The language of charisma: The effects of training on attitudes, behavior, and performance
Towler, Annette Jane
Dipboye, Robert L.
Doctor of Philosophy
During the last 20 years, a large body of research has accumulated demonstrating the positive impact of charismatic leadership on organizational effectiveness. However, with a couple of exceptions, (e.g., Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996; Dvir, Eden, Avolio & Shamir, 1999), little research has focused on the development of charismatic leaders. Moreover, researchers have noted the importance of the language that charismatic leaders use in gaining follower commitment to their vision. This study contributes to previous research by investigating the effectiveness of training individuals to be charismatic in their communication style. Given the importance of language to effective leadership, this research is timely and important. This study consists of two phases. In Phase One, the effects of training on outcomes of learning, behavior and motivation was investigated. Forty-eight business students received charisma training, presentation training, or no training. In addition to measuring trainee knowledge and motivation, all participants prepared and gave a speech and the performance of all participants was videotaped. In the second phase of this study, undergraduates (N = 102) at another university watched one of these videotapes and performed a task based on the instructions given in the speech. The findings demonstrated the efficacy of the charismatic communication training. Those who received charismatic communication training performed better on a declarative knowledge test and exhibited more charismatic communication behaviors than those who received presentation skills training or no training. There was also support for the effectiveness of the charismatic communication training on follower performance and attitudes. Compared to the other experimental conditions, participants in the charisma condition performed better, adhered to the company vision more frequently, enjoyed the task more, and had higher perceptions of effective delivery and charismatic leadership. The effects of training on follower performance and attitudes were partially mediated by both nonverbal behaviors of body gestures and vocal fluency and content strategies of stories and analogies. Future research directions and practical implications are discussed.
Speech communication; Industrial psychology; Business education