قدرت پیشرو ماهرانه : آلن گرینسپن، رهبری بلاغی، و سیاست های پولی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26171||2007||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12450 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 18, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 87–104
Alan Greenspan's tenure as Federal Reserve Board Chairman has been highlighted by his highly publicized leadership. One important and readily visible manifestation of his leadership has been his communication style. While research concerning the communication component of leadership has primarily analyzed CEO and presidential communications, this paper utilizes content analysis to provide a descriptive analysis of Chairman Greenspan's communications and his responsiveness to changes in the economic environment. We find that during down periods in the economy, the Chairman communicates that the situation is less certain with reduced amount of activity and an emphasis on present tense language that indicates that current concerns are paramount. In contrast, during buoyant periods of economic activity, the Chairman's language indicates a stronger sense of certainty. Such language patterns help the public place their economic circumstances in context, and may contribute to perceptions of Greenspan's effectiveness as a leader.
“Economic policy is to some extent a con game: If people believe that the Fed can manage effectively, they are less likely to panic when the markets are weak or to raise prices when the economy is strong. Hence, confidence in Mr. Greenspan's leadership has probably contributed to both financial market and price stability.” — Ethan Harris (2005), Economist “Chairman Greenspan has guided the Federal Reserve with a rare combination of technical expertise, sophisticated analysis, and old-fashioned common sense. His wise and steady leadership has inspired confidence, not only here in America, but all around the world.” — President George W. Bush (2000) As he nears the end of his final term and long tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan has been widely hailed as one of the most effective economic leaders of modern times. According to Alan Blinger, a former Fed vice chairman, Greenspan “has a legitimate claim to being the greatest central banker who ever lived” (Blinder & Reis, 2005). By most accounts, the implementation of monetary policy has made tremendous strides during Greenspan's tenure, and much of this success has been attributed to his leadership approach. Indeed, Chairman Greenspan has been credited with implementing a low inflation monetary policy that has been largely successful in fostering a series of long economic expansions in the U.S., and the communication of this monetary policy strategy has been cited as a hallmark of his tenure. In particular, the relatively novel emphasis on transparency and communication during his chairmanship is intimately intertwined in his monetary policy legacy (Meyer, 2004). Historically, however, monetary policy has not been associated with terms like “transparency” and “communication.” In fact, little attention has been paid to how economic leaders react to economic and environmental events and subsequently communicate changes or consistencies in monetary policy. Although leadership scholars have long recognized that language is an essential aspect of the leadership process (e.g., Bligh et al., 2004a, Bligh et al., 2004b, Conger, 1991, Conger and Toegel, 2002, Inch et al., 1997 and Thayer, 1988), there has been little attention to the language and communication aspects of leadership outside of the realm of business and politics. Given Chairman Greenspan's influence on financial markets worldwide, it is important to understand his leadership rhetoric and specifically how Greenspan utilizes rhetorical themes to create and implement monetary policy. Smircich & Morgan (1982) define leadership as a process through which certain individuals attempt to frame and define the circumstances of other individuals. Much of this framing can be traced through verbal and written language, providing excellent opportunities for researchers to study leadership throughout the social sciences in contextually based, unobtrusive ways. The purpose of this research is to utilize the relatively disparate tools of monetary theory and leadership theory to analyze the extent to which Alan Greenspan's “open-mouth” operations have complemented his “open-market” operations. Using a broad interdisciplinary focus, we explore the hypothesis that Alan Greenspan's and the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC's) statements, speeches, and testimonies are substantial factors whereby his leadership in implementing monetary policy complements his economic policy actions — precisely because he uses language to subtly guide the public's and financial market's understanding of the macroeconomic environment. In summary, we provide an analysis of the potential relationship between: (1) events, policy decisions and economic forecasts, and (2) linguistic characteristics of Chairman Greenspan's communications. The remainder of the paper is as follows: in the next section, we review literature concerning the role that language plays in the leadership phenomenon, and how language might potentially facilitate the implementation of monetary policy. We subsequently provide a detailed description of our data set as well as our analysis strategy. Finally, we give an overview of our results, and provide a discussion of the implications, limitations, and directions for future research and theory based on our findings.