Date of Award


Degree Name

Business Administration


Elizabeth McDowell Lewis College of Business

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Mohammad Uddin, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy Bryan

Third Advisor

Dr. Doohee Lee


CEO narcissism has become an urgent growing trend in business and accounting literature lately due to its strategic impact on CEO behavior and decision-making. Similarly, the opportunistic behavior of audit opinion shopping is a well-known concern among U.S. and international regulators and has been the subject of academic research for decades. This study investigates the association between the two. Specifically, this study examines whether narcissistic CEOs, motivated by their need for positive self-image, recognition, and praise, as well as their fear of adverse effects on their status and compensation, engage in opinion shopping in order to avoid receiving an unfavorable audit opinion, even at the expense of audit quality. The data for this study was obtained from various databases, and the narcissism scores were determined using an abridged version of Chatterjee and Hambrick’s CEO narcissism index. The study utilized the opinion shopping framework developed by Lennox and analyzed a sample set of 4,328 observations from the years 1999-2017.

Using a sample of 4,328 firm-year observations for the period 1999-2017, this study finds that companies led by more narcissistic CEOs are more likely to opportunistically seek out auditors who will provide favorable opinions compared to companies led by less narcissistic CEOs. Additionally, the study suggests that this relationship may be further enhanced through CEO duality, where the narcissistic CEO also serves as the board chair, increasing their power compared to otherwise CEOs who do not serve as board chair. Finally, the study finds that the managerial inability of the narcissistic CEO further strengthens the relationship, as less able narcissistic CEOs are more likely to use opinion shopping tactics to compensate for their lack of ability compared to their more capable counterparts.

By extending the upper echelons theory, this study makes significant contributions to the literature on auditing and executive behavior bias. It demonstrates a connection between audit opinion shopping and CEO narcissism, while also extending the growing body of research on the behavior of narcissistic CEOs. Furthermore, the findings of this study have broader implications for accounting regulators, auditors, and investors.


Corporations -- Accounting.

Auditors -- Selection and appointment.

Chief executive officers.

Executives -- Psychology.

Executive ability.