Our study extends upper-echelons theory by introducing CEO narcissism as a formal construct for explaining company strategy and performance. Drawing on psychological research indicating that narcissism is a personality dimension, rather than just a pathological disorder, we argue that narcissism in CEOs is positively related to strategic dynamism and grandiosity, and it engenders extreme and volatile organizational performance. We empirically study 111 CEOs in the computer and software industries, relying on six unobtrusive indicators of CEO narcissism. These indicators, which come from multiple sources, strongly cohere and allow us to develop a multi-item CEO narcissism index. We find considerable support for our hypotheses, indicating that CEOs vary in how narcissistic they are, and that these differences affect important organizational outcomes. We conclude the paper by suggesting future research on CEO narcissism.
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