CEO narcissism and incumbent response to technological discontinuities

Wolf Christian Gerstner, Andreas KöNig, Albrecht Enders, Donald C. Hambrick

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

In this study, we adopt the logic of upper echelons theory to expand understanding of how executive personality shapes organizational responses to radical change. Specifically, 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. Furthermore, we posit that the association between CEO narcissism and investments in discontinuous innovation varies over the stages of a new technology's lifecycle. 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. Furthermore, our findings reveal the importance of investigating the contextualized implications of upper echelons effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Event71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - West Meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, Transcending, AOM 2011 - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Aug 12 2011Aug 16 2011

Other

Other71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - West Meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, Transcending, AOM 2011
CountryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX
Period8/12/118/16/11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Industrial relations

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    Gerstner, W. C., KöNig, A., Enders, A., & Hambrick, D. C. (2011). CEO narcissism and incumbent response to technological discontinuities. Paper presented at 71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - West Meets East: Enlightening, Balancing, Transcending, AOM 2011, San Antonio, TX, United States. https://doi.org/10.5464/AMBPP.2011.89.a