ArticlePDF Available
Development of a Five-Factor Model charisma compound and its relations to career
outcomes
Running head: FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND
Jasmine Vergauwe1*, Bart Wille2, Joeri Hofmans3, and Filip De Fruyt1
1Ghent University, Belgium
2University of Antwerp, Belgium
3Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Vergauwe, J., Wille, B., Hofmans, J., & De Fruyt, F. (2017). Development of a Five-Factor
Model charisma compound and its relations to career outcomes. Journal of Vocational
Behavior, 99, 24-39. DOI:10.1016/j.jvb.2016.12.005
*Address correspondence to: Jasmine Vergauwe, Department of Developmental, Personality,
and Social Psychology, Ghent University. H. Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Gent. Belgium.
Jasmine.Vergauwe@ugent.be Tel.: +32 9 264 64 29
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 1
Running head: FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND
Development of a Five-Factor Model charisma compound and its relations to career
outcomes
Abstract
Under the increasing influence of trait-perspectives on leadership, the current study introduces
a personality-based measure of charisma. In order to obtain a Five-Factor Model (FFM)
prototype for the charismatic leader, experts in the field of leadership and personality research
were invited to participate in an expert panel. For each of the 30 NEO PI-R facets, experts (N
= 38) rated the prototypic case of a successful charismatic leader on a scale ranging between 1
(extremely low) and 9 (extremely high). Based on the FFM count technique (Miller et al.,
2005), an easy-to-use count was developed in which facets that were rated as being
prototypically high (≥ 7) or low (≤ 3) were summed together to calculate the FFM charisma
score. To investigate the predictive validity of the FFM charisma count in terms of work-
related outcomes, the 1994 Ghent alumni sample was used in which college alumni (N = 262)
were administered the NEO PI-R before entering the labor market and 15 years later when
their professional careers had unfolded. The results demonstrate that FFM charisma was
positively related to extrinsic career outcomes 15 years later, including income, number of
subordinates, and managerial level. Moreover, FFM charisma was positively associated with
adaptive performance, and with career roles that directly relate to charismatic leadership. It is
concluded that the FFM charisma compound provides opportunities to map charismatic
tendencies in a career-relevant way.
Keywords: charisma; personality; FFM count technique; career outcomes; leadership
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 2
In the leadership literature, there is disagreement among scholars about whether
charisma is an attribution based on relational processes (e.g., Conger, Kanungo, & Menon,
2000; Howell & Shamir, 2005; Waldman & Javidan, 2009), or rather a personal
characteristic of the leader (e.g., Judge, Piccolo, & Kosalka, 2009; Riggio, 2009; Zaccaro,
2012). An important part of the leadership literature adopts the attributional perspective on
charisma, in which charisma lies in the eye of the beholder, and leaders are not charismatic
unless followers perceive them as such (e.g., Bass, 1985; Conger & Kanungo, 1987).
However, even Weber, who is often cited as arguing in favor of this attributional approach,
recognized the role of personality traits by noting that charisma applies to “a certain quality
of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated
as endowed with supernatural powers or qualities” (Weber, 1947, p. 358). This
conceptualization of charisma illustrates that even the ‘attributionists’ acknowledge that there
must be something about these leaders that provokes such charismatic attributions. In line
with this idea, increased attention is being devoted to trait-perspectives on leadership (e.g.,
Judge et al., 2009; Zaccaro, 2012), while also contemporary definitions of charisma refer to a
constellation of personal characteristics that allow an individual to influence other people by
affecting their feelings, opinions, and behaviors (Riggio, 2009).
In this context, there have been several attempts to identify personality traits related to
charismatic leadership (e.g., Bono & Judge, 2004; De Hoogh, Den Hartog, & Koopman,
2005; De Vries, 2012; House & Howell, 1992; Judge & Bono, 2000). Throughout this search,
the hierarchical Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality (Digman, 1990) has played a central
role. Briefly, the FFM suggests that the comprehensive construct of personality can be
represented by five broad personality domains, generally referred to as Neuroticism,
Extraversion, Openness to experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness (Goldberg,
1993). This five-factor structure of individual differences in personality has been shown to be
universal (McCrae, Costa, del Pilar, Rolland, & Parker, 1998; McCrae et al., 2005), and the
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 3
hierarchical aspect of the FFM lies in the differentiation of each of the five domains in six
specific traits or facets (Costa & McCrae, 1995).
A meta-analysis by Bono and Judge (2004) examined relationships between charisma
and Big Five personality traits, in which charisma was conceptualized as part of
transformational leadership, including the ‘idealized influence’ and ‘inspirational motivation’
dimensions of Bass scales (1998). Using the FFM as a guiding framework, only Extraversion
(ρ = .22) and Neuroticism (ρ = -.17) were found to be significantly and consistently related to
ratings of charisma, indicating that highly charismatic leaders tend to be more extraverted,
and less neurotic. As for Openness and Agreeableness, results were inconsistent, indicating
that these traits were sometimes positively associated, and at other times negatively associated
with charisma. Finally, Conscientiousness did not relate significantly to charisma (Bono &
Judge, 2004). As a set, the Big Five personality traits accounted for 12% of the variance in
charisma. Although these findings thus provided some support for the dispositional basis of
charisma, the proportion of variance explained was relatively small. Therefore, the authors
suggested that the Big Five domains might be too broad to fruitfully capture the dispositional
basis of charismatic leadership. As a solution, exploring the relationships between Big Five
facets and charismatic leadership might prove worthwhile (Bono & Judge, 2004; Hough,
1992). Moreover, as the individual is a complex system, the study of single isolated
personality traits is unlikely to fully capture its complex psychological reality (Furr, 2008).
By focusing on the unique associations between traits and outcomes, one fails to consider that
it is the specific configuration of traits that is most relevant for understanding and predicting
work-related and career outcomes (Shoss & Witt, 2013). In the current study, a FFM charisma
compound will be introduced that holds the advantage of representing a meaningful
configuration of traits, with relevance to understand behavior at work.
Apart from contributing to our understanding of the specific personality features that
underlie individual differences in charisma, understanding the underlying personality core
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 4
associated with charismatic leadership has important implications for practice, such as
selection, training, and development of leaders. For instance, given that Big Five traits are
relatively stable (e.g., Cobb-Clark & Schurer, 2012), and knowing that leader charisma has
beneficial effects on followers, such as higher levels of performance, commitment, trust and
satisfaction (e.g., Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993), charismatic tendencies could be taken into
account when making employment decisions. Once a FFM charisma compound is developed
through an expert consensus approach (Study 1), its construct validity will be investigated, as
well as its predictive value for career outcomes 15 years later (Study 2).
An expert consensus approach and the FFM count technique
A personality-based measure of charisma will be obtained by using: a) an expert
consensus approach (Lynam & Widiger, 2001); and b) the FFM count technique (Miller,
Bagby, Pilkonis, Reynolds, & Lynam, 2005). First, an expert consensus approach will be used
to obtain a prototypical FFM profile for the charismatic leader’s personality. In this approach,
experts in the field of charismatic leadership and personality are asked to rate the prototypic
case of a charismatic leader in terms of personality, using all 30 facets of the Revised NEO
Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R; Costa & McCrae, 1995). Aggregation across these experts
allows generating a FFM prototype for the charismatic leader, based on a selection of facets
that are rated as prototypically high or prototypically low by the experts. Previously, this
approach has also been used by Lynam and Widiger (2001) to generate FFM personality
profiles for each of the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) personality
disorders. For instance, the FFM prototype of the narcissistic personality disorder was
represented by low scores on all six facets of Agreeableness, one facet of Neuroticism,
Extraversion, and Openness (i.e., self-consciousness, warmth, and feelings respectively), and
it was also represented by high scores on one facet of Neuroticism and Openness (i.e., angry
hostility and actions respectively), and two facets of Extraversion (i.e., assertiveness and
excitement seeking) (see Lynam & Widiger, 2001). Moreover, in the applied field, FFM
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 5
profiles have been generated for organizationally relevant profiles, for instance for the
entrepreneur (Obschonka, Schmitt-Rodermund, Silbereisen, Gosling, & Potter, 2013). The
latter profile development, however, was limited to FFM domains instead of a differentiated
profile development by means of facet descriptions.
