Advertisement

Narcissism and Leadership: A Perfect Match?

  • Barbara NevickaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

At first glance, narcissism and leadership might appear like a perfect match. Narcissistic individuals have many prototypical (leader-like) characteristics (such as confidence, dominance, and extraversion); they create positive first impressions in social contexts, and they actively seek positions of power. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that they tend to frequently emerge as leaders in groups. While this has been consistently found in research, it is less well known what kind of impact narcissistic leaders have on those they lead. In this chapter, I will discuss theory and research showing how (grandiose) narcissistic individuals attain leadership positions as well as what happens after they have reached these positions of power. I will discuss how narcissistic leaders possess both positive (such as charisma, extraversion, confidence, and a bold vision) and negative characteristics (such as lack of empathy, aggression, a tendency to exploit others, and egocentrism) and address how they can influence their followers, organizations, and society at large in both a positive and negative way. I will conclude this chapter with a short discussion about possible future research directions. Here, I will highlight the importance of contextual factors in determining the impact of narcissistic leaders and thus advocate the importance for future research to not ask whether narcissistic leaders are effective but rather to ask when they are effective.

Keywords

Leadership Leader emergence Leadership effectiveness Prototypical leader characteristics Role of context 

References

  1. Anderson, C., & Kilduff, G. J. (2009). The pursuit of status in social groups. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 295–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antonakis, J., & Atwater, L. (2002). Leader distance: A review and a proposed theory. The Leadership Quarterly, 13, 673–704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Back, M. D., Schmukle, S. C., & Egloff, B. (2010). Why are narcissists so charming at first sight? Decoding the narcissism–popularity link at zero acquaintance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 132–145.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Barry, C. T., Chaplin, W. F., & Grafeman, S. J. (2006). Aggression following performance feedback: The influences of narcissism, feedback valence, and comparative standard. Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 177–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benson, A. J., Jordan, C. H., & Christie, A. M. (2016). Narcissistic reactions to subordinate role assignment: The case of the narcissistic follower. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 985–999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Biesanz, J. C., West, S. G., & Millevoi, A. (2007). What do you learn about someone over time? The relationship between length of acquaintance and consensus and self-other agreement in judgments of personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blickle, G., Schlegel, A., Fassbender, P., & Klein, U. (2006). Some personality correlates of business white-collar crime. Applied Psychology, 55, 220–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brunell, A. B., Gentry, W. A., Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Kuhnert, K. W., & DeMarree, K. G. (2008). Leader emergence: The case of the narcissistic leader. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 219–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Campbell, W. K., Bush, C. P., Brunell, A. B., & Shelton, J. (2005). Understanding the social costs of narcissism: The case of the tragedy of the commons. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1358–1368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Campbell, W. K., & Campbell, S. M. (2009). On the self-regulatory dynamics created by the peculiar benefits and costs of narcissism: A contextual reinforcement model and examination of leadership. Self and Identity, 8, 214–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Campbell, S. M., & Marchisio, G. (2011). Narcissism in organizational contexts. Human Resource Management Review, 21, 268–284.Google Scholar
  13. Carlson, E. N., & DesJardins, N. M. L. (2015). Do mean guys always finish first or just say that they do? Narcissists’ awareness of their social status and popularity over time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 901–917.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Carlson, E. N., Vazire, S., & Oltmanns, T. F. (2011). You probably think this paper’s about you: Narcissists’ perceptions of their personality and reputation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 185–201.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Carson, R. (1969). Interaction concepts of personality. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  16. Chatterjee, A., & Hambrick, D. C. (2007). It’s all about me: Narcissistic CEOs and their effects on company performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 52, 351–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deluga, R. J. (1997). Relationship among American presidential charismatic leadership, narcissism, and rated performance. Leadership Quarterly, 8, 49–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gabriel, M. T., Critelli, J. W., & Ee, J. S. (1994). Narcissistic illusions in self-evaluations of intelligence and attractiveness. Journal of Personality, 62, 143–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Galvin, B. M., Waldman, D. A., & Balthazard, P. (2010). Visionary communication qualities as mediators of the relationship between narcissism and attributions of leader charisma. Personnel Psychology, 63, 509–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gerstner, W. C., König, A., Enders, A., & Hambrick, D. C. (2013). CEO narcissism, audience engagement, and organizational adoption of technological discontinuities. Administrative Science Quarterly, 58, 257–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glad, B. (2002). Why tyrants go too far: Malignant narcissism and absolute power. Political Psychology, 23, 1–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grant, A. M., Gino, F., & Hofmann, D. A. (2011). Reversing the extraverted leadership advantage: The role of employee proactivity. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 528–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grijalva, E., & Harms, P. D. (2014). Narcissism: An integrative synthesis and dominance complementarity model. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 28, 108–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grijalva, E., Harms, P. D., Newman, D. A., Gaddis, B. H., & Fraley, R. C. (2015). Narcissism and leadership: A meta-analytic review of linear and nonlinear relationships. Personnel Psychology, 68, 1–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hinds, P. J., & Cramton, C. D. (2013). Situated coworker familiarity: How site visits transform relationships among distributed workers. Organization Science, 25, 794–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hoyt, C. L., Simon, S., & Reid, L. (2009). Choosing the best (wo)man for the job: The effects of mortality salience, sex, and gender stereotypes on leader evaluations. Leadership Quarterly, 20, 233–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R., & Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 765–780.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Judge, T. A., LePine, J. A., & Rich, B. L. (2006). Loving yourself abundantly: Relationship of the narcissistic personality to self- and other perceptions of workplace deviance, leadership, and task and contextual performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 762–776.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Judge, T. A., Piccolo, R. F., & Kosalka, T. (2009). The bright and dark sides of leader traits: A review and theoretical extension of the leader trait paradigm. Leadership Quarterly, 20, 855–875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kausel, E. E., Culbertson, S. S., Leiva, P. I., Slaughter, J. E., & Jackson, A. T. (2015). Too arrogant for their own good? Why and when narcissists dismiss advice. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 131, 33–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kellett, J. B., Humphrey, R., & Sleeth, R. G. (2006). Empathy and the emergence of task and relations leaders. Leadership Quarterly, 17, 146–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kiesler, D. J. (1983). The 1982 interpersonal circle: A taxonomy for complementarity in human transactions. Psychological Review, 90, 185–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kramer, R. M. (2003, October). The harder they fall. Harvard Business Review, 81, 58–66.Google Scholar
  34. Leckelt, M., Küfner, A. C. P., Nestler, S., & Back, M. D. (2015). Behavioral processes underlying the decline of narcissists’ popularity over time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109, 856–871.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Lord, R. G., Brown, D. J., Harvey, J. L., & Hall, R. J. (2001). Contextual constraints on prototype generation and their multilevel consequences for leadership perceptions. Leadership Quarterly, 12, 311–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lord, R. G., Foti, R., & DeVader, C. L. (1984). A test of leadership categorization theory: Internal structure, information processing, and leadership perceptions. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 34, 343–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lord, R. G., & Maher, K. (1991). Leadership and information processing. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Maccoby, M. (2000). Narcissistic leaders. Harvard Business Review, 78, 68–78.Google Scholar
  39. Macenczak, L. A., Campbell, S., Henley, A. B., & Campbell, W. K. (2016). Direct and interactive effects of narcissism and power on overconfidence. Personality and Individual Differences, 91, 113–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Madera, J. M., & Smith, D. B. (2009). The effects of leader negative emotions on evaluations of leadership in a crisis situation: The role of anger and sadness. Leadership Quarterly, 20, 103–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Madsen, D., & Snow, P. G. (1991). The charismatic bond: Political behavior in time of crisis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Martin, S. R., Côté, S., & Woodruff, T. (2016). Echoes of our upbringing: How growing up wealthy or poor relates to narcissism, leader behavior, and leader effectiveness. Academy of Management Journal, 59, 2157–2177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Martinez, M. A., Zeichner, A., Reidy, D. E., & Miller, J. D. (2008). Narcissism and displaced aggression: Effects of positive, negative, and delayed feedback. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 140–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Miller, J. D., Hoffman, B. J., Gaughan, E. T., Gentile, B., Maples, J., & Keith Campbell, W. (2011). Grandiose and vulnerable narcissism: A nomological network analysis. Journal of Personality, 79, 1013–1042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Miller, J. D., Lynam, D. R., Vize, C., Crowe, M., Sleep, C., Maples-Keller, J. L., et al. (2018). Vulnerable narcissism is (mostly) a disorder of neuroticism. Journal of Personality, 86, 186–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Miller, J. D., Price, J., & Campbell, W. K. (2012). Is the narcissistic personality inventory still relevant? A test of independent grandiosity and entitlement scales in the assessment of narcissism. Assessment, 19, 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Morf, C. C., & Rhodewalt, F. (2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A dynamic self-regulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12, 177–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Murphy, S. C., von Hippel, W., Dubbs, S. L., Angilletta, M. J., Jr., Wilson, R. S., Trivers, R., et al. (2015). The role of overconfidence in romantic desirability and competition. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 1036–1052.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Napier, B. J., & Ferris, G. R. (1993). Distance in organizations. Human Resource Management Review, 3, 321–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nevicka, B., Baas, M., & Ten Velden, F. S. (2016). The bright side of threatened narcissism: Improved performance following ego-threat. Journal of Personality, 84, 809–823.