The Personalization of Politics in Western Democracies: Causes and Consequences on Leader-Follower Relationships
The Leadership Quarterly 22: 697-709
44 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2017
Date Written: 2011
The article provides an assessment of the most recent literature on political leadership by focusing on its effects on voters' cognition and behavior, in the light of the ongoing personalization of politics. The changing role of political leaders in contemporary democracies is assessed through a perspective aimed at linking leadership theory and political science. One of the major consequences of the personalization of politics seems to lie in the changing expectations of voters with respect to the personal profile of their leaders. This is due to the lowering effects of television and parallel attempts by leaders to appeal voters on the basis of perceived similarities. As to the leaders' effect on individual voting behavior, we highlight the various reasons that can enhance (or constrain) the role of party leaders' image in the voting calculus. Implications and directions for further research are discussed in the concluding section.
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