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Do CEO overconfidence and narcissism affect corporate social responsibility in the UK listed companies? The moderating role of corporate governance

Asma Bouzouitina (University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)
Mouakhar Khaireddine (Métis Labs, Ecole de Management de Normandie, Caen, France)
Anis Jarboui (University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 8 February 2021

Issue publication date: 4 August 2021




This paper aims to examine the effect of two CEO characteristics, namely, narcissism and overconfidence on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the moderating effect of corporate governance (CG) mechanisms in the UK.


Using a sample of 2,360 UK firms listed on the FTSE 400 index for the years 2010–2017, the feasible generalized least squares method was applied to test the hypotheses developed.


The finding argues that CEO narcissism and overconfidence positively affect CSR. In addition, this paper found that CG effectiveness moderates the CEO’s CSR behavior.

Research limitations/implications

This research is subjected to two limitations. First, this study used different measures to proxy for CEO narcissism and overconfidence. However, other measures are not included owing to the difficulty to collect data regarding these measures. Second, this study includes only CSR performance instead of all other dimensions and categories of CSR. These limitations do not change the conclusions of this research, and they may provide guidance for further investigations.

Practical implications

Given that the CEOs psychological and behavioral features are critical in understanding CSR, shareholders and boards of directors should incorporate the behavioral aspects of narcissistic and overconfident CEOs in the design of CSR strategy.


This study emphasizes the importance of top executives’ psychological characteristics for CSR, which is a key application and complements the “upper echelons theory” and fills the research gap in the literature. This is one of the few studies that investigate the interaction between CG, CEO profile and CSR.



The results of this study may help researchers to analyze and explain how CG, especially the ownership structure and the board of directors, has a significant and moderating role in the relationship between CSR and CEO personal traits.


Bouzouitina, A., Khaireddine, M. and Jarboui, A. (2021), "Do CEO overconfidence and narcissism affect corporate social responsibility in the UK listed companies? The moderating role of corporate governance", Society and Business Review, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 156-183.



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