Department of Economics and Business Economics

Do narcissistic CEOs rock the boat?

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

DOI

  • Tom Aabo
  • Frederik Hoejland, QVARTZ
  • ,
  • Jesper Pedersen, Clearwater International Corporate Finance

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of narcissistic supply for the association between CEO narcissism and corporate risk taking. Design/methodology/approach: The authors investigate a sample of 281 non-financial S&P 1500 firms and a corresponding 457 CEOs in the 10-yr period 2006–2015. Findings: The association between CEO narcissism and corporate risk taking depends on the admiration, attention, and affirmation of own superiority (“narcissistic supply”) that the CEO receives given her/his current position. Thus, a narcissistic CEO with an insufficient narcissistic supply (small firm/small compensation) will crave for more and take more risks (“rock the boat”) while a narcissistic CEO with a sufficient narcissistic supply (large firm/large compensation) will protect the status quo and be reluctant to take new risks. Specifically, the authors find that a change from a slightly narcissistic CEO to a strongly narcissistic CEO, for positions entailing limited (abundant) narcissistic supply, is associated with an increase (a decrease) in corporate risk of 6%–8% (11%–27%). Originality/value: Previous research indicates a positive association between CEO narcissism and corporate risk taking in specific domains such as M&A and R&D activities. This paper provides a novel contribution to the existing literature by identifying and assessing the important role of narcissistic supply for the association between CEO narcissism and corporate risk taking in general.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of Behavioral Finance
Volume13
Issue2
Pages (from-to)141-164
Number of pages24
ISSN1940-5979
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

    Research areas

  • Behavioral corporate finance, CEO narcissism, Corporate risk, Narcissistic supply

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