Conceptualizing executive hubris: the role of (hyper-)core self-evaluations in strategic decision-making


  • Nathan J. Hiller,

    1. College of Arts and Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
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  • Donald C. Hambrick

    Corresponding author
    1. Smeal College of Business Administration, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
    • Smeal College of Business Administration, The Pennsylvania State University, 440 Beam Business Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802, U.S.A.
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Researchers have long been interested in how an executive's self-concept affects his or her behaviors, but have lacked a theoretically grounded, validated construct for conducting systematic inquires. The concept of ‘core self-evaluation’ (CSE), which has been recently validated in the psychology literature, concisely encompasses and consolidates the common, overlapping portions of four previously unconnected personality dimensions: self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of control, and emotional stability. CSE has great potential to provide substantial leverage for research on executive self-concept. We review and reconcile prior research on related constructs in executive settings (including narcissism, hubris, and overconfidence) and argue that CSE should be adopted as a robust, well-validated umbrella construct for research on executive self-concept. Indeed, a very high level of CSE, or hyper-CSE, aligns closely with what is often colloquially called ‘hubris.’ We anticipate that hyper-CSE executives—who possess supreme levels of self-confidence, self-potency, and conviction that they will prevail—will manifest this trait in their job behaviors. We develop a set of integrated propositions that describe the implications of CSE for strategic decision processes, strategic choices, and organizational performance. Finally, we propose additional avenues for research. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.