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Master of puppets: How narcissistic CEOs construct their professional worlds. (2016)

“…narcissistic CEOs …pursue media celebrity, affiliate with high-status board members, employ lower-status management team members and manage each group differently…”

Arijit Chatterjee, Management, ESSEC Business School, Singapore and Timothy Pollock, Penn State University
Academy of Management Review, amr-2015.


“We explore how narcissistic CEOs address two powerful and conflicting needs: the need for acclaim, and the need to dominate others.

“We argue that narcissistic CEOs address their need for acclaim by pursuing celebrity in the media and affiliating with high-status board members, and address their need to dominate others by employing lower-status, younger and less experienced TMT members who will be more deferential to and dependent on the narcissistic CEO. They manage each group differently through the use of different rewards, punishments and influence tactics.

“Our paper extends earlier theory on CEO narcissism by exploring the mediating constructs that can link CEO narcissism and firm performance, offers a greater understanding of corporate governance by exploring how CEO personality traits influence governance structures, and demonstrates how a CEO’s personality characteristics can affect the acquisition of social approval assets.”

Access the full paper here: Master of puppets

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