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Nevicka, B., De Hoogh, A. H., Van Vianen, A. E., & Ten Velden, F. S. (2013). Uncertainty enhances the preference for narcissistic leaders. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 370–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nevicka, B., De Hoogh, A. H. B., Van Vianen, A. E. M., Beersma, B., & McIlwain, D. (2011). All I need is a stage to shine: Narcissists’ leader emergence and performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 22, 910–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nevicka, B., Ten Velden, F. S., De Hoogh, A. H. B., & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2011). Reality at odds with perceptions: Narcissistic leaders and group performance. Psychological Science, 22, 1259–1264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Offermann, L. R., Kennedy, J. F., & Wirtz, P. W. (1994). Implicit theories: Content, structure, and generalizability. Leadership Quarterly, 5, 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ong, C. W., Roberts, R., Arthur, C. A., Woodman, T., & Akehurst, S. (2016). The leader ship is sinking: A temporal investigation of narcissistic leadership. Journal of Personality, 8, 237–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Padilla, A., Hogan, R., & Kaiser, B. (2007). The toxic triangle: Destructive leaders, susceptible followers, and conducive environments. Leadership Quarterly, 18, 176–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Interpersonal and intrapsychic adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: A mixed blessing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1197–1208.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Paunonen, S. V., Lönnqvist, J. E., Verkasalo, M., Leikas, S., & Nissinen, V. (2006). Narcissism and emergent leadership in military cadets. Leadership Quarterly, 17, 475–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pearson, C. M., & Clair, J. A. (1998). Reframing crisis management. Academy of Management Review, 23, 59–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Penney, L. M., & Spector, P. E. (2002). Narcissism and counterproductive work behavior: Do bigger egos mean bigger problems?. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 10, 126–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Post, J. M. (1993). Current concepts of the narcissistic personality: Implications for political psychology. Political Psychology, 14, 99–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Robins, R. W., & Paulhus, D. L. (2001). The character of self-enhancers: Implications for organizations. In B. W. Roberts & R. Hogan (Eds.), Personality psychology in the workplace (pp. 193–219). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rosenthal, S. A., & Pittinsky, T. L. (2006). Narcissistic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17, 617–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sedikides, C., & Campbell, W. K. (2017). Narcissistic force meets systemic resistance: The energy clash model. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 400–421.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Shamir, B., & Howell, J. M. (1999). Organizational and contextual influences on the emergence and effectiveness of charismatic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 10, 257–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Shechtman, N., & Horowitz, L. M. (2006). Interpersonal and noninterpersonal interactions, interpersonal motives, and the effect of frustrated motives. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 1126–1139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Smith, J. A., & Foti, R. J. (1998). A pattern approach to the study of leader emergence. The Leadership Quarterly, 9, 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Stucke, T. S. (2003). Who’s to blame? Narcissism and self-serving attributions following feedback. European Journal of Personality, 17, 465–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tepper, B. J. (2000). Consequences of abusive supervision. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 178–190.Google Scholar
  70. Thomas, G., Martin, R., Epitropaki, O., Guillaume, Y., & Lee, A. (2013). Social cognition in leader-follower relationships: Applying insights from relationship science to understanding relationship-based approaches to leadership. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34, S63–S81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Thoroughgood, C. N., Padilla, A., Hunter, S. T., & Tate, B. W. (2012). The susceptible circle: A taxonomy of followers associated with destructive leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 23, 897–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Vazire, S. (2010). Who knows what about a person? The self–other knowledge asymmetry (SOKA) model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 281–300.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Visser, B. A., Book, A. S., & Volk, A. A. (2017). Is Hillary dishonest and Donald narcissistic? A HEXACO analysis of the presidential candidates’ public personas. Personality and Individual Differences, 106, 281–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Wallace, H. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (2002). The performance of a narcissist rises and falls with perceived opportunities for glory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 819–834.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Wallace, H. M., Ready, C. B., & Weitenhagen, E. (2009). Narcissism and task persistence. Self and Identity, 8, 78–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Watts, A. L., Lilienfeld, S. O., Smith, S. F., Miller, J. D., Campbell, W. K., Waldman, I. D., et al. (2013). The double-edged sword of grandiose narcissism: Implications for successful and unsuccessful leadership among U.S. presidents. Psychological Science, 24, 2379–2389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zitek, E. M., & Jordan, A. H. (2016). Narcissism predicts support for hierarchy (at least when narcissists think they can rise to the top). Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7, 707–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Work and Organizational PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations