A tentative theory of the quadrupole moment Q2+ of the first 2+ excited state of spherical nuclei is developed as a logical extension of the methods used in the usual theory based on pairing plus quadrupole-quadrupole interaction. In the latter, in which the quasiparticle occupation amplitudes in the ground state are taken to be of zero order and the off-diagonal amplitudes connecting the ground state with the 2+ state to be of first order (and described by the random-phase approximation), Q2+ is nominally of second order. We find that, in a consistent calculation, the quadrupole deformation is driven by the off-diagonal amplitudes, but that there is also the possibility of a self-sustained deformation for sufficiently large quadrupole coupling constants. Numerically, one finds ranges of the latter, all in accord with the excitation energy and the E2 transition probability, for which Q2+ shows extremely rapid variations, and in particular, also assumes values sufficiently large to contradict the whole basis of the calculation. The need for a self-consistent intermediate coupling calculation is indicated.