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Narcissistic Leaders and Their Victims: Followers Low on Self-Esteem and Low on Core Self-Evaluations Suffer Most

Published on Mar 29, 2018in Frontiers in Psychology 2.13
· DOI :10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00422
Barbara Nevicka4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UvA: University of Amsterdam),
Annebel H. B. De Hoogh16
Estimated H-index: 16
(UvA: University of Amsterdam)
+ 1 AuthorsFrank D. Belschak17
Estimated H-index: 17
(UvA: University of Amsterdam)
Narcissistic leaders are self-absorbed and hold beliefs of entitlement and superiority. Their aggressive tendencies in the face of criticism and inclinations to validate their self-worth by derogating others may lead others to perceive them as being abusive. Here, we test the relationship between leader narcissism and followers' perceptions of abusive supervision. Drawing upon research related to the behavioral plasticity hypothesis, we propose that followers with low self-esteem will perceive narcissistic leaders as more abusive than those with high self-esteem. Followers low on self-esteem are more insecure, more in need of approval from their supervisor and are more likely to interpret the haughty, derogatory attitude of narcissistic leaders as abusive. Such followers also make for 'easier targets' and thus may actually suffer more abusive behavior from their narcissistic leaders. In a first multi-source study of 85 leaders and 128 followers, we found support for the moderating role of follower self-esteem in the relationship between leader narcissism and perceived abusive supervision: Narcissistic leaders were rated as more abusive by followers who were low on self-esteem, but not those higher on self-esteem. In a second multi-source field study among 177 leader-follower dyads, we tested a moderated mediation model and showed that this finding also holds for the broader concept of follower core self-evaluations as a moderator. Abusive supervision, in turn, was related to lower follower performance and followers experiencing more burnout symptoms. Thus, followers low on self-esteem or low on core self-evaluations seem to suffer most from narcissistic leaders as they perceive them to be abusive and, in turn, these followers show reduced performance and more burnout symptoms when working for such leaders. This research thus identifies an important moderator that might help reconcile previous inconsistent findings regarding perceptions of narcissistic leaders.
  • References (101)
  • Citations (3)
Published on May 4, 2018in Journal of Personality Assessment 2.83
Joshua D. Miller53
Estimated H-index: 53
(UGA: University of Georgia),
Brittany Gentile18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UGA: University of Georgia)
+ 3 AuthorsW. Keith Campbell64
Estimated H-index: 64
(UGA: University of Georgia)
ABSTRACTThe Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) is one of the most popular measures of narcissism. However, its use of a forced-choice response set might negatively affect some of its psychometric properties. The purpose of this research was to compare a Likert version of the NPI, in which only the narcissistic response of each pair was given, to the original NPI, in 3 samples of participants (N = 1,109). To this end, we compared the nomological networks of the forced-choice and Likert form...
Published on Jul 1, 2017in Journal of Management 9.06
Jeremy D. Mackey10
Estimated H-index: 10
(AU: Auburn University),
Rachel E. Frieder6
Estimated H-index: 6
(ODU: Old Dominion University)
+ 1 AuthorsMark J. Martinko8
Estimated H-index: 8
(FAMU: Florida A&M University)
We conducted a meta-analysis and empirical review of abusive supervision research in order to derive meta-analytic population estimates for the relationships between perceptions of abusive supervision and numerous demographic, justice, individual difference, leadership, and outcome variables. The use of psychometric correction enabled us to provide weighted mean correlations and population correlation estimates that accounted for attenuation due to measurement error and sampling error variance. ...
Published on May 1, 2017in Perspectives on Psychological Science 8.19
Constantine Sedikides67
Estimated H-index: 67
(University of Southampton),
W. Keith Campbell64
Estimated H-index: 64
(UGA: University of Georgia)
This article focuses on the interplay between narcissistic leaders and organizations. It attempts to capture the gist of this interplay with a model outlining the narcissistic organizational trajectory. The Energy Clash Model borrows and adapts a phase/state physics metaphor to conceptualize narcissism as a force that enters or emerges in a stable system (i.e., organization) as a leader, destabilizes it, and stabilizes it at a different state or is expelled. The model consists of three time-cont...
Published on Jan 1, 2017in Personality and Individual Differences 2.00
K. Alex Burton7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UA: University of Alabama),
John Milton Adams7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UA: University of Alabama)
+ 3 AuthorsGreg Tortoriello1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UA: University of Alabama)
Abstract Previous research suggests that narcissists (vs. non-narcissists) may be more tolerant of other narcissists. However, previous research on this topic has involved methodologies that rely on trait-relevant priming rather than observations of actual behavior, thus limiting the generalizability of the findings. The current study examined whether narcissists tolerate narcissists by assessing participants' reactions to actors behaving in a narcissistic or non-narcissistic fashion. Narcissism...
