Executive Voice: A Crystal Ball for Truth?

Stuart Sidle
2012 Academy of Management Perspectives  
RESEARCH QUESTIONS When interrogating suspects, how do detectives know if they are hearing the truth or a bunch of lies? One way is by paying attention to non-verbal communication. Indeed, forensic psychologists have helped law enforcement analyze non-verbal behavior such as body language and voice tone for clues that suspects are concealing important information. Could these cues also be used in the business world to determine whether senior leaders are speak ing truthfully about their fi rms'
more » ... about their fi rms' fi nancials? In a groundbreaking study, William Mayew and Mohan Venkatachalam from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business explored whether executives' voices provided clues about their emotional states while reporting on company earnings during conference calls. They also examined whether these non-verbal vocal hints predicted future fi rm performance and stock returns as well as analyst reactions. Essentially, Mayew and Venkatachalam hypothesized that vocal cues would provide a peek into executives' emotions. And because these emotions may refl ect how things are going inside the fi rm, they could serve as a crystal ball of sorts for predicting fi rms' future performance.
doi:10.5465/amp.2012.0155 fatcat:g7gjg2xj7rhe5oogcc2hkm52pu