I’m Not Narcissistic, Just Really Important
| Peter Klein |
If you have the kind of sophisticated sense of humor I have, you enjoy Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” series. Yesterday I heard the salute to “Mr. Stadium Scoreboard Marriage Proposal Guy”:
You’ve combined the three things you love most in the this world:
Your girlfriend, your team, and lots and lots of attention.
I thought of that when reading Arijit Chatterjee and Donald Hambrick’s recent ASQ paper, “It’s All About Me: Narcissistic CEOs and Their Effects on Company Strategy and Performance” (working-paper version here).
This study uses unobtrusive measures of the narcissism of chief executive officers (CEOs) — the prominence of the CEO’s photograph in annual reports, the CEO’s prominence in press releases, the CEO’s use of first-person singular pronouns in interviews, and compensation relative to the second-highest-paid firm executive — to examine the effect of CEO narcissism on a firm’s strategy and performance. Results of an empirical study of 11 CEOs in the computer hardware and software industries in 1992-2004 show that narcissism in CEOs is positively related to strategic dynamism and grandiosity, as well as the number and size of acquisitions, and it engenders extreme and fluctuating organizational performance. The results suggest that narcissistic CEOs favor bold actions that attract attention, resulting in big wins or big losses, but that, in these industries, their firm’s performance is generally no better or worse than firms with non-narcissistic CEOs.
Remember, there’s no “I” in “team” — but if you look closely, you’ll find a “me.”