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Overall, we have presented three main findings. First, in response to the NBER recession of 2001 and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, the linguistic content of Greenspan's communications revealed a widespread reduction in the certainty component of his speech (i.e., a rise in uncertainty), an increase in the immediacy of his language, and a reduction in the level of activity in his communication. Consistent with the leadership literature that emphasizes the role language can play in “framing” (i.e., placing an event in its context), such a change in language plausibly enhanced the Chairman's credibility and leadership effectiveness. More specifically, during these time periods that the Fed was faced with a period of uncertainty and reduced activity, the Fed concentrated on “the here and now” rather than the future. These present-focused communications signal to the markets that the Fed is actively involved in resolving the current situation and not looking too far into the future. Second, during the period of both actual and expected declines in the futures funds rate, once again the language characteristics of the Chairman's speech became less certain and more present oriented. In contrast, the Chairman's language conveyed more certainty during periods of actual and expected short-term interest rate increases. Finally, declines in forecasted measures of short-term and long-term real GDP growth also increased the immediacy of the Chairman's language characteristics. Such language patterns help the public frame their economic circumstances and place them in context, and contribute to perceptions of Chairman Greenspan as a knowledgeable, credible, and effective leader. Although scholars have frequently utilized the concept of charismatic or transformational leadership to account for truly effective or outstanding leadership, Mumford & Van Doorn (2001) suggest an alternate model for describing incidents of exceptional leadership. Their approach, which they label pragmatic leadership, is based on earlier work by Mumford et al. on the day-to-day aspects of successful leaders (see Connelly et al., 2000, Mumford and Connelly, 1991 and Mumford et al., 2000). Summing up this research, “the results obtained in these studies indicate that successful leaders are capable of identifying and solving significant organizational problems using an analysis of organizational requirements and constraints, along with wisdom and perspective taking, to craft viable solutions” (Mumford & Van Doorn, 2001: 282). Our findings suggest that Chairman Greenspan may be an excellent example of a pragmatic leader for a number of reasons. First, pragmatic leaders appeal to social utility, rather than to a vision embodied by the leader; they lead “behind the scenes” rather than crafting an inspirational vision of an idealized future state. Our empirical findings suggest that Greenspan similarly reflected the relative uncertainty of tough financial times while subtly directing attention to the immediate present in order to communicate the Fed's attempts to remedy the current situation. In other words, Greenspan's rhetoric is more indicative of the type of subtle “perspective taking” of a pragmatic leader than the dramatic visionary rhetoric of a charismatic leader. In addition, Mumford & Van Doorn (2001: 284) hypothesize that pragmatic leaders are likely to utilize depersonalized influence through “objective demonstration and appeal to economic concerns.” Greenspan's leadership communications in many ways epitomize this depersonalized influence. Rather than appealing to followers' identities, anxieties, and fears in the aftermath of 9/11, Greenspan's rhetoric reflects a decidedly depersonalized assessment of the current state of affairs, stating matter-of-factly: “heightened uncertainty and concerns about a deterioration in business conditions both here and abroad are damping economic activity” (November 6, 2001). This type of problem-focused influence is emblematic of pragmatic leadership, and Greenspan's increased focus on the present and the immediacy of the current situation reflects his emphasis on analytical, practical problem solving. As such, his approach stands in stark contrast to the visionary rhetoric of charismatic leaders, who appeal to followers' hopes and desires for a better life in the distant future rather than the development of viable solutions in the here and now. Mumford & Van Doorn (2001: 282) also point out that in its analytic, problem-focused approach, pragmatic leadership may also “permit rapid dissemination of solutions with limited input from the leader.” Our results underline the fact that Greenspan's communications in fact provide relatively limited sources of information for followers to dissect and tease apart, yet despite this finding there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to suggest that his infamous ‘Greenspeak’ is widely credited for keeping the economy on track. As Ydstie (2006) reports, “whatever he says, the market follows,” and Greenspan is widely credited with being “arguably the best central banker ever.” As a pragmatic leader, Greenspan's success has aptly been attributed to his “steady hand on the tiller” that has matter-of-factly maneuvered the US economy through the longest economic expansion in U.S. history (Ydstie, 2006). In an increasingly media-driven, global world, Den Hartog & Verburg (1997: 380) conclude, “often a point can be made more memorable by presenting it indirectly rather than directly,” and the same idea stated in two different ways can have drastically different consequences for followers. From this perspective, Greenspan's communications represent a unique and perhaps understudied form of leadership. In essence, Greenspan epitomizes the rhetoric of transparency rather than metaphor or simile, the rhetoric of reflection on the present rather than the creation of visions for the future. In this approach to leadership, a leader's focus is on summarizing, reflecting, and synthesizing the current state of affairs, rather than crafting and communicating a vision about a better tomorrow. These types of communications signal to followers that the leader is aware of current events, invested in the present situation, and cognizant of the relevant issues taking place. Business, social, and political leaders might do well to take this lesson away from Greenspan's leadership communications: in uncertain situations, being transparent and reflective may be just as important as being visionary and inspiring in framing messages for followers. It is also interesting to note that Greenspan's references to macroeconomic jargon increased a full ten percentage points in the aftermath of the crisis of September 11th, 2001. This finding may represent an important avenue for future research. It is entirely possible that in a post-crisis situation characterized by tremendous uncertainty, no prior cases or precedents to examine, or previous experiences to draw upon, leaders grapple with not only how to make sense of a situation but also how to frame the situation when they themselves may not have a firm grasp of what has happened or what it means for the future. In this type of environment, leaders may resort to increased jargon, as it communicates expertise, credibility, and draws on a shared basis of understanding and a system of collective meaning that followers can readily recognize. Increased jargon may therefore be an attempt to communicate that