Published on Dec 1, 2016in Academy of Management Journal 7.19
Sean R. Martin5
Estimated H-index: 5
(BC: Boston College),
Stéphane Côté28
Estimated H-index: 28
(U of T: University of Toronto),
Todd Woodruff2
Estimated H-index: 2
(USMA: United States Military Academy)
We investigate how parental income during an individual’s upbringing relates to his or her effectiveness as a leader after entering an organization. Drawing on research on the psychological effects of income, social learning theory, and the integrative trait-behavioral model of leadership effectiveness, we propose a negative, serially mediated association between higher parental income and lower future leader effectiveness via high levels of narcissism and, in turn, reduced engagement in behavio...
Published on Oct 1, 2016in Personality and Individual Differences 2.00
Jang Ho Moon2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Sookmyung Women's University),
Eunji Lee5
Estimated H-index: 5
(KU: Korea University)
+ 2 AuthorsYongjun Sung23
Estimated H-index: 23
(KU: Korea University)
Abstract Instagram, the rising photo-sharing social networking site, has gained an enormous amount of global popularity. This study examined the relationship between narcissism and Instagram users' self-promoting behavior. A total of 212 active Instagram users in Korea completed an online survey. The results showed that individuals higher in narcissism tended to post selfies and self-presented photos, update their profile picture more often, and spend more time on Instagram, as compared to their...
Published on Sep 1, 2016in Personality and Individual Differences 2.00
Barbara Wisse17
Estimated H-index: 17
Ed Sleebos11
Estimated H-index: 11
(VU: VU University Amsterdam)
Previous work has focused on the potential maladaptive consequences of the Dark Triad personality traits (i.e., Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism) in organizational contexts. This research builds upon this work, examining the influence of supervisor position power on the relationship between supervisor Dark Triad traits and abusive supervision in teams. Regression analysis on the data of 225 teams revealed that supervisor Machiavellianism is positively related to abusive supervision ...
Published on Apr 1, 2016in Journal of Personality 3.08
Chin Wei Ong2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Bangor University),
Ross Roberts14
Estimated H-index: 14
(Bangor University)
+ 2 AuthorsSally Akehurst4
Estimated H-index: 4
(University of Derby)
Individuals higher in narcissism have leader emergent tendencies. The characteristics of their personality suggest, however, that their leadership qualities will decrease over time as a function of group acquaintance. We present data from two studies that provide the first empirical support for this theoretical position within a transformational leadership framework. In Study 1 (N = 112), we tested narcissistic leadership qualities in groups of unacquainted individuals over a 12-week period. In ...
Published on Jan 1, 2016in Psychological Methods 8.19
David A. Cole53
Estimated H-index: 53
Corinne E. Perkins1
Estimated H-index: 1
Rachel L. Zelkowitz8
Estimated H-index: 8
Many researchers are interested in using structural equation models to test theoretical relations among multidimensional constructs; however, logistical constraints often prevent researchers from obtaining multiple measures. The current study examines the implications for such models when a latent variable is extracted from carefully constructed parcels of items obtained from a single multidimensional measure of the multidimensional target construct. Two parceling methods are compared. One is ho...
Published on Jul 1, 2015in Personality and Individual Differences 2.00
Joachim Stoeber33
Estimated H-index: 33
(UKC: University of Kent),
Simon B. Sherry19
Estimated H-index: 19
(Dal: Dalhousie University),
Logan J. Nealis8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Dal: Dalhousie University)
Abstract Multidimensional perfectionism is related to grandiose narcissism, with other-oriented perfectionism showing the strongest, most consistent relationships. The relationships with vulnerable narcissism, however, are unclear. Our study investigated how three forms of perfectionism—self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism (Hewitt & Flett, 1991)—are related to narcissistic grandiosity and vulnerability. A sample of 375 university students completed the Narcissisti...
Cited By3
Published on Oct 17, 2018in Frontiers in Psychology 2.13
Tasneem Fatima3
Estimated H-index: 3
(IIUI: International Islamic University, Islamabad),
Mehwish Majeed (IIUI: International Islamic University, Islamabad), Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah5
Estimated H-index: 5
(IIUI: International Islamic University, Islamabad)
The research on the dark side of leadership is still in its infancy. We have contributed to this line of research by proposing that work alienation acts as an underlying mechanism through which aversive leadership results in reduced job performance. We further propose that psychological capital acts as an important personal resource that reduces the negative effects of aversive leadership in the form of work alienation. The proposed model gets its support from the conversation of resources theor...
Published on Oct 1, 2018in Human Resource Management Review 3.63
Ramzi Fatfouta5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Potsdam)
Abstract Research on narcissism continues to develop at a rapid pace. Yet, researchers from different disciplines are still divided over whether narcissists are good versus bad leaders. On the one hand, narcissists' bright qualities (e.g., charisma) are associated with positive outcomes at different levels of analysis from subordinates, to peers, and the organization as a whole. On the other hand, however, narcissists' dark qualities (e.g., entitlement) are associated with a number of counterpro...