Entrepreneurial personalities in political leadership
- 4.2k Downloads
Societies around the globe respond to the contemporary technological and economic change by defining entrepreneurship and innovation as core principles for future competitive advantage. Does this rise of the “entrepreneurial society” also imply that entrepreneurial personalities are becoming increasingly widespread and powerful in political leadership? Joseph A. Schumpeter already argued that highly influential entrepreneurs are unique and show a certain personality pattern that can be described as being not only high in creativity and change orientation but also high in competitiveness and rule-breaking. It is interesting to ask whether such Schumpeterian personalities indeed play an increasingly important role in political leadership, given that daily routines of policy leaders, at least at first glance, usually require rather non-entrepreneurial strategies such as careful, risk-averse diplomacy. To address this question, we first survey the existing literature on personality and political leadership. We further present a novel personality analysis of an influential business leader that recently made a transition to political leadership: Donald J. Trump, the incumbent US president. Employing a language-based, computerized method of analyzing Twitter statements, we compare his online personality to the online personality of other influential entrepreneurs and business managers, who do not engage in political leadership. The results indicate that Trump is indeed distinct in that he shows stronger features of a Schumpeterian personality. However, he is also comparatively high in Neuroticism. We discuss these findings focusing on the potential implications of a concentration of entrepreneurial mindsets in political leadership.
KeywordsPersonality Big Five Political leadership Donald J. Trump Entrepreneurship
JEL classificationL20 L26
- Ahmed, K. (2017). Understanding Trump’s narcissism could be the key to opposing him. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/17/donald-trump-narcisissm-mentally-ill-personality. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Benz, M., & Frey, B. S. (2004). Being independent raises happiness at work. Swedish Economic Policy Review, 11(2), 95–134.Google Scholar
- Bourne, P. G. (1997). Jimmy Carter: a comprehensive biography from plains to post-presidency. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
- Boyd, R. L., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2015). A way with words: using language for psychological science in the modern era. In C. Dimofte, C. Haugtvedt, & R. Yalch (Eds.), Consumer psychology in a social media world (pp. 222–236). New York City: Routledge Publishers.Google Scholar
- Carey, G. (2002). Human genetics for the social sciences. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Drucker, P. (1985). Innovation and entrepreneurship. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Egan, P. (2011). Before they were elected: presidents as entrepreneurs. Business News Daily. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/680-presidents-day-entrepreneurs-small-businesses-history.html.
- Eysenck, H. J. (1953). The structure of human personality. New York: Methuen.Google Scholar
- Forbes (2014). The new Forbes 400 self-made score: from silver spooners to bootstrappers. https://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2014/10/02/the-new-forbes-400-self-made-score-from-silver-spooners-to-boostrappers/#2aff663d2aff. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Forbes (2016a). The ups and downs of Donald Trump: three decades on and off the Forbes 400. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferwang/2016/03/24/the-ups-and-downs-of-donald-trump-three-decades-on-and-off-the-forbes-400/#67b880975612. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Forbes (2016b). Forbes 400 in 2016: the wealthiest in America. www.forbes.com/forbes-400/. Accessed 20 Apr 2017.
- Forbes (2016c). America’s richest entrepreneurs under 40 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2016/12/12/americas-richest-entrepreneurs-under-40-2016. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Forbes (2017). Forbes profile of Donald Trump. https://www.forbes.com/profile/donald-trump/#. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Fortune (2016). Fortune 500 2016. http://beta.fortune.com/fortune500. Accessed 20 Apr 2017.
