, links between the past and future, and abstract, intangible themes as compared to other leaders. In contrast, themes of collective focus and active, aggressive speech varied significantly across the three samples. Recognizing that content analysis should be utilized with caution across cultural settings, we suggest a number of possible explanations for Gandhi's pervasive appeal and implications for future research into the universality of visionary rhetoric.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our initial question regarding whether Gandhi was a charismatic leader precipitated the following three discussions: 1) how do we define “charisma”; 2) to what extent are charismatic leadership themes cross-cultural; and 3) is it possible to define and distill aspects of charismatic rhetoric that are independent of the historical and cultural context? After reviewing the literature, we concluded that while Gandhi does not seem fit the prototype for charismatic magnetism from a neocharismatic tradition, he more closely matches the criteria for charismatic leadership in the Weberian tradition. We further suggested that visionary rhetoric may be a common theme underlying the pervasive appeal of charismatic leaders across contexts, and that an exploratory study of Gandhi in comparison to a variety of social movement leaders and charismatic presidents might provide some preliminary evidence regarding the cross-cultural nature of charismatic rhetoric. Our results suggest that there are a number of consistencies in charismatic themes cross-culturally. Below, we highlight some of the interesting findings that emerged, focusing specifically on cultural similarities and differences, methodological issues, and limitations of our approach that suggest important directions for future research. 5.1. Universal rhetoric Gandhi often spoke of what he saw as the intolerable repression of British rule. As represented in the consistent levels of adversity across all three samples, our results supported the assertion that a leader's ability to articulate the intolerable nature of the present may be an important component of charismatic rhetoric across cultural and historical contexts. In addition, appealing to broader values and moral justification for the leader's cause is another consistent finding. While future research will enhance our confidence in these results, articulating the intolerable nature of the present and the importance of the leader's cause in furthering universal virtues such as truth, justice, and equality are likely critical elements of visionary rhetoric across cultural and historical contexts. Interestingly, Gandhi's rhetoric also did not differ significantly on the construct of temporal orientation from the comparative sample of charismatic U.S. presidents, and utilized slightly more references to time period than the social movement leaders, despite cultural differences in the long-term orientation of these cultures. According to Hofstede, 2003 and House, 2004, India has a high long-term orientation ranking, suggesting that Indians are likely to believe in many truths, have a longer-term orientation toward goals, value long-standing commitments, respect tradition, and demonstrate loyalty to family and community. However, the skillful use of temporal orientation in charismatic rhetoric is argued to involve establishing links between past and present, in which charismatic leaders focus on grounding their struggle in the past, while simultaneously outlining a long-term, future-oriented vision of a better world. Thus, establishing a temporal link between past and present may be an important theme for visionary leaders across cultural contexts, regardless of culture-specific norms concerning time orientation. Gandhi's use of less tangible rhetoric was also in line with the two Western samples. In comparison to U.S. presidents, Gandhi's rhetoric did not significantly differ; when compared to social movement speeches, Gandhi used significantly less tangible language. This result may reflect Gandhi's focus on broader perspectives and life views, which charismatic leaders across contexts may share. The more frequent use of tangibility in the social movement leaders may indicate that they often address a more limited audience concerning shorter-term goals, and may focus more attention on pragmatic steps necessary to establish change (Mumford, 2006). Gandhi did praise his followers significantly less than did the comparison sample of U.S. presidents, but his rhetoric was in line with that of the social movement leaders, indicating that this is an area of some focus across all three samples. U.S. presidents, however, are the only leaders in our study elected into office, and as a result may more frequently praise followers to thank them for past support and to engender future votes. In contrast, neither Gandhi nor the sample of social movement leaders were forced to rely on election results to further their cause. Our results also suggest that emphasizing a leader's similarity to followers is a prevalent theme across contexts. Similar to findings reflecting support for followers’ worth, Gandhi scored only somewhat lower than U.S. presidents (approximately ten words per speech segment) but did not significantly differ from social movement leaders. Overall, our results provide some evidence that leaders who emphasize their commonalities with their followers are more effective at communicating the importance of their cause and are more likely to be perceived as charismatic. Together, these findings regarding the higher emphasis on leader similarity to and support for followers in the U.S. presidents raise an enduring yet critical question: Do effective leaders embody the values of their followers or do they change the values of their followers through their speeches? And in situations where leaders are elected, what price do leaders have to pay in popular support and potentially alienating voters for articulating messages that are too ‘radical’ or ‘out of touch’ with followers’ beliefs? 