Ever wonder what your boss's signature might say about him or her? A new study suggests that chief executives with outsized John Hancocks are more likely to be narcissists. Big signatures may also mean the CEOs are less capable and poor performing, though that doesn't mean they take home smaller paychecks.
In fact, the study of 605 U.S. CEOs, released by the University of North Carolina business school, found that those with large signatures make the most money -- regardless of how well or poorly they do their jobs. (Shown above is President Barack Obama's signature, which wasn't included in the study.)
In focusing on the size of the signature, ABC News reports, the study is believed to be the first of its kind, according to its authors, who defined narcissism as being conceited and having little regard for others. Narcissists, generally, have heightened opinions of their own capabilities and performance, and tend to dismiss the abilities and advice of others.
The hundreds of CEO signatures were mainly gathered from financial documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as of July 2011, professor Sean Wang, one of the study's three authors, told ABC News. The signatures were then run through a software program to aid in comparison. "We standardized the measure by dividing the area by the number of letters in the CEO's signature," Wang said.
The researchers, he said, relied on findings from psychological literature that "a bigger signature means a bigger ego, on average, though other factors may also determine signature size."