Once an “expert generated FFM prototype” is obtained for the charismatic leader, the
FFM count technique (Miller et al., 2005) will be used to create participants’ FFM charisma
scores. In contrast to the complex scoring methodology of the prototype matching technique
(Lynam & Widiger, 2001), in which expert generated prototypes (that use all 30 FFM facets)
are matched to individuals’ FFM profiles, a simple sum of the most characteristic FFM facets
will be used to obtain one’s charismatic personality score. The result can be considered as a
“compound trait”, which is a linear combination of narrower personality facets that do not all
co-vary (Shoss & Witt, 2013). The FFM count technique has proven to be a valid method to
represent personality disorders in terms of convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity
(e.g., De Fruyt et al., 2009; Miller et al., 2005; Miller, Reynolds, & Pilkonis, 2004; Wille, De
Fruyt, & De Clercq, 2013a). For instance, Miller et al. (2005) demonstrated that the more
easily calculated FFM counts perform as well as similarity scores that are generated by the
prototype matching technique, in the sense that they are equally successful in predicting
personality disorder symptoms. Further, the FFM count technique has proven to be a useful
methodology to conceptualize and operationalize aberrant personality tendencies in the work
context (e.g., De Fruyt et al., 2009; De Fruyt, Wille, & Furnham, 2013; Wille et al., 2013a).
With regard to the FFM charisma compound, we expect the experts to rate a
prototypical charismatic leader as low on certain Neuroticism facets, and high on different
Extraversion facets (Bono & Judge, 2004). As for the relations of charisma with the other Big
Five traits, expectations are less clear. Because of the exploratory nature of an expert
consensus approach, no a priori hypothesis are formulated.
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 6
Construct validity of the FFM charisma compound
Once a FFM charisma compound is obtained as an operationalization of what we
believe to represent “charismatic personality” or “charismatic personality tendencies”, we aim
to provide evidence for its construct validity. With regard to this validation process, it is
important to distinguish between formative constructs, and reflective constructs (MacKenzie,
Podsakoff, & Jarvis, 2005). If the indicators represent defining characteristics that collectively
explain the meaning of the construct, a formative indicator measurement model applies. If,
however, the indicators are manifestations of the construct in the sense that they are each
determined by it, a reflective indicator model is appropriate.
In the present paper, we conceptualize charismatic personality as a unique
constellation of characteristics that are combined in one and the same person (i.e., a formative
construct). The reason is that, very much like transformational leadership (see MacKenzie et
al., 2005), charismatic personality is formed by components that are conceptually distinct, that
are likely to have different antecedents and/or consequences, and that are not interchangeable.
This for example shows in the fact that it is not difficult to imagine a person who is low on
neuroticism but also low on extraversion (with low neuroticism and high extraversion being
two characteristics of charismatic people (see Bono & Judge, 2004)). When charismatic
personality would be a reflective construct, the neuroticism and extraversion scores should be
determined by it and therefore a low neuroticism - low extraversion constellation should
logically not appear (instead, low neuroticism should always be accompanied by high
extraversion). In sum, because the FFM charisma characteristics are conceptually distinct, are
not expected to co-vary, and are not interchangeable, we modeled charismatic personality as a
formative construct.
Specifying charismatic personality as a formative construct has important implications
for the validation process of the construct. Although one could use a composite- instead of a
common latent construct CFA model (i.e., for reflective constructs), testing the structural
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 7
validity of a compound construct is not conventional (e.g., Lynam & Widiger, 2001; Miller,
Lynam, Widiger, & Leukefeld, 2001), nor particularly informative. Instead, attention must be
paid to the nomological or criterion-related validity of the construct, such as its correlation
with valid criteria or with a validated measure of the same construct. Regardless of whether
the indicators are formative or reflective, test-retest reliability is also useful to evaluate the
construct’s validity (MacKenzie et al., 2005). Because of these reasons, the validity of the
FFM charisma compound will be investigated in terms of (a) convergent validity; (b) test-
retest reliability; and (c) predictive validity in the present paper.
Convergent Validity
A first question that will be addressed in this validation process is whether leaders
with a charismatic personality, as defined by their scores on the FFM charisma compound, are
also rated as highly charismatic by (a) themselves, and (b) by their subordinates. To examine
this question, we assessed leader’s self-perceptions of charismatic leadership and
subordinates’ perceptions of their leaders’ charismatic leadership styles using a widely
accepted charisma instrument, namely the Conger-Kanungo Scale (CKS; Conger, Kanungo,
Menon, & Mathur, 1997) of charismatic leadership. As charisma concerns personal
characteristics that allow an individual to influence other people by affecting their feelings,
opinions, and behaviors (Riggio, 2009), charismatic personality tendencies should be
reflected in the eye of the beholder, and thus in both self-perceptions of leader charisma and
followers’ attributions of the leader’s charisma.
Hypothesis 1. FFM charisma relates positively to self-perceptions of leader charisma
and to followers’ attributions of charismatic leadership.
Test-retest Reliability
Moreover, another aspect of this validation process relates to the long-term stability of
the FFM charisma compound (cf. test-retest reliability). Given that the FFM personality traits
are relatively stable over time (Cobb-Clark & Schurer, 2012; Roberts & DelVecchio, 2000),
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 8
and the FFM charisma compound is a linear combination of FFM facets, we can expect FFM
charisma to be relatively stable as well. Despite the presence of several major life events in
the particular life stage we are investigating (i.e., between 23 and 38 years old), such as
graduation from college, entering a specific career, and most likely getting married and
having children, we can expect a relatively high rank-order stability. Based on meta-analytic
population estimates of trait consistency in the age categories 22-29 (ρ = .57) and 30-39 (ρ =
.62) (Roberts & DelVecchio, 2000), we expect the test-retest correlation to be around r = .60
for this specific age group.
Hypothesis 2. FFM charisma will show a stability coefficient around .60 across a 15-
year time span.
Predictive Validity
A final and crucial step in the validation process of the FFM count relates to the ability
of FFM charisma to predict work-related outcomes. This step is of particular importance to
I/O psychologists as it allows relating FFM charisma to meaningful outcomes in the future. In
the current study, we chose to incorporate a broad range of outcomes, as charismatic
personality may have differential associations with various criteria. Specifically, the
predictive validity of the FFM charisma compound will be investigated with respect to (a)
extrinsic career success; (b) career roles; and (c) job performance.
Consistent with other studies, we conceptualize extrinsic career success as a construct
that includes the income level of the employee, the number of subordinates, and the current
managerial level (e.g., Dries, Pepermans, Hofmans, & Rypens, 2009; Wille, De Fruyt, & De
Clercq, 2013a). Commonly, a distinction is made between intrinsic and extrinsic career
success (Judge, Higgins, Thoresen, & Barrick, 1999; Wille et al. 2013a). Whereas intrinsic
success is more subjective, for instance one’s level of career satisfaction, extrinsic success is
relatively objective and tangible. According to the career success model (Judge & Kammeyer-
Mueller, 2007), one important mechanism through which career success is obtained concerns
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 9
social behavior. Social behavior is referred to as the capabilities to build and sustain social
relationships at work, which are considered to be manifestations of underlying personality
traits. Given that charismatic leaders have a tendency to be extraverted and display high levels
of social behavior (Bono & Judge, 2004), we expect charismatic personality tendencies to
relate to higher career success. Specifically, as charismatic leaders usually are inspirational,
energetic, and optimistic about the future, and have the ability to evoke enthusiasm, and
commitment in their followers by using excellent rhetoric abilities (e.g., Emrich, Brower,
Feldman, & Garland, 2001), climbing the career ladder more easily can be expected. This is
consistent with previous research demonstrating positive associations between CEO charisma
and career success markers, such as salary (Tosi, Misangyi, Fanelli, Waldman, & Yammarino,
2004). Therefore, the following hypothesis is proposed:
Hypothesis 3. FFM charisma is positively related to extrinsic career success,
indicating that highly charismatic personalities will have a higher salary, a higher
number of subordinates, and a higher managerial level.
Although extrinsic career success markers are informative, these outcomes might be
better indicators for career success, or leadership in general, than for charismatic leadership.
