According to a field study of 104 top management teams (TMTs) from publicly-listed firms in South Korea, researchers found a conditional relationship between CEO narcissism and sales growth.

With their deliberative integration, the pattern shows “evidence for the importance of accounting for narcissism in the upper echelons as a predictor of sales growth, and key contextual moderators of this relationship.”

Often referred to as a ‘productive narcissist’, American psychoanalyst and anthropologist Michael Maccoby explains the effectiveness of such narcissistic leaders:

“The difference is that the most productive narcissists, the ones who do change our world, have the charisma and drive to convince others to buy in to their vision or embrace a common purpose.

“They communicate a sense of meaning that inspires others to follow them, whereas the unproductive types retreat into their own world and blame others for their isolation. In other words, productive narcissists have the ability to change society. They are the people who take the risks that others can’t, or won’t, dare”, Maccobby added.

As a result, productive narcissistic leaders tend to boost production, increase sales, and get better contracts or deals, than others without narcissistic personality disorder.

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Whether narcissistic leaders tend to bring out the best work behaviors in others, a study called “Narcissistic Leaders and Their Victims: Followers Low on Self-Esteem and Low on Core Self-Evaluations Suffer Most” including 85 leaders and 128 followers, revealed that “narcissistic leaders were rated as more abusive by followers who were low on self-esteem, but not those higher on self-esteem.”

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Study: “Birds of a feather?: Firm sales growth and narcissism in the upper echelons at the CEO-TMT interface”
Authors: Daniel G. Bachrach, Kyoung Yong Kim, Pankaj C.Patel, P.D.Harmsc
Published in: The Leadership Quarterly
Publication date: May 22, 2022
Image: via Unsplash

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