Numerical performance information in presidential rhetoric Comparing Estonia and Lithuania
Rajala, Tomi (2020)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Purpose Presidents have constitutional powers and are incentivized to use performance information that is essential to economic leadership practices. However, presidents have not previously been studied in this context. The purpose of this paper is to examine how two sitting presidents use numerical performance information in their speeches. A speech is a formal talk given to a large number of individuals at a particular instance. Design/methodology/approach Empirical data were obtained from 85 presidential speeches given by the president of Estonia and 35 by the president of Lithuania. The speeches were analyzed using qualitative and quantitative content analysis. Inductive inference, descriptive statistics and statistical tests were used to propose new theoretical ideas for future research. Findings Studied presidents used extensively numerical performance information, primarily outcome information. Also, the presidents used performance information differently, even though both presidents operated in a similar political context and had similar individual characteristics. The differences were in part explained by speech length but not speech context. Older age, doctoral degree, and longer administrative and political career were associated with lower use. Practical implications The study provides preliminary results on how presidents use performance information and what type of performance information is most useful in presidential speeches that address the nation and conduct economic leadership. Originality/value New analytical models are presented that can be used to study the intensity of performance information use in rhetoric. Conceptual definitions of the various levels of intensity in performance information use are also introduced. In general, presidential performance information use adds a new dimension to existing research.
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