Therefore, we do not only look at career success, but also at specific career roles that people
are embedded in. In particular, we will study whether college alumni with a highly
charismatic personality are more likely to find themselves in a charismatic leadership-related
career role 15 years later. According to the Career Roles Model (CRM; Hoekstra, 2011),
career roles are considered to be the building blocks of individual careers, and can be
described as enduring aspects of work roles that an employee identifies with. In a job with a
certain level of autonomy, six career roles can be distinguished that are potentially attainable
according to the CRM (Hoekstra, 2011). The Maker role is focused on producing tangible
results, and pertains to employees making things happen. A second career role, that is also
focused on individual performance, is the Expert role. In the latter role, however, the focus is
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 10
on problem solving rather than on realizing a preset goal. Further, the Presenter and Guide
role can be defined in the realm of interaction with others. Here, role takers can be
distinguished by their focus on convincing and influencing others, or helping others to move
towards their goals, respectively. Finally, the Director and Inspirator roles fit into the domain
of collective developments of groups and organizations. While the Director role focuses on
attaining long term goals and collective success, the Inspirator role focuses on strategic
change processes by exploring ideals, values and principles shared by the collective.
According to gravitation theories (Donohue, 2006; Woods & Hampson, 2010) people
actively shape their work environment to enhance person-environment fit. On these grounds,
one can assume that people progress through their career into roles that fit their personality.
Note that a longitudinal design is indispensable to investigate the predictive validity of the
FFM charisma compound in relation to career roles. In contrast, concurrent relationships
between charisma and career roles can be explained by the role one is currently in. For
instance, people in Inspirator roles probably have to behave in a charismatic way because they
are currently in an Inspirator role. In the current study, we are specifically interested in how
charismatic personalities ‘gravitate’ toward career roles that fit their needs 15 years later.
As charismatic leaders typically emphasize collective identity, communicate a
collective mission and pursue collective goals and interests (Bass, 1985; Conger & Kanungo,
1998), we expect highly charismatic personalities to end up more easily in a Director and
Inspirator role 15 years later. Moreover, as one of the hallmarks of the charismatic leader
involves displaying exceptional strategic vision and articulation (Conger et al., 1997) using
advanced rhetoric abilities (e.g., Emrich et al., 2001), we further expect a positive association
with the Presenter role. Regarding the relation between charismatic personality and the Guide
role, we also predict a positive association. Although the Guide role is very typical for a broad
range of helping professions, this role is also seen in management positions, in which it is
more focused on committing and connecting others, rather than on offering concrete help
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 11
(Hoekstra, 2011). Finally, given the strong emphasis on independent individual production in
both the Maker and the Expert role (Hoekstra, 2011), we do not expect to find a longitudinal
association with charismatic personality. This is in line with Conger (1990), who raised that
charismatic leaders may become so excited by their mission, that the implementation of their
ideas hangs back. In that perspective, these career roles may have a better fit with positions as
performant subordinates, instead of leaders.
Hypothesis 4. FFM charisma is positively related to the (leadership-related) Director
and Guide roles, and to the (charismatic leadership-related) Inspirator and Presenter
roles.
As a final set of outcomes potentially related to charismatic personality, we included
three subtypes of job performance: task-, contextual-, and adaptive performance. Although the
distinction between task and contextual performance is well established (e.g., Borman &
Motowidlo, 1997), increased attention is being devoted to a third dimension of performance:
adaptive performance (e.g., Griffin, Neal, & Parker, 2007; Jundt, Shoss, & Huang, 2015;
Pulakos, Arad, Donovan, & Plamondon, 2000). Task performance refers to quality of work
regarding one’s job responsibilities (see Renn & Fedor, 2001). Contextual performance taps
into the interpersonal facilitation dimension by Van Scotter and Motowidlo (1996), including
cooperative acts that assist coworkers’ performance. Finally, adaptive performance refers to
dealing appropriately with uncertain, unpredictable, or crisis situations at work (see Pulakos et
al., 2000).
Charismatic leaders are more likely to emerge in situations of crises (Pillai, 1996;
House & Aditya, 1997), and in environments characterized by a high degree of challenge and
opportunities for change (De Hoogh et al., 2005). Further, it has been shown that charismatic
leadership is most effective under conditions of environmental uncertainty (Waldman,
Ramirez & House, 1996). A high level of adaptive performance is thus needed to operate
effectively in these types of environments. With regard to task and contextual performance,
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 12
charismatic leadership has been found to influence subordinates’ task performance (Judge &
Piccolo, 2004) as well as contextual performance (Wang, Law, Hackett, Wang, & Chen,
2005). As we expect the highly charismatic personalities to be more likely to hold leadership
positions (cf. Hypothesis 3), their focus might be less on individual task and contextual
performance. Taken together, we hypothesize a positive relationship between charismatic
personality and adaptive performance. As for the relation of FFM charisma with task and
contextual performance, no a priori hypotheses will be formulated.
Hypothesis 5. FFM charisma is positively related to adaptive performance.
Plan of Study
The current manuscript includes two studies. Using an expert consensus approach,
Study 1 aims to get in-depth information regarding the core personality traits of a charismatic
leader in order to develop a FFM charisma compound. In Study 2, convergent validity, test-
retest reliability, and predictive validity evidence in terms of career-relevant outcomes will be
provided for the proposed FFM charisma compound. Specifically, associations between FFM
charisma and (a) extrinsic career success; (b) career roles; and (c) job performance will be
investigated over a 15 year time period.
STUDY 1:
Construction of the FFM charisma compound
Materials and Methods
Participants and Procedure
Experts in the field of leadership and personality research were invited to participate in
an expert panel. A similar procedure was followed as in Lynam and Widiger (2001), in which
expert generated FFM prototypes were obtained for personality disorders. To be included in
this panel, significant expertise with charismatic leadership and personality profiling was
required. Through electronic searches on the Web of Science using the search terms
“charisma”, “charismatic”, “personality”, “Big Five”, “NEO PI-R”, 58 experts were
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 13
identified. As such, researchers had to have at least one publication within the leadership
domain. Moreover, 24 practitioners active in the (international) field of leadership
consultancy were contacted to participate in the expert panel. Of these 82 experts, 38
completed the online survey (i.e., 46.34 %). Most of the experts were male (84%), and their
mean age was 42.47 years (SD = 11.88). Participants were highly educated, holding a PhD
(76%) or a Master’s degree (24%). The experts originated from the United States (29%),
Belgium (21%), the Netherlands (15%), Germany (11%), United Kingdom (8%), Canada
(5%), Switzerland (5%), Singapore (3%), and France (3%). Moreover, 90% (N = 34)
indicated to be I/O psychologists, and 10% (N = 4) indicated to be applied personality
researchers. In terms of occupational profiles, the experts indicated to be mainly (26%) or
exclusively (47%) academic, as much academic as practitioner (13%), or mainly (8%) or
exclusively (6%) practitioner.
To obtain prototype descriptions of the charismatic leader, a similar procedure was
followed as in Lynam and Widiger (2001). For each of the 30 NEO personality traits, experts
were asked to rate the prototypical case of a charismatic leader on a l-to-9 scale. The label of
each of the 30 NEO PI-R facets was provided (e.g., modesty) along with two to four
adjectives that described both poles of the trait dimension. For example, modesty was
assessed using the following descriptors: confident, boastful, arrogant (extremely low), versus
meek, self-effacing, humble (extremely high). Adjectives were adopted from Lynam and
Widiger (2001), who relied on the NEO PI-R test manual and the FFM adjective checklists
(Costa & McCrae, 1992), except for the adjectives for the facet positive emotions (i.e., placid,
anhedonic versus high-spirited), that were taken from the National Character Survey (i.e.,
somber, sober versus happy, cheerful, joyous; McCrae & Terracciano, 2006). As descriptions
of charismatic leadership already include important personality-related adjectives, the experts
were not primed or steered with a definition of charismatic leadership, as this was intertwined
with their task to describe the prototypical charismatic leader in terms of personality traits.
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 14
Experts were assured that their individual ratings would be held confidential and aggregated
with the other expert ratings. The specific instructions read as follows (see Lynam & Widiger,
2001):
We would like you to describe the prototypic case for a successful
charismatic leader on a 1 to 9 point scale, where 1 indicates that the
prototypic charismatic leader would be extremely low on the trait, 5 indicates
that the charismatic leader would typically have an average score on the
trait, and 9 indicates that the successful charismatic leader would be
extremely high on that trait. For traits that are deemed irrelevant to describe
the prototypical case of a successful charismatic leader, please indicate
irrelevant” (IR).