5.2. Cultural influences Overall, we also found some mixed results for Gandhi's charismatic rhetoric when compared to social movement leaders and charismatic presidents. Perhaps most intriguing, Gandhi's speeches were characterized by significantly higher levels of self-referential language (I, myself) and fewer collective terms (us, we) than both comparison samples. This result is particularly surprising given the high focus on collectivism in the Indian culture overall. In light of this, we might have expected Gandhi's rhetoric would have more collective focus when compared to leaders in more individualistic Western cultures. In interpreting these results, we note that Gandhi's use of self-referential language may in part be reflective of his unique cultural and religious perspective. While Indian culture is more collectivist than the U.S. and Europe, Gandhi received a British education, which may play a part in interpreting his individualistic communication style. In addition, India's roots in the Hindu religion place a strong emphasis on individual rather than collective paths to enlightenment. Gandhi believed that spiritual quests take a variety of forms, and therefore differ among individuals. As a result, his speeches highlight his individual quest for “truth” as an illustrative example, rather than emphasizing a common or collective path for his constituents to follow. In Gandhi's words, “I have known only one way of carrying on missionary work, by personal example” (Gandhi, 1957, p. 267). Alternately, in more collectivist societies, perhaps a leader that uses more self-referential language stands out from the norm, and is perceived as defying convention and challenging the status quo (see Conger & Kanungo, 1988). Further research should examine this proposition in a wider sample of leaders in both individualistic and collectivistic cultures, as well as distinguishing between in-group and institutional collectivism in future studies (see House, 2004). Perhaps less surprising, our results indicate that Gandhi used fewer active and aggressive terms than either of the comparison groups. These results are consistent with his strong religious and moral stance against violence even in the face of intense adversity. Many of Gandhi's followers embraced “ahimsa,” or nonviolence. To quote Gandhi (1957), “If India can discover a way of sublimating the force of violence...and turning it into constructive, peaceful ways whereby differences of interests can be liquidated, it will be a great day indeed.” Cultural expectations may lead to a greater degree of variation in this construct, and the appeal of active and aggressive rhetoric may be situationally determined, or founded in a primarily Western conceptualization of the more ‘dominant and all-powerful’ charismatic leader. 5.3. Methodological issues It is important to note that the measures utilized in this study represent only an initial attempt to uncover consistencies in charismatic rhetoric across cultural and historical contexts. While content analysis has been criticized for divorcing words from their context, this limitation can be advantageous when attempting to identify consistent themes in leaders’ rhetoric across different contexts (see Morris, 1994 for a review). However, we recognize that content analysis should be utilized with caution. For example, the dictionary of values and moral justifications in Diction is rooted in Judeo-Christian traditions, and includes terms such as “sermon” and “church” (Hart, 2000). While Gandhi's religious beliefs derived from the study of many religions, they are primarily Hindu in origin (Gandhi, 1957). These uniquely Hindu influences may not all have been teased out of Gandhi's communications using this dictionary, highlighting that content analysis necessitates careful a priori attention to cross-cultural “translation” to ensure that important constructs are accurately represented. The process is analogous to the translation and back-translation processes necessary for cross-cultural surveys, and is an important consideration for future research utilizing content analysis. In addition, this limitation can also be greatly mitigated by translating cultural terms in the data cleaning process (e.g., substituting “truth” for “Satya”), and throughout the analysis process, as historical or cultural terms that are not recognized (e.g., “ashram” or “satyagraha”) are highlighted by the program and can be subsequently explored through key-word-in-context (KWIC) analysis. It is also important to note that Diction does not take into account cross-cultural (e.g., British English vs. American English) or cross-historical linguistic differences (e.g., old English). We corrected for this in the data cleaning process (e.g., substituting “organization” for “organisation”) to help control for this problem. As a result, we were able to partially mitigate the impact of cultural and historical biases, and our results suggest that overarching themes such as morality and truth in leaders’ rhetoric are important cross-culturally regardless of their culturally contingent expressions (see Den Hartog et al., 1999). Another important limitation is the use of a single non-Western leader for comparative analysis. Future research should examine our constructs and conclusions, perhaps incorporating more diverse sources for the speeches (e.g., videos, newsreels, documentaries) and leaders from other cultures (e.g., China's Chairman Mao Zedong, Cuba's Fidel Castro) to examine additional historical and cultural contexts. This study represents only a first step in examining the extent to which current definitions of charisma are grounded in Western values and assumptions, and the inclusion of a greater variety of cross-cultural leaders in future research will continue to expand our understanding of different types of charismatic leadership. 5.4. Charismatic influence So, given these findings, was Gandhi a charismatic leader? And if so, how was Gandhi's charismatic influence so effectively transmitted to his followers? Our results suggest that Gandhi's public speeches across his lifetime emphasized the intolerable nature of British rule in India and appealed to shared religious and patriotic values in communicating the importance of his vision. In addition, his visionary rhetoric shares a number of similarities with the speeches of social movement leaders and charismatic U.S. presidents, supporting the cross-cultural generality of these themes. According to most historical accounts (e.g., Rudolph & Rudolph, 1983), Gandhi was far from a dramatic and polished orator, indicating that it is unlikely that an impressive charismatic delivery style accounted for his tremendous and lasting impact (c.f. Holladay and Coombs, 1993 and Holladay and Coombs, 1994). Therefore, we argue that our results support the importance of the content of Gandhi's communications in creating a dramatic vision that resonated with his followers, utilizing similar themes as compared to other successful leaders. In addition, although we do not have data directly bearing on this issue, social contagion effects and behavioral modeling were likely important drivers of Gandhi's charismatic appeal. Meindl's (1990) theory of social contagion suggests that heightened levels of excitement may create enough follower arousal to evoke charismatic attributions that are spread from follower to follower. This type of arousal is likely to be particularly salient when followers are in a state of heightened anxiety. Many of Gandhi's constituents may not have had the opportunity to observe Gandhi directly, and therefore relied on other means of communication to evaluate his ideals. In the absence of mass communications, accounts of Gandhi's vision and symbolic actions likely spread by word of mouth, which may have led to a heightened contagion effect in which followers mutually reinforced and enhanced his visionary appeal amongst one another. In this leadership context, Gandhi's behaviors, such as living and traveling in poor conditions similar to those of his followers, dressing in a simple loin cloth made solely of Indian material, and his unwavering dedication to the philosophy of nonviolence symbolically augmented the messages conveyed in his speeches. As Gandhi himself put it, “my life is my message.” We note that social contagion processes may also be particularly important and relevant in more collectivist societies, another important area for future research. In sum, the extent to which the content of “charismatic” rhetoric varies across cultural and historical contexts is a topic we are only beginning to explore. We know little about the extent to which charismatic rhetoric is squarely rooted in, or in diametric opposition to, prevailing cultural values and norms (see Fiol et al., 1999 and Seyranian and Bligh, 2008). Smith (1997, p. 628) concludes, “charisma may be best thought of as a quality that is global but imputed to leaders on the basis of behaviors that are culture-specific.” However, our preliminary results suggest that there are some consistent themes in visionary rhetoric cross-culturally. Following this line of reasoning, it will be interesting to explore the similarities and differences in charismatic themes across a wider variety of cultures, as well as how those themes are expressed differently across different leadership contexts. For example, the levels of action and aggression exhibited by charismatic leaders may vary cross-culturally. In some contexts, leaders may need to take strong decisive action to be perceived as charismatic, while in other cultures consultation and a more collective, participative approach may be more characteristic of charismatic leadership. House, Wright, and Aditya (1997) illustrated that charisma was enacted in a more aggressive manner in the cases of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Theodore Roosevelt in the U.S. and Winston Churchill in the UK. Bligh et al. (2004a) similarly showed that the active, aggressive speech of President George W. Bush in the wake of the attacks of September 11th, 2001 was an important component of the president's reaction to the crisis and the media's coverage of his leadership. In contrast, House et al. (1997) point out that charismatic leadership has been enacted in a more quiet and nonaggressive manner in the cases of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa in India and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. These observations suggest that there may be very different types of charismatic leaders (e.g., relatively more aggressive versus less aggressive), a difference which was partially supported by our findings. Equally important, future research is necessary to explore the contexts and follower characteristics that are more conducive to different types of charismatic leadership (e.g., Meindl, 1990 and Pillai et al., 2007). In addition, if there are aspects of charismatic rhetoric that systematically vary by culture, future research is needed to explore the precise makeup of these variations (i.e., level, degree, and nature of key constructs). Finally, it is important to point out that current theory largely neglects the role of gender in the relationship between visionary rhetoric and charismatic attributions. It may well be that certain expectations of communication patterns become attached to male and female leaders, and expectations may be different for male and female followers as well. To complicate matters even further, expectations of charisma are shaped by the cultural context in which the leaders and followers interact. For example, active, aggressive, dramatic and dominant rhetoric may be more or less appropriate in some cultural contexts, as this type of influence may be viewed as inappropriate for women in highly masculine cultures or too individualistic in more collectivistic cultures (Bligh et al., 2005 and Hofstede, 2003). Future research is necessary to determine how gender, culture, and different styles of rhetoric interact in influencing charismatic attributions. Overall, Gandhi's rhetoric contained a number of charismatic themes, underscoring the strong impact of his visionary rhetoric despite lacking a dramatic and memorable delivery style or pervasive media coverage. While there are likely many paths to charismatic leadership, and characteristics of the leader, followers, situation and culture are all important variables to consider, our results indicate that the content of a leader's vision is critical. It is the content of a leader's message that invites followers to embark down the leader's chosen path, and motivates and reassures followers to continue when that path becomes difficult. In the words of Gandhi, “Are creeds such simple things like the clothes which a man can change at will and put on at will? Creeds are such for which people live for ages and ages.” Given the lasting nature of Gandhi's appeal across the ages, today's leaders still have much to learn from his message.