Do Birds of a Feather Flock Together? The Joint Effects of Manager and Subordinate Narcissism on Performance Evaluation

53 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2022 Last revised: 5 May 2022

See all articles by Miriam Maske

Miriam Maske

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Universität der Bundeswehr München

Matthias Sohn

European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Date Written: March 1, 2022

Abstract

Giving superiors discretion in the evaluation of subordinate performance is common in practice. This study investigates the interactive effect of superior and subordinate narcissism on subjective performance evaluation. Based on the homophily effect (i.e., the tendency of like to associate with like), we hypothesize that narcissistic superiors show greater tolerance towards narcissistic subordinates than non-narcissistic superiors. We conduct an online experiment with experienced managers and find that both superiors high and low in narcissism evaluate a narcissistic subordinate less favorably than non-narcissistic subordinates. Our results show that this effect is mediated by the superiors’ weaker feelings of closeness to narcissistic subordinates. In line with our hypotheses, this mediation is moderated by superior narcissism. Superiors high in narcissism show greater feelings of closeness to narcissistic subordinates and, hence, evaluate narcissistic subordinates more favorably than non-narcissistic superiors. Our results provide novel insight into the pivotal role of individual traits in subjective performance evaluation.

Keywords: Subjectivity, Performance evaluation, Narcissism, Homophily

JEL Classification: M12, M41, M52

Suggested Citation

Maske, Miriam and Sohn, Matthias, Do Birds of a Feather Flock Together? The Joint Effects of Manager and Subordinate Narcissism on Performance Evaluation (March 1, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4046897 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4046897

Miriam Maske

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Universität der Bundeswehr München ( email )

Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
Neubiberg
Munich, 85579
Germany

Matthias Sohn (Contact Author)

European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) ( email )

Grosse Scharrnstr. 59
Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg 15230
Germany

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