For example, for the vulnerability trait dimension, a score of 1 would indicate
that the prototypical case of a successful charismatic leader is evaluated as
extremely low in vulnerability (i.e., stalwart, brave, fearless, unflappable),
whereas a score of 9 would indicate that the successful charismatic leader is
assessed as extremely high in vulnerability (i.e., fragile, helpless). A score of
5 would indicate that the successful charismatic leader is expected to have an
average score on vulnerability, while an endorsement of “irrelevant” (IR)
would indicate that the vulnerability trait dimension is not a meaningful
personality descriptor of this professional profile (in other words: successful
charismatic leaders may as well score extremely high, extremely low, or
average on this trait). Please rate the prototypic case for a successful
charismatic leader on each of the 30 trait dimensions.
Two criteria were used in order to select the NEO facets that will form the FFM
charisma compound. First, the most characteristic traits were selected by using cut-off scores
on the mean expert ratings on the 30 facets. Facets that are rated as prototypically high (≥ 7)
or prototypically low (≤ 3) were selected for inclusion in the FFM charisma compound (see
Miller et al., 2005). Second, there had to be sufficient agreement among the experts regarding
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 15
the prototypical score on each of the selected facets. Therefore, inter-rater agreements (IRA)
had to be sufficiently high (i.e., IRA of .71 to .90; LeBreton & Senter, 2008).
Results
The charismatic personality prototype descriptions
Table 1 provides means and standard deviations of the expert ratings for each of the 30
NEO facets. Similar as in Miller et al. (2005), facets that were rated as prototypically high (≥
7) or prototypically low (≤ 3) are summed together to obtain a FFM count score (i.e., FFM
count technique; see Miller et al., 2005). To allow for enough differentiation on the trait
continuum, we used a 9-point rating scale instead of a 5-point scale. Hence, the cut-offs we
used for inclusion in the FFM charisma compound, were proportional to the cut-offs used by
Miller et al. (2005) (i.e., ≥ 4 and ≤ 2 for a 5-point scale). Following this procedure, 12 facets
were selected for inclusion in the FFM charisma compound: four Neuroticism facets (i.e.,
anxiety, depression, self-consciousness, and vulnerability), five Extraversion facets (i.e.,
warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, and positive emotions), two Openness facets
(i.e., actions and values), and one Conscientiousness facet (i.e., achievement striving). Before
computing the FFM charisma count, however, the Neuroticism facets that are considered to
be prototypically low for the charismatic leader must be reverse scored (i.e., indicated by (r)
in the formula below). In this way, all facets are framed in the same direction so that high
scores on the FFM charisma compound indicate high levels of charismatic personality. None
of the selected facets was indicated as “irrelevant” by the experts. The expert consensus
approach resulted in the following FFM charisma count score:
FFM charisma = N1 (r) + N3 (r) + N4 (r) + N6 (r) + E1 + E2 + E3 + E4 +
E6 + O4 + O6 + C4
In summary, the experts described the prototypical charismatic leader to be low on
several Neuroticism facets, indicating that that they are in general relaxed, unconcerned, cool
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 16
(N1 (r): low on anxiety); optimistic (N3 (r): low on depression); self-assured, glib, shameless
(N4 (r): low on self-consciousness); clear-thinking, fearless, and unflappable (N6 (r): low on
vulnerability). Moreover, the experts rated the charismatic leader as typically high on all
Extraversion facets, except for excitement seeking. This means that the charismatic leader
tends to be cordial, affectionate, attached (E1: high on warmth); sociable, outgoing (E2: high
on gregariousness); dominant, forceful (E3: high on assertiveness); vigorous, energetic, active
(E4: high on activity); happy, cheerful, and joyous (E6: high on positive emotions). Further,
two Openness facets have been indicated to be prototypically high for the charismatic leader,
namely actions (O4: unconventional, eccentric) and values (O6: permissive, broad-minded).
Finally, within the Conscientiousness domain, achievement striving (C4: workaholic,
ambitious) is perceived to be high in charismatic leaders, and none of the Agreeableness
facets came out as a relevant personality-related description of the prototypical charismatic
leader.
Agreement among experts
For estimating the rwg(j) inter-rater agreement (IRA) coefficients (James, Demaree, &
Wolf, 1984) among the experts, the procedures developed by LeBreton and Senter (2008)
were followed. In particular, prior to calculating IRA estimates, our data was restructured
such that raters became variables. Next, the observed variance within each NEO facet across
the experts (obs_var) was estimated. Finally, a uniform null distribution was used in the
computation of rwg(j) for the NEO facet scales, such that each response option had an equal
chance of being selected by a judge. For a 9-point scale, this resulted in an expected error
variance (σ2E) of 6.67 (see Table 2 in LeBreton & Senter, 2008), to estimate rwg(j) as 1 -
(obs_var/6.67). To evaluate the level of rating similarity, guidelines of LeBreton and Senter
(2008) were used (p. 836). As the results in Table 1 show, there exists a strong agreement
among the experts (IRA of .71 to .90) for the majority of the selected facets. For two of the
chosen facets, i.e. Self-consciousness (.70) and Warmth (.65), there was a moderate
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 17
agreement among the experts (IRA of 51 to .70). On average, the within group agreement for
the selected FFM facets was strong (Average rwg = .80). To conclude, the 12 facets forming
the FFM charisma compound meet the criteria of (1) being described as highly characteristic
for the charismatic leader, (2) with sufficient agreement among the experts.
STUDY 2:
Construct- and predictive validity of the FFM charisma compound
Materials and Methods
Procedure and Participants
Sample 1. To provide initial convergent validity evidence for the FFM charisma
compound, Belgian leaders (N = 41) completed the first half NEO PI-R (McCrae & Costa,
2007), and both the leaders as well as their direct subordinates (N = 41) completed the
Conger-Kanungo Scale (Conger et al., 1997) to evaluate the leaders’ charismatic leadership
style. Leader-subordinate dyads were recruited by a final year undergraduate student in the
context of a master’s thesis research. Among the participating organizations were a real estate
firm (35%), a retail company (23%), a chemistry firm (16%), a hospital (14%), and a telecom
company (12%). After the management had expressed their commitment to participate,
employees in a leadership position were informed about the study by email, including a
noncommittal request to participate through an online survey. Each of the targets was asked to
nominate one direct subordinate who was able to evaluate their superior. To encourage honest
responses, confidentiality was guaranteed to both the target leaders as well as their
subordinates. Participating leaders were on average 38.63 years old (SD = 10.64), and 66%
were male. Target leaders had a mean tenure in their current job of 7.87 years (SD = 8.28),
and had on average 12.41 (SD = 12.83) subordinates.
Sample 2. To test the predictive validity of the FFM charisma compound, this study
relied on the “1994 Ghent alumni sample” a sample of Dutch-speaking undergraduate
alumni who participate in a longitudinal research project on personality development and
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 18
career trajectories (see also De Fruyt, 2002; De Fruyt & Mervielde, 1999; Wille et al., 2013a;
Wille, Beyers, & De Fruyt, 2012; Wille, De Fruyt, & Feys, 2013b; Wille, Hofmans, Feys, &
De Fruyt, 2014). In 1994 (Time 1; T1), 934 college students from a large variety of faculties
completed the NEO PI-R three months prior to graduation. Fifteen years later, in 2009 (Time
2; T2), a follow-up study was conducted when the participants’ career had unfolded. Data
were used from a subsample of 262 participants from whom we have personality information
in 1994 (T1) and 2009 (T2), and relevant career indicators in 2009 (T2). As the Ghent alumni
cohort was still studying at T1, career outcomes could only be assessed at T2. Fifty-two
percent of this sample was male, and the mean age was 37.22 years at T2 (SD = 1.21). The
participants were occupied in a broad range of companies from different employment sectors.
Studies part of this research project already illustrated the importance of Big Five traits with
regard to initial job choice, early career work adjustment, work attitudes, work-family
conflict, and career transitions (De Fruyt, 2002; De Fruyt & Mervielde, 1999; Wille et al.,
2012; Wille et al., 2013b, Wille et al., 2014). Moreover, the validity of FFM aberrant
compounds (e.g., antisocial personality disorder (PD) compound, narcissistic PD compound,
borderline PD compound) to predict intrinsic and extrinsic career outcomes was investigated
(Wille et al., 2013a). The current study is the first to focus on the predictive validity of
charismatic personality (i.e., FFM charisma) for a broad range of career outcomes. As in
Wille et al. (2013a), extrinsic career outcomes are selected as relevant criteria in relation to
FFM charisma. Different than Wille et al. (2013a), this study further takes into account six
career roles, and three subtypes of job performance as relevant career outcomes.
