Title page for ETD etd-01272004-085638

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Treat, Shaun Robert
Author's Email Address streat@lsu.edu
URN etd-01272004-085638
Title The Myth of Charismatic Leadership and Rhetoric of Crypto-Charismatic Membership
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andrew King Committee Chair
Christine DiStefano Committee Member
Joshua Gunn Committee Member
Laura Sells Committee Member
Michael Bowman Committee Member
  • fantasy theme analysis
  • management
  • myth
  • charismatic leadership
  • rhetoric
  • communication
Date of Defense 2003-10-24
Availability unrestricted
This study will analyze the relationship between myth and the fantasy rhetoric of charismatic leadership by employing Fantasy Theme Analysis to examine the pervasive discourses invoking this enduring folk belief. Fantasies of the Charismatic Superhero are explored within the popular leadership treatises of successful “management gurus” and in our popular culture entertainments. The rhetorical visions of Stephen Covey’s “Principle-Centered Leadership,” Jim Collins’ “Level 5 Leadership,” and Manz and Sims' “SuperLeadership” are examined for their displacement of charismatic leadership in favor of the empowered crypto-charisma of self-leading memberships. Findings suggest “empowerment” rhetorics, like the rhetorical visions championed by many populist “gurus,” bear striking similarities to the fantasy script of charisma and tacitly champion mythic culturetypes that are variations on known routinizations of charismatic leadership: the Ubermensch Prophet, the Messianic Prince, the Servant Superhero, or Technocratic Superteams.
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