Students Present Research at State Capitol in St. Paul

Minnesota private college students present their scholarly research in the Capitol rotunda.

Minnesota private college students present their scholarly research in the Capitol rotunda. (Photo: Melissa Kaelin)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 20, 2009) — Sarah Moore and Angela Rodgers, students at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., presented their research on “The Personality Profile of President Barack Obama: Leadership Implications” at the 6th annual Minnesota Private Colleges Scholars at the Capitol event, Feb. 19, in the State Capitol rotunda, St. Paul, Minn.

Moore is a senior psychology major from Grosse Point Woods, Mich. Rodgers is a junior sociology major from Rogers, Minn. Their research was conducted in the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, directed by College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University associate professor of psychology Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D.

Capitol_Sarah-Moore_Angela-Rodgers_02-19-2009
Sarah Moore and Angela Rodgers present their research on “The Personality Profile of President Barack Obama: Leadership Implications” at the 6th annual Minnesota Private Colleges Scholars at the Capitol event in the State Capitol rotunda, St. Paul, Minn., Feb. 19, 2009.

Summary of Research Results

The profile reveals that Barack Obama is ambitious and confident; modestly dominant and self-asserting; accommodating, cooperative, and agreeable; somewhat outgoing and congenial; and relatively conscientious. The combination of ambitious and accommodating patterns in Obama’s profile suggests a “confident conciliator” personality composite.

Leaders with this personality prototype, though self-assured and ambitious, are characteristically gracious, considerate, and benevolent. They are energetic, charming, and agreeable, with a special talent for settling differences and a preference for mediation and compromise over force or coercion as a strategy for resolving conflict. They are driven primarily by a need for achievement, but also have substantial affiliation needs and a modest need for power.

The study offers an empirically based framework for anticipating Obama’s performance as chief executive. The following general predictions regarding Obama’s likely leadership style in office can be inferred from his personality profile:

  • Ambitious, self-assured, gracious, considerate
  • Preference for mediation and compromise over force or coercion as a strategy for resolving conflict
  • High need for achievement; moderate need for affiliation; low need for power
  • More pragmatic than ideological
  • More task- than relationship oriented
  • Likely to act as a strong advocate in his administration, using his powers of persuasion to advance his policy vision
  • Preference for gathering information from a variety of sources rather than relying solely on advisors and administration officials
  • In dealing with members of Congress, may show preference for avoiding unnecessary conflict by trying to remain above the fray in heated, highly divisive debates
  • Preference for articulating and defending his policies in person rather than relying on staff and administration officials to speak for him

Obama Leadership Style poster
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