a leader understands a situation or has it “under control,” when in reality he or she may not yet have a firm grip on how the situation should be framed. Thus, future researchers should examine whether or not leaders' communications are characterized by increased jargon or lingo in situations of crisis, uncertainty, and/or ambiguity. To our knowledge, this paper is one of the first to explore in detail the linguistic characteristics of a leader's communications outside the few studies of charismatic CEOs and U.S. Presidents (i.e., Bligh et al., 2004a, Den Hartog and Verburg, 1997 and Emrich et al., 2001). We undertook an examination of a very unique leadership situation, in hopes of uncovering some of the similarities and differences that might characterize how leaders effectively communicate and “frame” messages when those messages have immediate and potentially drastic impacts on their followers. Our results suggest that in a constrained leadership situation such as this one, Alan Greenspan's success as a leader may lie in his ability to subtly impact or marginally shift his followers' responses. In this leadership case, the leader is not focused on inciting major change, “rallying the troops,” or convincing followers of the need for social or political change. Yet these latter types of leadership situations are exactly the area in which the vast majority of leadership scholars devote their attention. Ironically, and in many ways, Greenspan's leadership situation may share important elements with situations commonly faced by business, political, and social movement leaders, in which they are similarly constrained, albeit by a variety of different organizational elements (e.g., lack of resources, organizational politics, a rigidly defined structure, lack of legitimacy, the absence of relevant sources of power, etc.). Future research should continue to explore both situational constraints on leaders and the impact these constraints have on leaders, followers, and their interrelationships. In addition, in light of the marked focus on charismatic and transformational leadership in terms of explaining exceptional leadership in general (Mumford & Van Doorn, 2001) and in examining the rhetoric of leaders more specifically (e.g., Bligh et al., 2004a, Emrich et al., 2001, Holladay and Coombs, 1993 and Holladay and Coombs, 1994), we are not aware of any studies that have empirically examined the rhetoric of a non-charismatic exceptional leader using content analysis. This is an important shortcoming, and it is our hope that connecting pragmatic leadership theory with an examination of the content of leaders' communications will engender additional research into how both charismatic and pragmatic leaders utilize language to influence their followers. Our results also have a number of practical implications for leaders in a wide variety of leadership contexts. First and foremost, they suggest that in some cases, even subtle choices of leaders' words can have an immediate and powerful impact on followers and external constituents. Second, our results augment the argument of other leadership scholars who have suggested that leadership research has focused too much attention on characteristics of the leader, while virtually ignoring the powerful aspects of the situation (Beyer, 1999a, Beyer, 1999b, Dvir and Shamir, 2003, Meindl, 1990 and Shamir and Howell, 1999). An analysis of Alan Greenspan's rhetorical leadership suggests that Greenspan is acutely aware of the power of his communications, and somewhat paradoxically, the corresponding constraints on what he can say and how he can say it. It is plausible that other leaders face similar types of constraints, yet leadership scholars have paid relatively little attention to the nature, type, and degree of these contextual constraints across leadership situations. This study represents an important attempt to explore some of the rhetorical aspects of leadership. Due to the inherent complexity and richness of language, it is often necessary to focus on a finite number of variables, as well as leaders, that can be measured and analyzed. In the current study, we chose six variables of interest; undoubtedly, there are additional aspects of the Chairman's language that warrant exploration, and this is an important limitation of our study. Existing theory and empirical work in this area is still quite rudimentary, and relevant data are just beginning to emerge. However, this is an important avenue to pursue in light of the significance of rhetoric to leadership in general and the potential impact of rhetoric on financial markets as well. In an increasingly media-driven society, the relationship between leadership and rhetoric is increasingly becoming more and more entwined. This trend suggests that leadership, particularly in contexts where the distance between followers and their leader is large (see Shamir, 1995), will benefit from the consideration of rhetorical content as one of the primary means through which the leadership relationship is developed and maintained between leaders and followers in various contexts. In the interests of future development of this area of research, the measures included in these studies should be tested on a wider variety of leaders in order to establish whether or not they are robust across leaders and leadership contexts. Although the dictionaries included in the Diction program have been widely tested on texts in many different realms, the work on the content of leaders' speeches has up until now been predominantly theoretical (for exceptions, see Bligh et al., 2004a, Den Hartog and Verburg, 1997 and Emrich et al., 2001). In addition, it is important to note that the current study focuses on a single leader, thereby potentially limiting the generalizability of the findings to leaders in other settings. However, this type of “critical case” approach can be important in exploratory research in order to identify relevant constructs and develop new theory (Eisenhardt, 1989 and Patton, 2001), and it is our hope that additional work on “constrained” leadership will follow as a result of this article. Overall, the current study moves toward developing and testing quantifiable measures of the constructs that characterize some aspects of rhetorical pragmatic leadership. Future research is needed to determine the interrelationships among these constructs, their relative contributions, possible interactions, and the role of delivery as well as content in predicting follower perceptions and reactions across a wide variety of leadership settings.