Are Narcissistic CEOs Good or Bad for Family Firm Innovation? By Paola Rovelli(Free University of Bozen-Bolzano), Alfredo De Massis(Free University of Bozen-Bolzano,IMD,Lancaster University,Zhejiang University),Luis R Gomez-Mejia(Arizona State University)


PAOLA ROVELLI Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
ALFREDO DE MASSIS Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy, IMD, Switzerland, Lancaster University, UK, Zhejiang University, China
LUIS R GOMEZ-MEJIA Arizona State University, USA

Can family firms benefit from narcissistic CEOs or should they avoid appointing individuals with this personality trait? Findings from a survey of Italian CEOs published in Human Relations, found that CEOs leading family firms are less narcissistic than CEOs in nonfamily firms. However, family firms that are led by more narcissistic CEOs tend to exploit greater innovation opportunities by fostering a more comprehensive strategic decision-making process in their top management teams, which may benefit firm performance.

Implications for family enterprises:
While narcissistic CEOs in family firms potentially threaten socioemotional wealth (SEW), such leaders can benefit the family firm through their tendency to exploit innovation opportunities. Their involvement can be balanced by ensuring that the right governance structures are in place to preserve SEW.

Source: Rovelli, P., De Massis, A., & Gomez-Mejia, L. R. (2022). EXPRESS: Are narcissistic CEOs good or bad for family firm innovation? Human Relations, 00187267221076834.

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