Signature Size Correlates With Narcissism, Trouble In CEOs [Study]

A new study is claiming that size really does matter — when it comes to the size of your CEO’s signature, that is.

The study has found a correlation between bigger signatures and narcissism in CEOs, as well as whether your boss will run the company into the ground or not.

ABC News reports that the study compared the signatures of 605 CEOs of US firms and found that the bigger the person’s signature, the more likely the person was to be narcissistic.

In an interesting development, the study also found that big-signature CEOs tend to get higher compensation, even if they are not providing the results the company wants to see.

The study’s authors define narcissism in this case as an egotism associated with both conceit and a disregard for others. People with narcissistic personalities tend to have a heightened opinion of themselves and the work they do. They also tend to belittle and dismiss the abilities of their peers.

Bloomberg Businessesweek notes that the research comes from business professors at the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. They wrote in the study:

“Narcissistic CEOs also deliver worse current performance. Despite the negative performance relationship, more narcissistic CEOs enjoy higher compensation.”

The authors also acknowledge that they are not the first ones to draw this conclusion. Previous researchers have also tried other ways to determine if a CEO is narcissistic or not. But the UNC study is the first to focus on signature size. It is also the first study that correlates big signatures with bad decision-making.

They assert that the CEOs with the largest signatures are those who most often over-spend on research and development or asset acquisition. Their companies tend to lag behind on their economic performance. Narcissism experts James Westerman and Jacqueline Berbman of Appalachian State University are not so cure.

They assert that other factors can determine the size of a person’s signature, like high self-esteem and an extroverted personality. What do you think of the correlation between CEOs big signatures and narcissism?

[Image by Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

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