Human resources management/organizational behavior
chief executive officers, CEO succession, CEO charisma, charismatic, leadership, symbolic management, securities analysts, stock market
This paper illustrates the construction of CEO charisma within the US stock market. By metaphorically employing the myth of the Minotaur, we discuss three forces underlying the rise of heroic CEO images in the USA: Ariadne, or charismatic leadership theory and its formulation of charisma; Theseus, or the CEOs struggling to obtain power over stock market actors; and the Minotaur, or the stock market itself and the securities analyst profession. Building on the literature on organizational symbolism, we present a qualitative study of two CEO successions, focusing on the form and content of the persona and the vision projected by CEOs and elaborated by securities analysts. The results suggest that jointly constructing charisma through discourse, CEOs and analysts enact a form of power that does not lie in top-down coercion, but rather on the emergent, active involvement and contribution of its very subjects.
With permission of Sage