Measures
Charismatic Personality. The FFM charisma compound was used to measure
participantscharismatic personality. Leaders in Sample 1 completed the first half NEO PI-R
to obtain FFM charisma scores. The NEO PI-R First Half consists of the first 120 items of the
NEO PI-R, including four items for each of the 30 facets. Evidence is accumulating that brief
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 19
versions of the NEO Personality Inventories, consisting of 120 items instead of the original
240, are good and time-saving alternatives for research, advantaged by the retention of fine-
grained descriptions of personality in terms of NEO facets (e.g., NEO PI-3 First Half in
McCrae & Costa, 2007; NEO PI-R Short Form in Mooi et al., 2011; IPIP-NEO-120 in
Johnson, 2014). In Sample 1, the internal consistency of the FFM charisma compound (48
items) was .88. In Sample 2, participants completed the full NEO PI-R in both phases of the
longitudinal design. Cronbach alpha’s for the FFM charisma compound (96 items) were .93
when the NEO PI-R was administered for the first time (T1), and .94 when the sample rated
their personalities 15 years later (T2). In Sample 2, FFM charisma (48 items) based on the
first half NEO PI-R, including four items per facet, correlated .97 with FFM charisma (96
items) based on the full NEO PI-R comprising eight items per facet.
Charismatic Leadership. In Sample 1, both leaders and their respective subordinates
provided ratings on charismatic leadership using the 20-item Conger-Kanungo Scale (CKS;
Conger et al., 1997). The CKS contains five subscales of charismatic behavior: strategic
vision and articulation (7 items), personal risk (3 items), sensitivity to the environment (4
items), sensitivity to members’ needs (3 items), and unconventional behavior (3 items). Items
were rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not characteristic) to 5 (very
characteristic). Example items are “Inspirational able to motivate by articulating effectively
the importance of what organizational members are doing”, and “Engages in unconventional
behavior in order to achieve organizational goals. Cronbach alphas of the charismatic
leadership scale were .85 and .73 for the self- and subordinate-ratings respectively, indicating
a high level of internal consistency.
Extrinsic Career Success. To obtain extrinsic career success markers, participants of
Sample 2 provided information on their monthly salary before taxes (i.e., income), managerial
level of their current job, and number of subordinates at Time 2. Monthly salary was
measured in twelve categories ranging from lower to higher income levels. Managerial level
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 20
was measured in five categories between 1 (= no managerial position) and 5 (= top manager
in a large company). Number of subordinates was measured on a 6-point scale ranging
between 1 (= no subordinates) and 6 (= 100 or more subordinates). As such, the three career
success markers were measured in an ordinal manner.
Career Roles. Participants of Sample 2 completed the 30-item Career Roles
Questionnaire (CRQ; Hoekstra, 2011) at Time 2. Each of the six career roles were measured
by means of five items: Maker role (e.g., “Enjoy doing the utmost in the activity of carrying
out a task”), Expert role (e.g., “Explicate the way complex systems work), Presenter role
(e.g., “Present an idea in such a way that all are impressed”), Guide role (e.g., “Achieve
something with a person by empathic understanding), Director role (e.g., Take the lead in
confusing situations”), and Inspirator role (e.g., “Inspire the people around me with a story
from the heart”). Respondents were asked to indicate how well each statement described the
role they typically had in their work on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (= not at all) to 7 (= very
well). Cronbach alphas of the scales were good, ranging between .85 (for Inspirator) and .92
(for Guide).
Job Performance. In Sample 1, leaders were evaluated by direct subordinates on their
job performance. In Sample 2, participants provided self-ratings on their performance at Time
2. In both Samples, three performance areas were assessed: task performance (3 items; e.g.,
Delivers work with a minimal number of errors and instances of carelessness), contextual
performance (4 items; e.g., Helps someone without being asked), and adaptive performance
(4 items; e.g., Deals with unpredictable and unexpected work situations appropriately). The
full item set can be found in the Appendix. All performance items were rated on a 5-point
Likert scale ranging from 1 (not characteristic) to 5 (very characteristic). Self-rated task (α =
.78), contextual (α = .74), and adaptive (α = .70) performance had a high level of internal
consistency in Sample 2. Cronbach alphas for the subordinate-rated performance scales in
Sample 1 were somewhat lower: α = .63 for task performance, α = .75 for contextual
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 21
performance, and α = .65 for adaptive performance. To test whether the 3-factor structure
fitted the data well, a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted in Mplus version 7.3. To
evaluate model fit, we relied on the Root Mean Square of Error of Approximation (RMSEA),
with values of ≤ .10 pointing to an acceptable fit, values .08 pointing to an approximate
model fit, and values .05 suggesting a good model fit (Chen, Curran, Bollen, Kirby, &
Paxton, 2008). Moreover, we also used the Comparative Fit Index (CFI) and the Tucker
Lewis Index (TLI), for which a value of .90 suggests an adequate model fit. Finally, we also
checked the Standardized root mean square residual (SRMR), for which a value of ≤ .08
refers to a good model fit (Hu & Bentler, 1999). The results revealed that the 3-factor model
of performance fitted the data well in both the self-rated version (Sample 2: RMSEA = .05;
CFI = .95; TLI = .94; SRMR = .05) and the subordinate-rated version (Sample 1: RMSEA =
.00; CFI = 1; TLI = 1; SRMR = .08). All descriptive statistics, correlations, and internal
consistencies of the study variables are reported in Table 2 (for Sample 1) and Table 3 (for
Sample 2).
Results
Convergent Validity
Consistent with our expectations (Hypothesis 1), correlational analyses in Sample 1
demonstrate that self-rated charismatic personality (FFM charisma) is positively related to
both subordinate-rated charismatic leadership (CKS; r = .38, p < .05) as well as to self-rated
charismatic leadership behavior (CKS; r = .59, p < .001) (see Table 2). Moreover, the FFM
charisma compound accounts for respectively 15% and 39% of the variance in charismatic
leadership, as rated by direct subordinates (F(1,39) = 6.62, p < .05), and the leaders
themselves (F(1,39) = 24.71, p < .001).
Test-retest Reliability
Cross-time stability coefficients for the FFM charisma compound were calculated in
Sample 2, between Time 1 and Time 2 (see Table 3). The test-retest correlation for FFM
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 22
charisma was .68 (p < .001), indicating relatively high rank-order stability over a 15-year time
period (Hypothesis 2).
Predictive Validity
Both concurrent and longitudinal associations between FFM charisma and career
outcomes were examined in Sample 2. The relationships between FFM charisma (T2) and
career outcomes (T2) are referred to as “concurrent” associations, whereas the relationships
between FFM charisma (T1) and career outcomes (T2) are referred to as “longitudinal”
associations. To investigate these associations, 24 hierarchical regression analyses (1
predictor × 12 career outcomes × 2 time points) were conducted. As sex is likely to
influence career success outcomes (e.g., Baruch & Bozionelos, 2011), we included sex as a
control variable in each of the regression models (Step 1), followed by FFM charisma (Step
2). To investigate concurrent and longitudinal associations with career outcomes, FFM
charisma at T2 and T1 respectively served as the predictor variable. Twelve career outcomes
at T2 (i.e., 3 extrinsic career success markers, 6 career roles, and 3 types of job performance)
served as the dependent variables. Results are summarized in Table 4.
Moreover, relationships between FFM charisma and job performance were also
examined in Sample 1, in which job performance was subordinate-rated. Here again, a series
of three hierarchical regressions were conducted, in which sex was entered in a first step
followed by FFM charisma in a second step.
Extrinsic Career Success. Concurrent and longitudinal associations between FFM
charisma and extrinsic career success markers were examined in Sample 2. The results in
Table 4 confirmed our expectations regarding the relationship with career success
(Hypothesis 3). Specifically, income (T2) was significantly positively related to FFM
charisma after controlling for sex, both concurrently (T2: β = .24, p < .001) as well as
longitudinally (T1: β = .25, p < .001). With regard to number of subordinates (T2), positive
associations with FFM charisma were also consistently found (T1: β = .18, p < .01; T2: β =
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 23
.32, p < .001). Finally, we found managerial level (T2) to be positively related with FFM
charisma from a concurrent (T2: β = .27, p < .001) and longitudinal (T1: β = .12, p < .05)
perspective.
