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Political Narrative and Personality Traits - Trumped from the Start?

Sheerin, Corina and Bane, Deirdre (2017) Political Narrative and Personality Traits - Trumped from the Start? In: 20th Annual Irish Academy of Management Conference 2017, 30th August - 1st September 2017, Queen’s Management School, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast. (Submitted)

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Women’s underrepresentation in the labour market is evident across every domain but in particular is prevalent within politics. According to the United Nations (2017), as of June 2016, only 22.8 per cent of all national parliamentarians were female and as of January this year only 10 women globally serve as Heads of State. One of the most widespread reasons presented in the literature as to why women do not feature in equal numbers to men is due to the notion of ‘fit’ (Heilman 2012). The lack of fit argument is based on the tenant that women’s stereotypical personal traits and attributes and those characteristics considered necessary for leadership are not aligned (Schneider and Bos 2014). Dietrich et al., (2012) argue that such personal characteristics influence campaign performance and success significantly in the political sphere. Dolan (2014, p.97) concurred and further contended that personality traits are often gender linked and more often than not “men are viewed as more competent, decisive and stronger leaders, and possessing a greater ability to handle a crisis”. Such a perspective would suggest that men benefit from the patriarchal dividend from the outset.

The relationship between gender, personality and leadership is well documented in the literature (Eagly et al., 1995; Moutafi, et al. 2007; Kark, 2012; Grijalva et al., 2015) with most authors adopting the Big Five Personality OCEAN model as the framework for examining personality. Using the OCEAN personality model as the scaffold, this study explores the 2016 presidential election debate transcripts (3) between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton using psycholinguistic text analysis. This form of analysis is used to study of the relationship of language use and cognitive, emotional, and psychological traits (Goldbeck, 2016) of the candidates. This analysis tool has its basis within Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) tools (Tausczik and Pennebaker, 2010), both of which are widely tested, validated, and applied systems for performing psycholinguistic text analysis (Goldbeck, 2016). The tool aims to analyse narrative using psychologically meaningful categories. Within this study the output will be classified according to the big five personality characteristics of: openness (to new experiences), conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion (or introversion), and neuroticism (measuring emotional stability) (Borghans et al., 2008; McCrae and Costa, 2003). It should be noted “the predictions produced [are not expected to] model causal relationships between linguistics and personality”, but rather to present personality traits (Goldbeck, 2016, p. 1).

The aim of the linguistic analysis is exploratory in nature with the broad objective being to use technology to study everyday discourse and create awareness of its contribution in mainstream organisational behaviour and management studies. The precise intent of this research is to identify and detect to what extent the political narrative revealed information about the U.S. presidential candidate’s personality traits. Attention will be drawn to those personal characteristics and traits most associated with political leadership. Finally the lens of gender will be used to identify if those OCEAN characteristics associated with female and male leadership were evident in the two candidates.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > Gender
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > Organisational Behaviour
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Classes of Labour > Women and Work
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 14:32
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2017 14:32

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