Defeating the Minotaur: the Construction of CEO Charisma on the US Stock Market

N. Grasselli, A. FANELLI

Organization Studies

juin 2006, vol. 27, n°6

Départements : Management et Ressources Humaines

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 US: 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