Career Roles. Relationships between FFM charisma and career roles were examined
in Sample 2. As can be seen in Table 4, four career roles have significant and consistent
relationships with FFM charisma, i.e. Presenter, Guide, Director, and Inspirator roles
(Hypothesis 4). Although the strength of the associations between these career roles and FFM
charisma is somewhat higher when personality and career roles were assessed concurrently at
T2 (T2: β = .30, .24, .38, and .28 for Presenter, Guide, Director, and Inspirator respectively, p
< .001), the Presenter (β = .19), Guide (β = .18), Director (β = .19), and Inspirator (β = .15)
role still relate to FFM charisma (T1) across a 15-year time-span. The Maker role, on the
other hand, was only significantly related to FFM charisma when personality was measured at
T2 (β = .19, p < .01), and the Expert role was unrelated to FFM charisma (T1: β = .11; T2: β =
.06, p > .05).
Job Performance. Relationships between FFM charisma and job performance were
examined in both samples (Hypothesis 5). In Sample 1, where job performance was rated by
direct subordinates of the leaders, we found a significant relationship between FFM charisma
and adaptive performance (β = .33, p < .05), indicating that highly charismatic personalities
tend to deal more appropriately with uncertain, unpredictable, or crisis situations at work. No
significant relationship was found between FFM charisma and both task- and contextual
performance (β = -.05 and -.04 respectively, p > .05). In Sample 2, where job performance
was self-rated both concurrently and longitudinally, we found consistent relationships
between FFM charisma and contextual- (T1: β = .17, p < .01; T2: β = .28, p < .001) and
adaptive performance (T1: β = .29, p < .001; T2: β = .42, p < .001). Again, no significant
relationship was found between FFM charisma and task performance (T1: β = -.07, p > .05;
T2: β = -.05, p > .05).
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 24
Discussion
Despite several attempts to identify the dispositional building blocks of charismatic
leadership, charisma is still very much a “black box”. Inspired by innovative approaches in
the clinical literature on personality disorders (Lynam & Widiger, 2001; Miller et al., 2005),
the current study is the first to propose a FFM charisma compound, as a personality-based
operationalization of charisma. Compared to research that focuses on the relationships
between charisma and isolated personality traits, our study focuses on a meaningful collection
of traits that underlie charisma, thereby taking an integrative rather than a fragmented
perspective on the individual. In what follows, we will summarize and discuss the major
findings.
First, a FFM profile for the prototypical charismatic leader was proposed relying on
ratings of experts in the field of leadership and personality. We sought to extend the five
factor model understanding of charismatic leadership (e.g., Bono & Judge, 2004) by focusing
on facet level information, and by considering the specific combination of traits which is most
relevant for understanding and predicting work-related and career outcomes (Shoss & Witt,
2013). Agreement among the expert raters was relatively high. The lowest interrater
agreements were obtained within the Agreeableness domain. Consistent with this, none of the
Agreeableness facets came out as a relevant personality-related descriptor of the prototypical
charismatic leader. This disagreement aligns with previous research that has shown divergent
associations between charismatic leadership and Agreeableness-related constructs. On the one
hand, charismatic leadership has been related to individualized consideration and empathic
understanding, which is positively associated with Agreeableness (e.g., Judge & Bono, 2000).
On the other hand, charismatic leadership has been related to overconfidence, hubris, and
narcissism (Deluga, 1997; House & Howell, 1992; Sankowsky, 1995; Popper, 2002) which
are negatively associated with Agreeableness (e.g., Furnham & Crump, 2014). Consistent
with these complexities, some of the experts noticed in the closing remarks of the survey that
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 25
they kept in mind the potential “dark side” of charisma (Conger, 1990; Howell, 1988),
including narcissistic, exploitative, and non-egalitarian tendencies (Judge et al., 2009).
Nevertheless, it seems that the modesty and kindness of agreeable persons is not the hallmark
of charismatic leaders, an idea also expressed by Bono and Judge (2004).
Once an expert-generated-prototype for the charismatic leader was established, its
convergent validity, cross-time stability, and predictive validity in terms of career outcomes
was investigated. Here, we provided initial convergent validity evidence using both self-
ratings and subordinate-ratings of charismatic leadership. Specifically, the combination of an
observed association between FFM charisma and charismatic leadership of r = .59 for the
self-ratings and r = .38 for the subordinate-ratings can be interpreted as relatively strong when
keeping in mind that (1) the relationship between two different constructs was investigated,
namely a personality measure (FFM charisma) and a measure of leadership behavior (CKS
charismatic leadership), which is assumed to be a manifestation of the underlying personality
core, and (2) the association between FFM charisma and subordinate-rated charismatic
leadership concerns two different rater perspectives. For instance, the results by De Vries
(2012) suggested that the relatively weak associations between personality and leadership
styles are mainly due to the relatively low levels of self-other agreement between leaders and
subordinates. Provided that other studies reported levels of self-other agreement among
leaders and subordinates on the exact same variables of r = .15 (i.e., for transformational
leadership, Judge, LePine, & Rich, 2006), we can be confident that FFM charisma taps into
charismatic leadership. Further, self-rated FFM charisma accounted for 15 % of the variability
in observer-rated charismatic leadership. Compared to Bono and Judge’s (2004) meta-
analysis, in which they concluded that the Big Five traits accounted for 12 % of the variability
in charisma, this is not a big improvement. However, comparison is difficult as we
investigated the proportion of explained variance of one compound trait, instead of five
separate personality domains (Bono & judge, 2004). To increase comparability, this share
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 26
increases to 46 % when the 12 personality traits of the FFM charisma compound are entered
separately into the regression analysis. Taken together, preliminary evidence was found that
charismatic personality tendencies are indeed reflected in the eye of the beholder, i.e., in
followers’ attributions of the leader’s charisma.
With regard to the long-term stability of the FFM charisma compound, we found a
test-retest correlation coefficient of .68, which is relatively high (Roberts & DelVecchio,
2000). Despite the major life events in the age group we are investigating (23 38 years old),
for instance graduating, entering careers, and most likely being married and have children, we
can conclude that charismatic personality tendencies are relatively stable over time.
Finally, the current study provided predictive validity evidence for FFM charisma in
terms of career outcomes. First, the results supported our expectations regarding the
relationship with three different extrinsic career outcomes. Higher charismatic tendencies are
related to higher income levels, more subordinates, and a higher managerial position, across a
15-year time span. Second, individuals with charismatic tendencies are more inclined to hold
a role as Director, Inspirator, Presenter, and Guide in their future careers. Although the
Director and Guide role are conceptually related to a leadership role in general, the Presenter
and the Inspirator role connect particularly to the charismatic leadership role (e.g., Bass,
1985; Conger & Kanungo, 1998; Emrich et al., 2001). Further, a concurrent relationship was
also found with the Maker role, which was inconsistent with our expectations given the strong
emphasis on independent individual production in this role (Hoekstra, 2011). Although the
association was smaller in magnitude than the relations we expected to find, and the
relationship did not hold longitudinally, future research using observer ratings of career roles
in addition to self-ratings may further shed light on this.
Finally, associations between FFM charisma and job performance were investigated in
two samples: One cross-sectional sample using subordinate ratings of performance, and one
longitudinal sample using self-ratings of performance. Overall, the only consistent
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 27
relationship was found between FFM charisma and adaptive performance. Charismatic
personalities are thus more likely to score higher on adaptive performance even when
performance is measured 15 years later, or when performance is rated by subordinates. This is
in line with our hypothesis, and reflects a tendency of charismatic leaders to operate more
effectively in environments characterized by a high degree of challenge and opportunities for
change (e.g., De Hoogh et al., 2005), in which it is important to deal appropriately with
uncertain, unpredictable, or crisis situations at work. Further, contextual performance was
only significantly related to FFM charisma when performance was self-rated, and task
performance did not relate to charismatic tendencies in any case.
Theoretical and Practical Implications
Without undermining the attributional perspective on charismatic leadership, our
results support the trait-perspective on leadership. If consistency exists in the eye of the
beholder, there must be something in that leader that makes charismatic judgements
consistent. Therefore, charismatic personalities are perceived to be charismatic. The current
study was the first to propose a personality-based operationalization of charisma, by means of
innovative techniques including an expert consensus approach and the FFM count technique.
Understanding the underlying personality core associated with charismatic leadership
has important implications for practice, such as the selection, training, and development of
leaders. First, an assessment of charismatic personality tendencies could be useful in a
leadership selection context. Although this personality profile is not meant to relate
exclusively to charismatic leaders, but to reflect a characteristic constellation of traits that
makes charismatic leadership more likely, we found the FFM charisma compound to have
meaningful and longitudinal associations with different career outcomes, such as climbing the
career ladder more easily, and displaying higher adaptive performance levels. Moreover, as
FFM charisma could be computed whenever the NEO PI-R is administered, this useful
information can be obtained in a straightforward and time- and resource-friendly way.
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 28
Second, knowledge of charismatic personality tendencies may be used for coaching and
development purposes. As it has been shown that charismatic leadership behaviors can be
trained to a certain extent (e.g., Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996; Dvir, Eden, Avolio, &
Shamir, 2002), screening these traits may potentially aid in determining which individuals
could gain most from a charismatic leadership training or coaching trajectory.
Limitations and Directions for Future Research
Some limitations of this study should be acknowledged. First, to provide initial
convergent validity evidence for the FFM charisma compound, a sample of leaders completed
the first half NEO PI-R (McCrae & Costa, 2007), and direct subordinates completed the
Conger-Kanungo Scale (Conger et al., 1997) to evaluate their leaders’ charismatic leadership
style. Although we have reasons to believe that the first half NEO PI-R is as reliable and
informative as the full NEO PI-R (e.g., r = .97 between the full and first half version in
Sample 2), additional convergent validity evidence for FFM charisma is required.
A second limitation concerns the cut-off scores for inclusion in the FFM charisma
compound. The expert-based prototype is composed of NEO facets with mean scores of 3 and
lower (low), and 7 and higher (high). Obviously, cut-off scores are always arbitrary in some
way, and different cut-offs provide different compounds. For instance, if the cut-offs for
inclusion were on 3.5 and lower (low), and 6.5 and higher (high), 20 facets would have been
included in the FFM charisma compound.
Third, although a relatively small sample was used (Sample 1), it holds the advantage
of having observer-rated data on both charismatic leadership and job performance, in a
sample of actual leaders. In contrast, the larger, longitudinal sample (Sample 2) only contains
self-reported data in a heterogeneous sample of employees. As the latter sample was
exclusively based on self-reports, common method bias can be a potential confound for some
of the associations. The extrinsic career outcomes are objective rather than subjective ratings,
and the career roles are mainly descriptive, which may alleviate these concerns in part. Job
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 29
performance, however, is mainly evaluative, increasing the importance of using different rater
sources. To conclude, both study samples have their constraints, but one responds to the
limitations of the other.
Finally, it is worth considering a replication of the expert generated prototype, taking
into account the differentiation between socialized charismatic leadership representing the
positive side of charismatic leadership and personalized charismatic leadership, including
narcissistic, exploitative, and non-egalitarian tendencies (House & Howell, 1992). However,
socialized and personalized charismatic leadership are not mutually exclusive (House &
Howell, 1992) and represent a continuum rather than two distinct forms of charismatic
leadership (Waldman & Javidan, 2009). In other words, charismatic leaders can display
behaviors that reflect both bright (cf. ‘socialized’) and dark side (cf. ‘personalized’)
charismatic personality tendencies (House & Howell, 1992; Judge et al., 2009; Waldman &
Javidan, 2009). So, against recent developments in personality literature, supporting a
dimensional perspective on aberrant personality (e.g., De Fruyt et al., 2013; O’Boyle, Forsyth,
Banks, & McDaniel, 2012) in which dark side tendencies are considered to be extreme
extensions of the bright side forms, a differential profile development might be a step
backwards. The dark side of personality can be described as “the impression we make when
we let down our guard when we are stressed, tired, or do not care how we are perceived
(Kaiser & Hogan, 2007, p.12). Everyone has them, as they are part of our normal personality.
For the bigger part, it is rather the situation that will determine whether one’s dark side arises
to the surface or not (e.g., stress, fatigue, low control-perception). Therefore, future
researchers could focus on replicating a “bright side” FFM charisma compound, keeping in
mind that this profile is potentially associated with some dark sides, instead of developing two
different FFM charisma profiles.
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 30
Conclusion
In line with increasing evidence in support of trait-perspectives on leadership, we
argued that charisma does not exclusively exist in the eye of the beholder, but can be
understood as a specific configuration of personality traits that does not relate exclusively to
charismatic leaders, but reflects a characteristic constellation of traits that makes charismatic
leadership more likely. In search for these specific characteristics, the current study was the
first to extend the five factor model understanding of charismatic leadership by using an
expert consensus approach to obtain the FFM charisma compound. Moreover, the current
study provided initial convergent validity evidence for FFM charisma, and illustrated that this
trait configuration is relatively stable over a 15-year time span. Our findings show that FFM
charisma is meaningfully associated with career-related criteria, as we found that higher
charismatic tendencies are associated with higher income levels, more subordinates, and a
higher managerial position. Finally, individuals with charismatic tendencies are more inclined
to hold leadership roles (Director, Guide), and charismatic leadership roles (Inspirator,
Presenter) in their future careers, and score higher on adaptive performance. In sum, this work
helped to clarify the personality blocks that underlie leader charisma in a more detailed way
than what has been done before, and demonstrated the opportunities to map charismatic
tendencies in a career-relevant way.
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 31
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FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 38
Table 1
Five-Factor model expert ratings for the prototypical charismatic leader: Study 1 (N = 38)
Domain and facet
M
SD
IRA (rwg)
Neuroticism
2.78
.87
.89
N1: Anxiety
2.59
1.12
.81
N2: Hostility
3.03
1.61
.61
N3: Depression
1.86
1.00
.85
N4: Self-consciousness
2.31
1.41
.70
N5: Impulsiveness
4.94
1.93
.44
N6: Vulnerability
2.03
1.32
.74
Extraversion
7.69
.71
.92
E1: Warmth
7.19
1.53
.65
E2: Gregariousness
7.95
1.23
.77
E3: Assertiveness
7.95
1.11
.81
E4: Activity
8.32
.90
.88
E5: Excitement seeking
6.71
1.38
.71
E6: Positive emotions
7.89
.98
.86
Openness to experience
6.96
.82
.90
O1: Fantasy
6.58
1.20
.78
O2: Esthetics
6.48
1.35
.73
O3: Feelings
6.80
1.64
.60
O4: Actions
7.46
1.12
.81
O5: Ideas
6.97
1.22
.78
O6: Values
7.32
1.13
.81
Agreeableness
4.87
1.36
.72
A1: Trust
5.56
1.50
.66
A2: Straightforwardness
5.76
2.25
.24
A3: Altruism
5.56
1.89
.47
A4: Compliance
4.22
1.40
.71
A5: Modesty
3.47
1.48
.67
A6: Tender-Mindedness
4.72
1.73
.55
Conscientiousness
6.29
.82
.90
C1: Competence
6.58
1.13
.81
C2: Order
5.70
1.33
.73
C3: Dutifulness
5.56
1.40
.70
C4: Achievement Striving
7.92
.91
.88
C5: Self-discipline
6.61
1.68
.58
C6: Deliberation
5.16
1.56
.64
Note. Characteristic items defined as ≤ 3 or ≥ 7, appear as underlined (low) or boldfaced
(high) values.
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 39
Table 2
Descriptive statistics and variable intercorrelations: Sample 1 in Study 2 (N = 41)
Note. Bold values on the diagonal show the internal consistency of the relevant variable;
a Sex is dummy coded such that 0 = male and 1 = female; self = self-report; sub =
subordinate-report; *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001
1.
4.
5.
8.
1. Sexa
2. Age
-.03
3. FFM charisma (self)
-.17
4. Charismatic leadership (sub)
-.01
.73
5. Charismatic leadership (self)
-.19
.56***
.85
6. Task performance (sub)
-.10
.29
.13
7. Contextual performance (sub)
.15
.42**
.00
8. Adaptive performance (sub)
-.26
.40**
.16
.65
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 40
Table 3
Descriptive statistics and variable intercorrelations: Sample 2 in Study 2 (N = 262)
Note. Bold values on the diagonal show the internal consistency of the relevant variable; a Sex is dummy coded such that 0 = male and 1 =
female; bc In respectively 6 and 5 categories; Career role scores are computed on a scale from 1 to 7; T1 = 1994; T2 = 2009; *p < .05, **p < .01,
***p < .001
M
SD
1.
2
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
1. Sexa
-
-
2. Age (T2)
37.22
1.21
-.08
3. FFM charisma (T1)
39.55
4.08
-.10
.02
.93
4. FFM charisma (T2)
40.80
4.04
-.06
-.01
.68***
.94
5. Income (T2)
1.44
.40
-.36***
.03
.29***
.28***
6. Number subordinatesb (T2)
1.22
1.38
-.25***
-.07
.20**
.34***
.33***
7. Management levelc (T2)
1.08
1.14
-.26***
-.09
.15*
.29***
.40***
.61***
8. Maker (T2)
5.72
1.15
.03
-.14*
.01
.18**
.10
.16*
.17*
.89
9. Expert (T2)
5.07
1.42
-.16*
.06
.07
.13*
.17*
.11
.12
.50***
.89
10. Presenter (T2)
4.58
1.55
-.03
.03
.19**
.30***
.09
.21**
.30***
.49***
.36***
.91
11. Guide (T2)
4.94
1.45
-.04
.09
.18**
.24***
.10
.36***
.26***
.28***
.19**
.38***
.92
12. Director (T2)
4.60
1.59
-.27***
-.01
.21**
.39***
.29***
.53***
.58***
.44***
.39***
.61***
.49***
.91
13. Inspirator (T2)
4.58
1.23
-.02
-.01
.15*
.28***
.04
.34***
.31***
.50***
.38***
.67***
.60***
.61***
.85
14. Task performance (T2)
4.12
.60
.09
-.09
-.08
-.06
-.01
-.07
-.12
.23***
.14*
.02
.09
-.02
.08
.78
15. Contextual performance (T2)
3.83
.56
-.06
-.03
.18**
.28***
.02
.14*
.18**
.14*
.04
.22***
.36***
.22***
.35***
.12
.74
16. Adaptive performance (T2)
3.72
.57
-.30***
-.01
.32***
.44***
.30***
.32***
.34***
.30***
.27***
.29***
.23***
.47***
.31***
-.03
.31***
.70
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 41
Table 4
Summary of hierarchical regression analyses (β) examining the associations between FFM
charisma (T1 and T2) and career outcomes (T2), after controlling for sex (Sample 2 in Study
2, N = 262)
Longitudinal:
FFM charisma (T1)
career outcomes (T2)
Concurrent:
FFM charisma (T2)
career outcomes (T2)
Step 1:
Sexa
Step 2:
FFM charisma (T1)
Step 2:
FFM charisma (T2)
Income (T2)
-.36***
.25***
.24***
Number subordinatesb (T2)
-.25***
.18**
.32***
Management levelc (T2)
-.26***
.12*
.27***
Maker (T2)
-.03
.01
.19**
Expert (T2)
-.16*
.06
.11
Presenter (T2)
-.03
.19**
.30***
Guide (T2)
-.04
.18**
.24***
Director (T2)
-.27***
.19**
.38***
Inspirator (T2)
-.02
.15*
.28***
Task performance (T2)
.09
-.07
-.05
Contextual performance (T2)
-.06
.17**
.28***
Adaptive performance (T2)
-.30***
.29***
.42***
Note. Standardized beta coefficients are reported; Sex is dummy coded such that 0 = male and
1 = female; bc In respectively 6 and 5 categories ***p < .001, **p < .01, *p < .05
FFM CHARISMA COMPOUND 42
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the experts who participated in this study, and Nina Vanwelsenaere,
who collected part of the data in the context of her master’s thesis research.
Appendix A
Performance Scale
Task performance
1. Performs duties thoroughly and to perfection
2. Delivers work with a minimal number of errors and instances of carelessness
3. Sets high quality standards for work performance
Contextual performance
4. Says things to make people feel good about themselves or the work group
5. Encourages others to overcome their differences and get along
6. Treats others fairly
7. Helps someone without being asked
Adaptive performance
8. Deals with unpredictable and unexpected work situations appropriately
9. Takes effective action when necessary without having to know the total picture or
have all the facts at hand
10. Effectively adjusts plans, actions, or priorities to deal with changing situations
11. Maintains emotional control in crisis situations
... Since previous studies on the acoustic features of charisma define charisma through its effects on the listener, all previous phonetic studies follow an attributional concept of charisma. However, there has been an ongoing debate in the psychological literature whether charisma is attributional, i.e. whether a person is perceived as charismatic [3,16,17], or trait based i.e. whether a person has a charismatic personality regardless of situational perception [2,18,19]. Although the trait perspective has been replaced by the attributional perspective in the past recent advances have revived the search for a charismatic personality profile [cf. ...
... Earlier studies found that traits according to the commonly used five factor model (FFM) or Big Five personality traits [20] yielded some insight into the personality of charismatic speaker [21], however [21] concluded that charisma should be assessed in a more finegrained manner focusing on the more nuanced facets of the Big Five dimensions. A study by [19] found that a combination of facets according to the FFM in the form of a FFM charisma compound can successfully capture a charismatic personality and is even correlated to the effects of charismatic leaders such as career success. According to this FFM charisma compound, a charismatic personality encompasses high degrees of warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity and positive emotions for extraversion, high degrees of openness to actions and values, high ratings for achievement striving, as well as low degrees of anxiety, depression, self-consciousness and vulnerability [19]. ...
... A study by [19] found that a combination of facets according to the FFM in the form of a FFM charisma compound can successfully capture a charismatic personality and is even correlated to the effects of charismatic leaders such as career success. According to this FFM charisma compound, a charismatic personality encompasses high degrees of warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity and positive emotions for extraversion, high degrees of openness to actions and values, high ratings for achievement striving, as well as low degrees of anxiety, depression, self-consciousness and vulnerability [19]. ...
... Daly, 2018;Liu and Jansen, 2017;Seitz and Farhadi, 2019;Son, 2011;van Zoonen and Treem, 2019) have acknowledged that the relation between desire, expectation, achievement and empathy is as old as is human history itself (Bohns and Flynn, 2021;Farooq and Salam, 2020;Graus et al., 2021;Klein and Shoshana, 2020;Mitchell et al., 2020;Yurtsever et al., 2021). However, DSIW is relatively new phenomenon and it has a close assimilation with Digman's (1990) five factor model Vergauwe et al., 2017). Though, in recent past many academicians have employed five factor model (e.g. ...
... Though, in recent past many academicians have employed five factor model (e.g. Guido, 2006;Vergauwe et al., 2017) and DSIW (e.g. Daly, 2018;Farooq and Salam, 2020;Gully et al., 2013, p. John et al. (2019, p. 787) have illustrated that DSIW is a moderator among CSR and OI. ...
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... Personality has been recognized as an essential predictor of work and career success Wille et al., 2013). In examining associations between personality traits and professional outcomes the Five-Factor Model , also known as the Big Five, represents the prevalent theoretical framework (Boudreau et al., 2001;Vergauwe et al., 2017;Zacher, 2014). It comprises five personality dimensions: extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, and openness to experience . ...
Thesis
For years now career success emerged as one of the focal points in managerial psychology research. It still remains a key topic in contemporary literature. Personality has been identified as an essential predictor of work and career success. In examining associations between personality traits and professional outcomes, the Big Five represents the prevalent theoretical basis. This widely recognized framework stands primarily for bright and affirmative personality attributes. In more recent times, the rather negative side of the personality range received increasing scientific attention, not least triggered by severe scandals in the business world. Especially the Dark Triad personality construct consisting of Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism has attracted growing academic consideration. Surprisingly these rather undesirable personality characteristics do not only promote counterproductive outcomes. Consequently, the two topics of bright as well as dark personality traits and career success constitute the scope of the thesis. To split the topic up and to explore it as sophisticated as possible, a comprehensive scientific approach is required. Supported by a multilayered methodological procedure, the interplay of personality and career success was investigated on heterogeneous criteria: (1) multifaceted bandwidth of personality, (2) diversity of career success indicators, (3) varied decision-making levels, and (4) new work environment. In summary, this dissertation answers the following research questions in three interrelated essays: 1. How successful are both light and dark personalities in terms of objective success criteria? 2. Does a GFP-E specific for executives exist and how is it related to the Dark Triad, success and satisfaction measures? 3. Do paradox personalities, in particular narcissism and humility, succeed in new work environments? 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