Psychopathic Traits of Corporate Leadership as Predictors of Future Stock Returns

Omar, Ayman M.A.; Wisniewski, Tomasz Piotr and Yekini, Liafisu Sina (2019). Psychopathic Traits of Corporate Leadership as Predictors of Future Stock Returns. European Financial Management, 25(5) pp. 1196–1228.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/eufm.12244

Abstract

This paper examines whether it is possible to forecast 1-year-ahead returns of individual companies based on the observed ‘psychopathic’ characteristics of their top management team. We find that language characteristic of psychopaths present in annual report narratives, questionable integrity, excessive risk-taking and failure to contribute to charitable undertakings tend to reduce future shareholder wealth. These findings imply that firms could benefit from incorporating psychological evaluation in their recruitment processes, especially when seeking to fill senior management posts. While the return predictability described in this paper supports the upper echelons perspective, it simultaneously challenges the notion of informationally efficient stock prices.

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