The dark and bright sides of hubris: Conceptual implications for corporate governance and leadership research
Authors: Zeitoun, H., Nordberg, D. and Homberg, F.
Start date: 27 June 2018
Hubris among corporate leaders has recently gained much academic attention. By emphasizing a “control” perspective, corporate governance research has focused on containing its negative aspects, for example, by challenging overreach in strategic leaders during acquisitions. However, adjacent disciplines, including entrepreneurship and innovation, identify positive consequences in hubristic decision-making. How comparable are these findings? To address this question, we assess the hubris concept against criteria for concept evaluation and discuss the implications for governance and leadership research. Appraising the conceptual and methodological approaches used in the hubris literature, we find that while the hubris concept has many strengths, several challenges remain. We suggest conceptual and theoretical research aimed at increasing construct clarity, validating the hubris construct, and extending the scope of hubris research. We also propose research with boards to clarify how they make decisions to cope with the “dark side” of hubris without suppressing “bright side” outcomes.