Comparing Leaders across Context, Culture, and Time: Content Analysis of Leader-Follower Communications.

Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU), Drucker School of Management (CGU)

Publication Date



Leadership Studies


Computer-aided text analysis (CATA) has enormous potential for expanding the study of leadership communications. Building on previous calls for more creative methodologies for studying leadership, scholars need to be continually innovative in utilizing textual data from diverse sources (e.g. emails, letters, memos, annual reports, statements to shareholders, executive speeches, interview and meeting transcripts, training materials, newsletters, websites, blogs, etc.) to move beyond the “typical” leadership study in management and organizational psychology. We review the use of CATA to compare leadership communications across different contexts and historical time periods, providing examples of studies that have utilized this approach. Given both its strengths and limitations, we argue that CATA represents an important tool to help unravel further illustrations of rhetorical leadership in a wide variety of leadership contexts, particularly in situations in which impartial comparisons of leaders across situations are of primary interest.

Rights Information

© 2014 SAGE Publications