Character assassination of CEOs in crises – Questioning CEOs’ character and values in corporate crises.

Jens Seiffert-Brockmann, Sabine Einwiller, Julia Stranzl

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This study explores the concept of character assassination in the field of corporate communication. We examine the perception of character traits and personal values of chief executive officers in Austria and Germany during corporate crises. Results suggest that character attacks mostly focus on a chief executive officer’s integrity, while a positive public perception of charisma seems to be related to a chief executive officer’s remaining in office. Furthermore, personal values were under more intense public scrutiny when the chief executive officer in question had to leave their office. Thus, the study suggests that character traits and values are antecedents which influence the outcomes of the process of character assassination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413 - 429
JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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