Master of puppets: How narcissistic ceos construct their professional worlds

Arijit Chatterjee, Timothy G. Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


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 they address their need to dominate others by employing lowerstatus, younger, and less experienced top management team members who will be more deferential to and dependent on them. They manage each group differently through the use of different rewards, punishments, and influence tactics. We extend prior theory on CEO narcissism by exploring the mediating constructs that can link CEO narcissism and firm performance, offer a greater understanding of corporate governance by exploring how CEO personality traits influence governance structures, and demonstrate how a CEO's personality characteristics can affect the acquisition of social approval assets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-725
Number of pages23
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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