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The perks of narcissism: Behaving like a star speeds up career advancement to the CEO position
The Leadership Quarterly  (IF10.517),  Pub Date : 2020-12-11, DOI: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2020.101489
Paola Rovelli, Camilla Curnis

It is widely acknowledged that narcissism is a peculiar characteristic of leaders, such as CEOs. However, the role of narcissism in CEO emergence and appointment has not been studied yet. We overcome this gap by studying whether having a highly narcissistic personality allows individuals to become CEOs sooner. We posit that these individuals have quicker career development, climbing the hierarchical chain faster. We also hypothesize that this relation may be moderated by the firm's characteristics, comparing family and nonfamily firms. Family firms are the most widespread organizational form of firms around the world, and their peculiarities might affect the appointment of narcissistic CEOs. Estimates on a sample of 172 individuals partially confirm the hypotheses. Highly narcissistic individuals become CEOs quicker, regardless of whether the firm is a family business or not. Narcissistic individuals thus benefit from their personality when aiming at becoming CEOs faster in their career advancement.