Abstract: The present study investigates whether the leadership qualities of CEOs from major U.S. companies changes in times of the Financial Crisis. The focus lays on important transformational leadership qualities and their corresponding linguistic markers. These have been previously identified to be either, a crucial part of effective leadership, or leadership in general. Leadership attributes are measured through the quantitative content analysis software Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count 2015 (LIWC2015). The written language use of 104 CEOs within 594 letters to shareholders is investigated on the change of a) Visionary-, b) Present Achievement- and c) Emotionality scores (as measured through positive and negative emotion words). The results reveal significant changes of Present Achievement and Emotionality scores. The findings show that the Financial Crisis provoked substantial changes in linguistic indicators of transformational leadership qualities. Further, in times of crisis, some favorable leadership attributes seem to become highlighted, whereas other important aspects dramatically decrease. Lastly, the limitations and future directions are discussed.
Keywords: Transformational Leadership, Quantitative Content Analysis, LIWC2015, Financial Crisis, Language Changes
Recieved: 22.02.2018 Accepted: 19.06.2018 UDC: 005.32:338.121.4