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My choices are better than yours! Gender differences in narcissistic start-up entrepreneurs

Simona Leonelli (Università degli Studi di Padova, Padova, Italy)

EuroMed Journal of Business

ISSN: 1450-2194

Article publication date: 2 June 2021

Issue publication date: 22 November 2022




The paper explores the role of narcissism on entrepreneurs' decisions in terms of organizational choices, discussing gender differences. The aim relies in the influence that entrepreneurs' personality, capabilities and cognitive orientation have in the creation and management of start-ups.


Analyzing an Italian sample of 207 entrepreneurs and using Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and generalized linear model methods, the hypotheses were tested to understand whether and how narcissism affects Research and development (R&D) expenditure, patent ownership and the presence of a specialized team in organizations led by women and men entrepreneurs.


Differences in the management and organizational choices of narcissistic women entrepreneurs compared to their men counterparts emerged. First, results show that women entrepreneurs are less narcissistic than men. Second, gender is shown to moderate the effect of narcissism on the choice of having a qualified team in a start-up. Third, narcissistic women entrepreneurs were found to engage less in risk-taking activities, such as R&D expenditure, and to patent their ideas more than their male counterparts.


The study expands the existing literature by applying a gendered lens to entrepreneurs' narcissism to investigate whether they behave and manage their start-ups differently.



The author thanks reviewers and editor that with their valuable comments helped in improving the article.

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


Leonelli, S. (2022), "My choices are better than yours! Gender differences in narcissistic start-up entrepreneurs", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 488-502.



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