Nonverbal Behaviours of Charismatic Leadership: A Case Study of the NCouragers Denmark, Nestlé

Anders Hansen & Mathias Bruhn

Student thesis: Master thesis


Established through the literature of management and economics, it has been proven that leadership significantly influences teams, organisations and even countries. Within the research field of leader-ship, charismatic leadership is acknowledged to benefit both the organisation and the employees. This has been found in terms of economic value, intrinsic motivation, and wellbeing. In order to ensure charismatic leadership, the individual should, amongst other things, be able to demonstrate specific nonverbal behaviours within the three core elements of charisma: Presence, Power and Warmth.
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how charismatic leadership occurs in a group without a formal hierarchy based on nonverbal behaviours. This is investigated through observations and interpretations of the nonverbal behaviours within the case study of an informal group in the organisation of Nestlé Denmark.
The theoretical framework of the thesis was used to analyse the empirical data which were collected through an exploratory interview, observations, video recordings and semi-structured interviews. The analysis found that a lack of Presence behaviours from other group members felt as frustrating and as if the individual in question was wasting time. In contrast, specific nonverbal behaviours linked to Presence were established to have positive effects. Behaviours of Power were investigated to be significantly harder to interpret by the group members. The demonstration of Power behaviours even made other group members feel empowered as a result of being near the individual in question and was to a higher degree observed subconsciously. According to the findings, behaviours of Warmth had the effects of making the group members feel comfortable and energetic while sensing acknowledgement and empathy from the individual, demonstrating the specific behaviours of Warmth.
Throughout the thesis, 18 specific nonverbal behaviours were found; three of Warmth, eight of Power and ten of Presence. Three of these specific behaviours were linked to both Power and Presence. The nonverbal behaviours found, had both positive and negative effects on the group members.
Based on the results, it can be concluded that through nonverbal charismatic behaviours, charismatic leadership can be established. The demonstration of these specific nonverbal behaviours by an individual will affect the group members and make the individual in question seem more or less charismatic. Our findings even suggested that a combination of the charismatic nonverbal behaviours within the informal group enables an individual to establish an even more solid foundation of charismatic leadership.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages115
SupervisorsMinna Paunova