CEO narcissism and CSR decoupling: The Case of Europe

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This paper examines whether firms which have narcissistic chief executive officers (CEOs) tend to engage more in corporate social responsibility (CSR) decoupling than firms that have “neurotypical” CEOs. This paper uses a proven method used by Aktas et al. (2016) to determine narcissism of CEOs by using CEO speech patterns in interviews. To determine CSR decoupling this paper uses a method by Hawn & Ioannou (2016), looking at the misalignment between external and internal CSR actions. This paper furthermore investigates whether this effect continues to exist when only including green- or brownwashing firms, and when looking at internal and external CSR actions separately. This paper finds no evidence for the hypothesized relationships between CEO narcissism and CSR decoupling, greenwashing, brownwashing, and external CSR actions, while it finds unexpected evidence for a negative relationship between CEO narcissism and internal CSR actions. Due to pragmatic reasons, this paper comes with some limitations, most notably the sample size and the accuracy of the narcissism indicator. However, the combinations of different measuring techniques used in this paper nonetheless do seem promising for future research.
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