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Contribution to Book
Empathy and Leadership
Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership (2016)
  • Ronald T. Humphrey
  • Laural Adams

Empathy helps explain why heroes take risks on behalf of others and make personal sacrifices for people and causes that they believe in. The chapter relates the literature on heroes and empathy to the research on charismatic leadership, and maintains that empathy and heroic behavior are key components of charismatic leadership. Although heroic empathy can be seen as a characteristic of heroic individuals, this chapter also examines heroic empathy from a distributed cognition perspective that positions heroic leaders in the larger context of the organization and in the system in which the organization resides. By using a distributed cognition approach, we can better understand the dynamic socio-cognitive properties of complex organizations, and explain the nature and function of heroes in organizations.
  • empathy,
  • heroism,
  • leadership,
  • heroic leadership
Publication Date
Scott T. Allison, George R. Goethals, Roderick M. Kramer
Citation Information
Ronald T. Humphrey and Laural Adams. "Empathy and Leadership" New YorkHandbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership (2016)
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