Exploring CEO Identities: Leadership, Accountability and Role
43 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012
Date Written: January 15, 2012
Drawing on interviews with 40 FTSE100 CEOs we extend the interpretive literature on identity work to top level managers, bringing into play a different balance of autonomy and constraint from previous studies. Four core (but overlapping) identities are observed: the leader and strategist, the manager or company man, the competitor or winner, and the accountable one. Our observations suggest that the first of these is effectively imposed on the CEO and we argue for a view of leadership as a socially constructed and role specific (so temporally limited) identity that both unites the leader with the organization and separates him from it though a sacred-profane divide. We also argue for a close link between identity and accountability, but one that is based on the generic perception of accountability rather than on specific accountabilities.
Keywords: CEO, identity, interpretive research, leadership, accountability, role
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation