Personality helped us to understand political decisions that are

Personality analysis is an effective tool to some extent in
understanding the motivations, behaviors and actions of political leaders (t’Hart
2010, pg.100). Personality analysis is influenced by Sigmund Freud who explains
that personality is developed through childhood experiences (Post 2013,
pg.460). In studying the psychobiography of political leaders, we can determine
the personality of political leaders, and apply that to understand their
current motives and predict their future behaviours. In order to understand
political conduct and behaviours we need to study the personality
characteristics of political leaders (t’Hart 2010, pg.103).  For example, Greenstein and Barber have used
psychoanalysis to create psychological profiles of the presidents of the United
States of America. This has helped us to understand political decisions that
are questionable or startling such as, the Watergate scandal that President
Richard Nixon was involved in and the Iraqi war that was authorised by President
George W. Bush (Barber 1992, pg.4). Using Greenstein and
Barber’s personality profiling analysis of presidents we are then able to
anticipate the presidential policies and political outcomes of current and
future political leaders.


The rational theory model states
that individuals pick decisions based on their self-interest (Chong 2013,
pg.98).  As self-interest is informed by
personality, it is understood that policy decision making is affected by a
political leader’s personality. However, personality analysis can be criticized
as not being able to falsify, too subjective and not based on rigorous scientific
methodology (Greenstein 2014, pg.33). It is important to note
that policy and political leadership decisions are not just made by individual
actors but by groups (leader and advisors). Therefore, policy and leadership
decisions are not solely based on the personality of the political leader. For
example, the phenomenon of ‘groupthink’ downplays the role of individuals in
decision-making processes as a desire for a conformity in the form of group consensus
is more important than individual differing opinions (Janis 1982, pg.5).
Additionally, Milgram and Zimbardo conducted group experiments which
witnessed that individuals are strongly influenced to be obedient to a group consensus
(Zimbardo 1973, pg.5; Milgram
1974, pg.1).

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Therefore, it may be more beneficial also to examine the political
leader’s and advisors’ group dynamics. Only if the group consensus is dictated
by an authoritative figure (who may be the political leader) then studying the
personality of that authoritative figure is deeply beneficial. In conclusion,
understanding personality is important in understanding political leadership
but other factors such as group dynamics should also be studied