Entrepreneurial Personalities in Political Leadership

Posted: 3 Aug 2017

See all articles by Martin Obschonka

Martin Obschonka

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

Christian Fisch

University of Luxembourg - Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT)

Date Written: July 25, 2017


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.

Keywords: Personality, Big Five, Political leadership, Donald J. Trump, Entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: L20, L26

Suggested Citation

Obschonka, Martin and Fisch, Christian, Entrepreneurial Personalities in Political Leadership (July 25, 2017). Small Business Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3011748

Martin Obschonka

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena ( email )

Furstengraben 1
Jena, Thuringa 07743

Christian Fisch (Contact Author)

University of Luxembourg - Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) ( email )

JFK Building
29, Avenue J.F Kennedy
Luxembourg, L-1885

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics