chapter  3
20 Pages

Leadership and Charisma

Structuration theory provides a helpful analytical framework for investigating deep structures of action affecting the exercise of leadership. Giddens’ theory, however, appears to suffer from two shortcomings. On the one hand, the theory tends to enshrine incrementalism in social change. The duality of structure, as a universal principle of social life seems to preclude rapid, or revolutionary, or massive change. If action is always constrained by the structures of the circumstances to which action is a response, then gradual, evolutionary change seems the normal, if not the only possible process of social change. The past decade has witnessed political, technological, and economic changes at a speed and on a scale not considered possible. Revolutions and the creation of new and unforeseen institutions likewise gives evidence of occasions and periods when action tended to break the constraints of structures and circumstances and create new and unexpected social forms. How is it possible for action to create new structures, so different from existing structures, if the two are a duality, two forces which tend to reproduce one another? The theory does not seem to allow for one to dominate the other, to break free from the constraints of the other. Hence, the question might be asked whether leadership is basically ruled out of Giddens’ theory of action, for leadership seems clearly to be an instance where agency dominates and transforms and in some cases creates the structure or social system.