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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

All forms of leadership exercise fascination: partly for this reason, there are major worries and there is much contestation. Perhaps the origin of the modern analysis of political leadership has been due to Max Weber’s introduction of ‘charisma’ on the subject: American scholars have tended to regard leadership broadly positively, in both politics and business; Europeans have tended to be cautious, partly because of the traumatic experiences of bad leadership that their continent experienced and partly because of the fundamental role that they have traditionally given to the socio-economic ‘substructure’. In the developing world, where clientelism and neo-patrimonialism have been viewed as rampant, little is said in favour of those exercising top political leadership. The search for a unified and general theory of leadership is increasingly appearing on the agenda, however, mainly because of two developments from the late twentieth century, the spread of democratization and the move towards globalization. Democratization poses the question whether leadership has to change and to move from being ‘hard’ to becoming ‘soft’, with ‘followers’ being increasingly viewed as critical; Meanwhile, politics is becoming increasingly ‘global’ Political leadership can no longer be operated exclusively by state agents, as it is acquiring a ‘multi-state’ dimension: yet it remains unclear how multi-state leaders can emerge and exercise significant influence. The study of political leadership in the 2000s is in an exciting ferment.

Keywords: charisma, leadership traits, neo-patrimonialism, soft power, multi-state leadership

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