Romancing leadership: Temporality and the myths of Vlad Dracula

Horia Moasa, Miguel Pina e. Cunha, Stewart Clegg, Daniela Sorea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leadership studies focus on processes of leader romanticization to explain the attribution of charisma and account for leaders’ personal power. Such research focuses on antecedents to leadership, stressing factors such as personal projections of dispositions, the specificity of context and situation or the leaders’ capacity for image management. These processes, important as they are, do not fully identify and articulate the inner workings of the processes whereby leaders and leadership are romanticized. We offer a view of leader romanticization as a complex and dynamic historical process in which active followers, according to their current identity projects, agendas and goals, continuously use embedded contextual cues to make sense of leaders while giving sense to leaders and other followers in historical cycles of sensemaking and sensegiving that unfold through temporal processes. Historically, this is how ‘great leaders’ are produced as lionized national exemplars able to be romanticized, demonized and fictionalized, sometimes simultaneously. We answer the question of ‘how leaders become romanticized as historical points of reference’? We do so through a historical analysis of how Vlad Dracula, the historical voivode, metamorphosed into the famous fictional vampire and a bulwark of a communist regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-150
JournalManagement and Organizational History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • followership
  • historical organization studies
  • leadership
  • Romance of leadership
  • sensegiving
  • sensemaking


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