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Modest evidence that Narcissistic CEOs are good for new technology

A press release presents modest evidence about the worth of narcissistic Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) [here is an auto-translated version of the original German text]:

The more narcissistic one CEO, the higher his willingness in his or her company to introduce new technologies – especially if these innovations are perceived by the public as “beneficial”, but risky. This context, researchers from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) have provided evidence in conjunction with the IMD in Lausanne and conducted at Pennsylvania State University study. Their findings will be published shortly in the prestigious journal Administrative Science Quarterly.

The new study is called “”CEO Narcissism, Audience Engagement, and Organizational Adoption of Technological Discontinuities”. The team has at least one prior published study on the topic:

CEO narcissism and incumbent response to technological discontinuities,” Wolf-Christian Gerstner, Andreas Koenig [pictured h, Albrecht Enders, and Donald C. Hambrick, Academy of Management Proceedings, vol. 2011, no. 1, pp. 1-6.  The authors explain:

“we hypothesize that, due to their supreme confidence and craving for attention, narcissistic CEOs propel early and aggressive adoption of technological discontinuities by established companies…. We find strong support when testing our hypotheses on a sample of 78 CEOs of 33 major pharmaceutical firms, examining their response to the emergence of biotechnology over the period 1980 to 2008. In contrast to the typically negative portrayal of the narcissistic personality syndrome, our results suggest that narcissism may be a key ingredient in overcoming organizational inertia.”

(Thanks to investigator Imke Fries for bringing this to our attention.)

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