Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Narcissism -- to a point -- can make more effective leader, researchers find

Date:
January 15, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Although Narcissus himself might not have been able to step away from his reflection in the mirror to get to the office, when it comes to leadership, a moderate amount of narcissism can go a long way.

Although Narcissus himself might not have been able to step away from his reflection in the mirror to get to the office, when it comes to leadership, a moderate amount of narcissism can go a long way. So says a new study published in the journal Personnel Psychology.

According to University of Illinois psychology professor and study leader Emily Grijalva, narcissists have an exaggerated sense of their own self-importance, an exaggerated need for others' admiration and a lack of empathy.

"They can be preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of their enormous success, power, attractiveness and intelligence," Grijalva said. "They are addicted to others' admiration. And in the long term, they're not very good at maintaining positive, interpersonal relationships with others."

Many previous studies have focused on narcissism's relationship with leadership effectiveness, but Grijalva said these results were "relatively inconsistent," with different studies showing "a significant relationship," but, "just in opposite directions." Because the data were conflicting, Grijalva and her team set out to determine exactly how narcissism is tied to leadership, analyzing the results of previous studies that examined narcissism's relationship with both leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness.

They found that although narcissists are more likely to emerge as group leaders, after a certain point, too much narcissism is likely to undermine a person's effectiveness as a leader.

"Narcissists tend to be extraverted, and that is leading to the positive relationship between narcissism and leader emergence," Grijalva said. "But you have to keep in mind that although narcissists are likely to emerge as the group leader, over time, the more negative aspects of narcissism tend to emerge."

She said that these negative characteristics include "being exploitative, arrogant and even tyrannical," adding that these attributes "aren't really prototypical of effective leadership."

Study co-author Peter Harms, a professor of management in the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska, said those with moderate levels of narcissism have achieved "a nice balance between having sufficient levels of self-confidence, but do not manifest the negative, antisocial aspects of narcissism that involve putting others down to feel good about themselves."

These new findings could have interesting applications for the business world; according to Grijalva, in the future, personality tests that measure narcissism "need to be interpreted differently for leadership selection or development."

"These results could really shift the focus of the discussion, because instead of asking whether or not narcissists make good leaders, we are asking how much narcissism it takes to be the ideal leader," Grijalva said. "We confirmed that narcissism is neither fully beneficial nor harmful, but it's really best in moderation."

Grijalva said that her research will continue to focus on narcissism, but will break the complicated trait down even further to focus on its positive and negative subcategories, while looking at particular leader-employee interpersonal relationships.

"It would be interesting to try to determine what kinds of employees can work well with a narcissistic leader, because some employees seem to be able to maintain their levels of satisfaction even when they are working with someone who is difficult," Grijalva said. "There might be a trade-off between narcissistic leaders' needing a subordinate who is confident enough to earn the leader's respect, but also deferential enough to show the leader unwavering admiration."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The original article was written by Chelsey B. Coombs. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. EMILY GRIJALVA, PETER D. HARMS, DANIEL A. NEWMAN, BLAINE H. GADDIS, R. CHRIS FRALEY. NARCISSISM AND LEADERSHIP: A META-ANALYTIC REVIEW OF LINEAR AND NONLINEAR RELATIONSHIPS. Personnel Psychology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/peps.12072

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Narcissism -- to a point -- can make more effective leader, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115132744.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2014, January 15). Narcissism -- to a point -- can make more effective leader, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115132744.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Narcissism -- to a point -- can make more effective leader, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115132744.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins