Measuring CEO Personality: Developing, Validating, and Testing a Linguistic Tool

March 2019 | Boivie, Steve

We introduce to the upper echelons literature a novel, linguistic measure of CEOs’ Big Five personality traits that we specifically developed and validated using a sample of CEOs. We then provide a predictive test of the measure by applying it to a sample of more than 3,000 CEOs of S&P 1500 firms to explore the direct and interactive effects of CEOs’ Big Five personality traits and firm performance on strategic change. Our validated, unobtrusive measure of CEOs’ Big Five traits provides a strong foundation for future theory development on the firm‐level effects of CEOs’ personality traits. Our specific findings also extend our understanding of how CEO personality influences firm‐level change and how both person and situation‐based factors interact to jointly influence firm strategy.



  • Jospeh Harrison
  • G Thurgood
  • M Pfarrer


Strategic Management Journal