SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Park, S., Westphal, J., & Stern, I. (2011). Set up for a fall: The insidious effects of flattery and opinion conformity toward corporate leaders. Administrative Science Quarterly, 56, 257–302.

Abstract: This study considers the potentially negative consequences for corporate leaders of being subjected to high levels of ingratiation in the form of flattery and opinion conformity from other managers and board members. Chief executive officers (CEOs) who have acquired positions of relatively high social status in the corporate elite tend to be attractive targets of flattery and opinion conformity from colleagues, which can have potentially negative consequences for CEOs and their firms. Our theory suggests how high levels of flattery and opinion conformity can increase CEOs’ overconfidence in their strategic judgment and leadership capability, which results in biased strategic decision making. Specifically, we contend that heightened overconfidence from receiving high levels of such ingratiatory behavior reduces the likelihood that CEOs will initiate needed strategic change in response to poor firm performance. We tested and confirmed our hypotheses with a dataset that includes original survey data from a large sample of U.S. CEOs, other top managers, and board members in the period 2001–2007. Further analyses suggest that strategic persistence that results from high levels of flattery and opinion conformity directed at the CEO can result in the persistence of low firm performance and may ultimately increase the likelihood of the CEO’s dismissal. Implications for theory and research on social influence, sources of overconfidence in decision making, and the dynamics of executive careers are discussed.

Journal Article 2: Belschak, F., Den Hartog, D., & Kalshoven, K. (2013). Leading Machiavellians: How to translate Machiavellians’ selfishness into pro-organizational behavior. Journal of Management, 41, 1934–1956.

Abstract: Machiavellians are said to be manipulative people who reduce the social capital of the organization. Yet some authors note that Machiavellians are also highly adaptive individuals who are able to contribute, cooperate, and use pro-social strategies when it is advantageous to them. Here we study whether transformational leader behavior can stimulate Machiavellian followers to engage in organizationally desirable behaviors such as challenging organizational citizenship behavior. We hypothesized and found in two multi-source field studies that transformational leadership moderates the relationship between Machiavellianism and challenging organizational citizenship behavior. In Study 2, we hypothesized a moderated mediation model and found that enhanced job autonomy and accompanying intrinsic motivation relating to transformational leadership explain (part of) the relationship between transformational leader behavior and challenging citizenship behavior of Machiavellian followers.