کاریزما در بحران: رهبری ریاست جمهوری، فصاحت و بلاغت و پاسخ رسانه قبل و بعد از حملات تروریستی سپتامبر 11
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|38234||2004||29 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||14450 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 15, Issue 2, April 2004, Pages 211–239
Scholars since Weber have suggested that times of crisis may create an increased opportunity for charismatic leadership to emerge. We examine the rhetorical content of President George W. Bush's public speeches before and after the terrorist attacks of September 11th to determine if the context of crisis affected the President's communications with the American people. We also examined how the media's portrayal of President Bush may have changed after the crisis. Results suggest that the President's rhetorical language became more charismatic after the crisis of 9/11. In addition, the media's portrayal of Bush reflected a similar increase in charismatic rhetoric, suggesting an increased receptivity to a more charismatically based leadership relationship after the crisis.
The September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 have been widely perceived as one of the greatest crises in American history. The events of 9/11 surpassed even the attack on Pearl Harbor in the sheer number of lives lost, and represented not an attack on the American military but on the American public. A report released by the Gallup Organization concluded, “the American psyche was jolted on September 11th, in a way seldom seen before” (Gillespie, 2001, p. 1). This evidence clearly suggests that in the eyes of the public, the terrorist attacks of September 2001 constituted a significant event that shattered American illusions of safety and invulnerability. Scholars have long studied crisis and crisis management, and the effects of crisis on the leadership relationship House et al., 1991, Hunt et al., 1999, Lord & Maher, 1991, Pillai, 1996, Pillai & Meindl, 1998, Stewart, 1967 and Stewart, 1976. Using previous theory as a guide, we hoped to understand how the events of 9/11 affected the relationship between the President and the American people. Viewing political leadership as a link or connection between the President and the American citizenry, we sought to uncover how the post-9/11 context impacted the nature and strength of this relationship. Previous theoretical and empirical work suggests that the occurrence of a crisis may significantly affect the relationship between a leader and his or her followers House et al., 1991, Hunt et al., 1999, Pillai, 1996 and Pillai & Meindl, 1998. The plethora of emotions felt in the aftermath of a crisis, including shock, confusion, fear, anger, sorrow, and anxiety, can have a potentially devastating effect on individual self-concepts as well as collective national identity. Times of crisis thus enhance the likelihood that followers will want to invest increased faith in leaders, see leaders as more powerful, and identify more with their leaders as a coping mechanism (Madsen & Snow, 1991). Pearson and Clair (1998) define a crisis as “a low-probability, high-impact event that threatens the viability of the organization and is characterized by ambiguity of cause, effect, and means of resolution, as well as by a belief that decisions must be made swiftly” (p. 59). Many Americans perceived the events of 9/11 as an attack not only on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center but also as an attack on their fundamental values and beliefs. The President himself reflected this perspective in his “Enduring Freedom” speech, in which he noted that in the incipient war, “we defend not only our precious freedoms, but also the freedom of people everywhere to live and raise their children free from fear.” These comments are indicative of the collective response to the attacks as an assault on the American “way of life,” suggesting that the events of 9/11 threatened the very ideology that America represents to many. As President Bush commented on the day of the assaults: “Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack.” We explore how leadership theory might inform our understanding of the President's response to the crisis of 9/11, as well as the collective response of the American people. The tremendous unease and uncertainty brought about by the terrorist attacks presented an opportunity for the President to act in stronger, more decisive, and potentially more meaningful ways Lord & Maher, 1991, Stewart, 1967, Stewart, 1976 and Yukl, 2002. In addition, these same feelings of uncertainty likely fostered a greater appreciation for the type of “strong” leadership often associated with charismatic, transformational leaders. Following Bandura's (2001) notion of proxy control, accepting a leader's interpretation of events and believing in his or her ability to deal with followers' problems relieve followers of the psychological stress and loss of control created in the aftermath of a crisis. Thus, the emergence of more charismatically based forms of leadership can be viewed as a collective coping mechanism, even a palliative (Meindl, 1993), as followers seek to symbolically and emotionally “restore their own sense of coping ability by linking themselves to a dominant and seemingly effective leader” (Madsen & Snow, 1991, p. 15). Beyer (1999b) notes that perceptions of strong needs in followers, such as a shared perception of a crisis, may drive them to “socially construct and project qualities on a person to satisfy that need” (p. 581). This collective desire to identify exceptional qualities in a leader suggests that the leader's qualities themselves may be actual or attributed (see also Shamir & Howell, 1999). Prior to the events of 9/11, President George W. Bush was generally not seen as a strong, charismatic leader that people would place their faith in during times of crisis or external threat. Throughout the first nine months of his presidency, a number of questions surrounded Bush's leadership, including the perils of following a president with high charismatic appeal, questions about foreign policy issues, and the lingering cloud of the election vote-counting debacle. In addition, the media often characterized the President as oratorically challenged and frequently disparaged him for his “troubled relationship with the English language” (Kornblut, 2001). Prior to the events of 9/11, there were real concerns about Bush's leadership, and many questioned his ability to rise to the challenge in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Seemingly overnight, however, Americans embraced the President and his leadership. Before the terrorist attacks, 51% of Americans approved of Bush's job performance, whereas after the attacks, his approval ratings jumped to 86%. This 35-point jump in approval rating is the highest ever measured by the Gallup Organization in its over 60 years of polling history (Jones, 2001a). Did the crisis of 9/11 set the stage for a transformation of the leadership process of the presidency and the relationship between the President and the citizenry? Does this apparent transformation following the events of 9/11 entail a shift toward a more charismatically based relationship, as leadership theory might suggest in the wake of a crisis? And can we find evidence of that shift or transformation in the President's leadership via his public rhetoric and in the media's and the public's reactions to that rhetoric? Recent theorizing regarding political leadership in times of crisis (e.g., Madsen & Snow, 1991), the self-concept and identity processes associated with charismatic leadership (e.g., Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993), and the relationship between rhetorical style and charisma provided a framework for our investigations. We devised three studies to explore evidence of changes in the President's public discourse in the wake of 9/11, toward a more charismatic rhetorical style on one hand and in tandem with the attention and reception of both the public and the popular mass media to that rhetoric on the other. In Study 1, we sought to determine whether the crisis of 9/11 caused a “charismatic shift” in the rhetoric of the President. In Study 2, we examine the extent to which the crisis affected the media's portrayal of and response to the President's rhetoric. Finally, in Study 3 we explore the relationship among the President's charismatic rhetoric, the media's portrayal of the President's speeches, and public approval ratings over time. Together, these studies afforded us an opportunity to understand the shifting mutual expectations regarding leadership that were precipitated by the events of 9/11.