Charismatic authority has been alternatively depicted as extraordinarily powerful and fragile and transitory. The argument developed here is that organizations generally, and newly emerging religious movements in particular, are sites of both coordination and contestation. If new movements are established with a charismatic authority structure, one important question is from what sources can challenges to that authority emanate. Three movement sectors are identified as potential sources of challenge: inner circle leadership, administrative functionaries, and grassroots membership. Using illustrative cases from contemporary emerging religious movements, instances of authority challenges are presented in support of the argument that both coordination and contestation are normal features of movement development.

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