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  • 7/31/2019 Cohen vs Roemer Leadership 120318



    Universiteit van Amsterdam

    The influence of political

    leadership on public opinionA comparison of two Dutch politicians using leadership theory

    Job Cohen Emile Roemer

    MSc. Business Studies Intensive Programme, Leadership

    Lecturers : Prof. Dr. Den Hartog & Dr. F. Belschak

    Students : J.L. Ridderhof, 10162305

    S.A.F. Arts,10311408

    M.Y. Konter, 0463191

    I. Nijhuis, 6336701

    Date : 19 march 2012

    Word count : 4.768

  • 7/31/2019 Cohen vs Roemer Leadership 120318


  • 7/31/2019 Cohen vs Roemer Leadership 120318




    Summary 2

    Contents 3

    Introduction 4

    Emile Roemer & Job Cohen 5

    Emile Roemer 5

    Job Cohen 6

    Emile Roemer vs Job Cohen 6

    Theoretical framework 7

    Transformational leadership 7

    Charismatic leadership 8

    Comparison; Why Roemer is popular and Cohen is not 11

    The popularity of Emile Roemer 11

    The unpopularity of Job Cohen 12

    Discussion and Limitations 14

    Further Research 15

    Conclusion 16


  • 7/31/2019 Cohen vs Roemer Leadership 120318


  • 7/31/2019 Cohen vs Roemer Leadership 120318



    Emile Roemer & Job Cohen

    In order to draw conclusions on whether the leadership styles have positive or negative

    effects, the politicians who were chosen are opposites to each other in terms of public

    performance. This chapter introduces both politicians.

    Emile Roemer

    Emile Roemer, current political leader of the Socialistische Partij (SP), has done quite well

    since he was chosen party leader in March 2010. According to the latest public opinion

    records, he has managed to double the amount of SP voters since the new cabinet has been

    formed2. Since his appearance as party leader, the election program of the SP hasnt

    undergone major changes3. This implies that the designation of Roemer may have had a

    positive influence on the voters political choice4.

    In December 2011 Roemer was declared politician of the year by the public5. He is

    described as authentic, social and respectful. His clear language and his sense of humor is also

    well appreciated. His always cheerful laugh and his Burgundian appearance seem to charm

    the people surrounding him.

    Not all of the recent glory of the SP is dedicated to Roemers smile and wave policy. Since

    the Euro crisis hit the Netherlands, the SP has focused on representing the voice of the Dutch

    citizens by outing their motto: Put the bill for the Euro crisis where it belongs6. The SP

    states its looking for a better way to fight the Euro crisis that the current cabinet is doing

    right now. One that doesnt involve negative effects for the least wealthy citizens of the

    Netherlands. By emphasizing on doing the right thing the SP focuses on the voters

    conscience. This empowering message combined with the charm of Roemer seems to be a

    very effective strategy in order to gain support.

    2Developments of political preferences. [online] available:

    3Politiek: Hoofdpunten verkiezingen 2010 SP. [online] available

    hoofdpunten-verkiezingen-2010-sp.html 4

    De week van Emile Roemer. [online] available

    5 Emile Roemer Politicus van het Jaar 2011. [online] available: De rekening van de crisis leggen waar die hoort. [online] available


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    Job Cohen

    Job Cohen, in contrast to Emile Roemer, resigned his position as party leader of the Partij van

    de Arbeid(PvdA) in February 2012 due to the recent decline in votes for the PvdA. According

    to Cohen himself, he wasnt able to be effective enough as party leader7

    .When Cohen first appeared as party leader in 2010, after his predecessor Wouter Bos left

    politics behind, the PvdA gained an enormous amount of votes. PvdA supporters were

    enthusiastic about this new fatherly figure, who was going to lead them during the

    upcoming elections8. The public had high expectations for Cohen due to his former

    performance as mayor of Amsterdam. The public opinion changed however at the start of the

    election period in 2010. Several times Job Cohen proved to be incompetent during interviews

    and debates with other party leaders. According to the media, his lack of humor during the

    interviews and his poor performance in front of the camera cost the PvdA a lot of votes9.

    After the elections were lost by the PvdA even more voters switched to another political

    preference, due to a number of media disasters in disadvantage of Cohen10

    . Geert Wilders,

    party leader of the Partij Van de Vrijheid (PVV), publicly called Cohen the premiers lapdog,

    while Cohen stood bewildered11

    . In oktober 2011 PvdA party chairman, Lilianne Ploumen,

    acknowledged to the media that there was a discussion within the party regarding Cohens

    leadership. Many assume that this internal disagreement in combination with the ever

    declining public support has lead to the resignation of Cohen on the 20th of February 2012.

    Emile Roemer vs. Job Cohen

    The characteristics of both Emile Roemer and Job Cohen are quite different to one another.

    According to the presented facts, Roemer seems to have a clear advantage over Cohen

    regarding his public performances. His behavior and appearance seem to have a positive

    effect upon both the public and the media, whereas Cohens clearly has a negative impact on

    both his personal and his political party image.

    7 Cohen: ik was onvoldoende effectief. [online] available: PvdA wordt met Cohen de grootste. [online] available

    Toe Cohen, overtuig nou. [online] available Job Cohen in het nieuws: van gedoodverfde premier tot grote gedoger van de premier. [online] available cohen2_pdf11 Wie is de grootste gedoger. [online] available.

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    Theoretical framework

    In this chapter we discuss two different theories of recent leadership styles; transformational

    leadership and charismatic leadership, because these styles can be applied best to political

    leaders. Den Hartog and Koopman (2001) write about the "new" leadership that it is often

    referred to as transformational or charismatic leadership. According to this statement it seems

    that there is no specific difference between transformational and charismatic leadership. Yukl

    (2006) compares these leadership styles and writes that even among scholars, there is

    disagreement on whether transformational and charismatic leadership can be used both at the

    same time. The term transformational leadership is often assigned to any form of effective

    leadership (Yukl, 2006). However, the essence of charisma indicates that a subordinate is

    dependent on the leader, for guidance and inspiration (Yukl, 2006). Research (Fiol, Harris, &

    House, 1999) suggest that charismatic leaders consistently use communication strategies to

    effect social change, a reason to distinguish these leadership styles.

    Transformational leadership

    Transformational leadership is explained differently in many articles, but Bass (1985)

    version of transformational leadership generated the most research, according to Yukl (1999).

    Yukl (1999) states that Bass (1985) definition of transformational leadership is primarily

    based on leader effects on subordinates and specific leadership behavior. Transformational

    leadership motivates followers to do more than they are expected to do and gives followers

    trust, admiration and respect for the leader (Yukl, 1999). Due to influence of transformational

    leaders, followers put organizational interest prior to their personal interest (Yukl, 1999).

    Yukl (2006) states that transformational leaders empower followers by making them less

    dependent. Therefore, significant authority is delegated to individuals, follower skills and

    self-confidence are developed, self-managed teams are created, sensitive information is given

    access to, unnecessary controls are avoided and a strong culture is build to support

    empowerment (Yukl, 2006).

    Transformational leadership includes four types of leader behavior (Yukl, 2006). First,

    idealized influence, which is behavior of leaders to arouse strong emotions and identification

    by followers. Secondly, intellectual stimulation is used by the leader to increase follower

    awareness of problems and to view them from a new perspective. Thirdly, individualized

    consideration is behavior to provide encouragement, support, and coaching to followers.

    Finally, inspirational motivation of leaders is behavior to communicate vision, using symbols

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