- Frances, A. (2017). An eminent psychiatrist demurs on Trump’s mental state. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/opinion/an-eminent-psychiatrist-demurs-on-trumps-mental-state.html?_r=1. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Franklin, B., Woolman, J., & Penn, W. (1909). The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. New York: P. F. Collier.Google Scholar
- Golbeck, J. (2016). Trump psychoanalyzed by artificial intelligence. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-online-secrets/201612/trump-psychoanalyzed-artificial-intelligence. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Golbeck, J., Robles, C., Edmondson, M., & Turner, K. (2011). Predicting personality from Twitter. In 2011 I.E. Third International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust (PASSAT) and 2011 I.E. Third International Conference on Social Computing (pp. 149–156). IEEE.Google Scholar
- Hoff, E. V., Carlsson, I. M., & Smith, G. J. W. (2013). Personality. In M. D. Mumford (Ed.), Handbook of organizational creativity (pp. 241–270). London: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices. A theory of vocational personalities and work environments. Odessa: PAR.Google Scholar
- Inglehart, R., & Norris, P. (2016). Trump, Brexit, and the rise of populism: economic have-nots and cultural backlash. HKS Working Paper No. RWP16-026.Google Scholar
- John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big Five trait taxonomy: history, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 102–138). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Kranish, M., & Fisher, M. (2017). Trump revealed: the definitive biography of the 45th president. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- Lasswell, H. D. (1948). Power and personality. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.Google Scholar
- Levine, R., & Rubinstein, Y. (2016). Smart and illicit: who becomes an entrepreneur and do they earn more? The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 132(2), 963–1018.Google Scholar
- Long, H. (2016). Trump organization is now America’s 48th largest private company. CNN, http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/15/investing/trump-organization-48th-largest-private-company/.
- McAdams, D. P. (2010). George W. Bush and the redemptive dream: a psychological portrait. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- McAdams, D. P., (2016). The mind of Donald Trump. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Nash, G. H. (1983). The life of Herbert Hoover: the engineer 1874–1914. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.Google Scholar
- Obschonka, M., & Stuetzer, M. (in press). Integrating psychological approaches to entrepreneurship: the Entrepreneurial Personality System (EPS). Small Business Economics, forthcoming.Google Scholar
- Obschonka, M., Schmitt-Rodermund, E., Silbereisen, R. K., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2013). The regional distribution and correlates of an entrepreneurship-prone personality profile in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom: a socioecological perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(1), 104–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Obschonka, M, Stuetzer, M., Rentfroq, J. P., Lee, N., Potter, J., & Gosling, S. D. (2017). Fear, populism, and the geopolitical landscape: on the effect of neurotic personality traits on regional voting behavior in the 2016 Brexit and Trump votes.Google Scholar
- Pennebaker, J. W., Boyd, R. L., Jordan, K., & Blackburn, K. (2015). The development and psychometric properties of LIWC2015. Austin: University of Texas at Austin.Google Scholar
- Roberts, B. W., Kuncel, N. R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L. R. (2007). The power of personality: the comparative validity of personality traits, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(4), 313–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rubenzer, S. J., & Faschingbauer, T. R. (2004). Personality, character, and leadership in the White House: psychologists assess the presidents. Lincoln: Potomac Books.Google Scholar
- Schumpeter, J. A. (1934). The theory of economic development: an inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest, and the business cycle. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
- Sherman, R. (2015). The personality of Donald Trump. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-situation-lab/201509/the-personality-donald-trump. Accessed 03 July 2017.
- Silbereisen, R. K., & Chen, X. (2010). Social change and human development: concept and results. New York: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Smith, J. E. (2016). Bush. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- Stuetzer, M., Obschonka, M., Audretsch, D. B., Wyrwich, M., Rentfrow, P. J., Coombes, M., Shaw-Taylor, L., & Satchell, M. (2016). Industry structure, entrepreneurship, and culture: an instrumental variable analysis using historical coalfields. European Economic Review, 86, 52–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Walshe, S. (2017). Analysis: Trump’s Twitter use brings risks and rewards. ABC news. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/analysis-trumps-twitter-brings-risks-rewards/story?id=47066741. Accessed 26 May 2017.
- Weber, M. (1919). Politik als Beruf. Munich: Duncker & Humblot.Google Scholar