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Research Highlights: Linguistic Analysis of U.S. President’s Tweets Reveals “Schumpeterian” Leanings


Research Highlights

Our research committee’s picks of the latest scientific, entrepreneurship literature.

Papers featured in our new section, Research Highlight, are selected by the ENT Division’s Research Committee. We are always seeking recently published articles that are “cutting edge” in terms of methodological rigor, study setting, and theoretical and/or practical contribution. If there is an article you feel should be considered, please send it to Casey Frid ( along with a brief summary of the article and why you feel it should be featured.”

Linguistic Analysis of U.S. President’s Tweets Reveals “Schumpeterian” Leanings

by Casey Frid


Schumpeterian entrepreneurunconventional, disruptor, and rule-breaker. Although long studied by entrepreneurship scholars, the personality archetype defined by “creative destruction” may now be on the rise among the world’s politicians.

In a recent Small Business Economics article entitled, “Entrepreneurial Personalities in Political Leadership” Drs. Martin Obschonka of the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (Queensland University of Technology) and Christian Fisch of Universität Trier examine this topic using unconventional means—a computerized language assessment of the Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The idea to systematically analyze Trump’s Tweets was inspired by a separate study they published in 2016 with Ryan Boyd of University of Texas, Austin. There, they developed a personality assessment of “superstar” entrepreneurs by analyzing the Tweets of those on the Forbes’ list of 400 wealthiest Americans.

“All of a sudden there was an historical event,” said Dr. Obschonka. “One of the subjects in our sample [Trump] made a major transition from business leadership to political leadership. So, we decided to compare him to the other successful business leaders to see whether he would differ, given his unusual career. My personal impression was that Trump had that kind of Schumpeterian aggressiveness of, ‘I challenge the status quo’. But, we expect the typical career of a politician to be more of a quiet collaborator, requiring a long-term perspective and a quiet hand.”

Obschonka and Fisch drew on a set of personality variables and used Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) to assess Trump’s “online personality”, assessed before he became president. They found that while Trump did share the Schumpeterian tendencies of high openness and low agreeableness, he also scored relatively high on neuroticism, making him an outlier among other successful entrepreneurs in the sample.

“One of the study’s main strengths is the linguistic analysis and this new type of data,” said Fisch. “Historically there have been a lot of studies using questionnaires and self-reports to analyze personality traits. But it’s very hard to apply this to superstar entrepreneurs who often do not respond to questionnaires or interview inquiries. One thing our paper shows is that applying LIWC software to Twitter data is a promising way of examining these issues.”