To read this content please select one of the options below:

Near the breaking point: CEO job demands, innovation, and the role of CEO emotions

Andres Felipe Cortes (Welch College of Business and Technology, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA)
Pol Herrmann (Ivy College of Business, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 28 December 2023

Issue publication date: 22 January 2024




Building on the premise that the CEO position is complex and challenging, and drawing on research on upper echelons, executive job demands and emotions, this study explores how chief executive officers' (CEOs’) perceptions of job-associated difficulty can influence negative emotional displays and subsequently hamper firm innovation. Additionally, the authors explore how CEOs with higher levels of emotional intelligence might mitigate the influence of job demands on negative emotional displays.


The authors conducted a two-stage survey with a sample of CEOs and top management team members from 120 small- and medium-sized firms operating in multiple industries in Colombia.


The authors found that CEOs' perceptions of job demands are positively associated with CEOs' displays of negative emotions, which in turn are negatively associated with firm innovation. The authors also find that two dimensions of emotional intelligence (self-appraisal and regulation) weaken the influence of CEO perceptions of job demands on CEO negative emotional displays.


The authors advance a novel perspective on the challenges of leading organizations by explaining the emotional implications of the CEO position, underscoring their repercussions for important organizational outcomes such as innovation and suggesting potential ways CEOs can handle the emotional consequences of their position.



The authors would like to thank José Rosa, James Summers, Howard Van Auken, Elizabeth Hoffman, Scott Johnson, Marc Anderson and Jianhong Chen for their feedback in earlier versions of this manuscript.


Cortes, A.F. and Herrmann, P. (2024), "Near the breaking point: CEO job demands, innovation, and the role of CEO emotions", Management Decision, Vol. 62 No. 1, pp. 88-106.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles