Corporate social responsibility or CEO narcissism? CSR motivations and organizational performance. (2015)
“CSR initiatives may result from leaders’ personal needs for attention and image reinforcement and be less strategic for their organizations in terms of financial performance and focus.
Oleg V. Petrenko, Federico Aime and Aaron D. Hill, Oklahoma State University: Jason W. Ridge, Clemson University, South Carolina.
Strategic Management Journal, 37(2), 262-279.
Researchers … have examined a variety of explanations for managerial decisions to spend organizational time and effort enhancing corporate social responsibility (CSR). They have looked at external drivers like … stakeholder activism and institutional pressures. They have also considered internal drivers eg. executive incentives, management team commitment to ethics and CEOs’ political ideologies.
The authors of this paper shift the attention …. to executive psychology as an explanation for CSR. They show that CSR initiatives may result from leaders’ personal needs for attention and image reinforcement and be less strategic in terms of financial performance and focus for their organizations.
The authors argue that organizations with narcissistic CEOs who have a high need for attention and praise and are preoccupied with having their positive self-views reinforced will engage in higher levels of corporate social responsibility.
They also hypothesize that CSR initiatives driven by narcissistic CEOs are less likely to be well aligned (to organizational needs) and so may not deliver outcomes that are as positive as those conducted by organizations with less narcissistic CEOs.
A sample of Fortune 500 CEOs provides support for their ideas.
Access the full paper here: Corporate social responsibility or CEO narcissism?