Beyond a One-Size-Fits-All Mentality: An Experimental Investigation of How Narcissistic Employees Respond to Relative Performance Information

38 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2012 Last revised: 4 Oct 2016

See all articles by Jeffrey Hales

Jeffrey Hales

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Jessen L. Hobson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Robert J. Resutek

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting

Date Written: September 1, 2016

Abstract

We use two experiments to examine the effects of relative performance information (RPI) on self-reported performance achieved by employees who exhibit varying degrees of narcissism. In experiment one, we find that high narcissists not only inflate self-reported performance more than low narcissists but also exert more costly effort to achieve higher performance. In experiment two, we find that while high narcissists tend to misreport more than low narcissists, this finding is conditioned on the importance the employee places on the task. Specifically, we find that high narcissists misreport less than low narcissists on tasks they view as less important. Experiment two also shows that RPI salience has a similar effect on both high and low narcissists with respect to misreporting. Our results contribute to a growing literature on management control by showing that RPI does not affect all employees equally, and to research on “toxic employees’ by showing that not all qualities linked to narcissism are harmful to the firm.

Keywords: Relative Performance Information, Narcissism, Management Control Systems, Misreporting

Suggested Citation

Hales, Jeffrey and Hobson, Jessen L. and Resutek, Robert J., Beyond a One-Size-Fits-All Mentality: An Experimental Investigation of How Narcissistic Employees Respond to Relative Performance Information (September 1, 2016). Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Research Paper No. 2016-053. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2021889 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2021889

Jeffrey Hales (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

Jessen L. Hobson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

4011 Business Instructional Facility
515 East Gregory Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Robert J. Resutek

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States

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