How do executives’ personalities, as reflected in the word use of these managers, affect strategic decision making and innovation in large organizations?
One of the central tenets of strategic management research is that top managers’ characteristics influence their decision making behavior and, in turn, organizational outcomes. However, opening the black box of corporate leaders’ minds and exploring their characters and personalities has shown to be highly challenging. One way to get at least a glimpse inside this black box could be linguistic analyses. Numerous recent empirical studies in the field of psychology show that word use is correlated with a number of personality traits and that word choice reflects stable psychological processes.
In this vein, the Chair of Strategic Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship uses linguistic approaches, mainly automated and manual text analyses, to study top managers’ cognition. A core study, for example, illustrates which role personality and worldviews of one or several CEOs play in the context of discontinuous change. Here, both the (metaphorically encoded) worldviews as well as the personality ("Big Five") of the CEOs are analyzed using innovative automated text analysis. In the course of this study, the question of how the public and the ever-changing preferences of the media are affecting the technological paradigm shift, is also of interest. Another project investigates the implications of ownership structures, in particular the influence of family owners, in connection with the organizational response to discontinuous change.