Numerous studies show that high levels of Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) in firms positively influence firm performance. Yet, high levels of Dark Triad (DT) traits – narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy – of managers might work detrimental to EO. Our study empirically tests if top managers who score high on Dark Triad traits have a negative influence on firm performance, reducing the merits of EO. Results of a survey study on 191 firms show that all three dimensions of the DT, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy, suppress the positive effects that EO has on firm performance. Accordingly, selfish behaviour, emotional coldness, propensity for duplicity, and top managers‘ quest for self promotion, status, and dominance lead to behaviour that reduces the positive influences around innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk-taking of EO.


Bouncken, R., Cesinger, B., & Tiberius, V. (2020). Narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy of top managers – can entrepreneurial orientation secure performance? International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 12(3), 273-302, doi:10.1504/IJEV.2020.10030041.