In retrospect: The influence of chief executive officers’ historical relative pay on overconfidence

J. Daniel Zyung, Wei Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study proposes that chief executive officers who have received over their tenure a greater sum of total compensation relative to the market’s going rate become overconfident. We posit that this happens because historically overpaid chief executive officers perceive greater self-worth to the firm whereby such self-serving attribution inflates their level of self-confidence. We also identify chief executive officer- and firm-level cues that can influence the relationship between chief executive officers’ historical relative pay and their overconfidence, suggesting that chief executive officers’ perceived self-worth is more pronounced when chief executive officers possess less power and when their firm’s performance has improved upon their historical aspirations. Using a sample of 1185 firms and their chief executive officers during the years 2000–2016, we find empirical support for our predictions. Findings from this study contribute to strategic leadership research by highlighting the important role of executives’ compensation in creating overconfidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStrategic Organization
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • attribution theory
  • chief executive officers’ historical relative pay
  • chief executive officers’ overconfidence
  • linguistic indicators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Education
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management

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