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Publication in Journal of Management

Journal of Management © Journal of Management

More narcissistic CEOs – as identified through their LinkedIn profiles – hire more narcissistic executives into their top management teams, and then experience greater turnover in their teams

In an innovative study published in the Journal of Management (ABS 4*, FT50), researchers from TU Dortmund University and FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg delved deep into the dynamics of executive leadership, focusing on a personality trait that has long intrigued both the corporate world and the public: narcissism. Narcissism, often seen as a double-edged sword in leadership, can manifest as confidence and charisma but also as detrimental self-focus and insensitivity to others’ perspectives and needs.

This study is groundbreaking in its approach to measuring such a complex trait using a novel method: analyzing the LinkedIn profiles of top executives. By examining thousands of US companies’ executives, the research offers an unprecedented view into the intricate relationship between CEO narcissism and the composition of firms’ top management teams. The study reveals a startling tendency: CEOs with higher levels of narcissism appoint top management team members who mirror their traits. This phenomenon not only shapes the team’s composition but also affects team dynamics and stability. Importantly, the ripple effect of a narcissistic CEO hiring narcissistic managers leads to higher turnover within top management teams, suggesting a potentially substantial cost to organizational continuity and effectiveness.

Read the entire study here.

Junge, S., Graf-Vlachy, L., Hagen, M., & Schlichte, F. 2024. Narcissism at the CEO-TMT Interface: A New Narcissism Measure and a Test of the Consequences of Executive Narcissism for TMT Composition, Journal of Management, in press.