Signs of narcissism? Reconsidering a widely used measure

Koch-Bayram, Irmela ; Biemann, Torsten

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-576806
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2020
The title of a journal, publication series: Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies : JLOS
Volume: 27
Issue number: 4
Page range: 389-405
Place of publication: Thousand Oaks, CA
Publishing house: Sage Publications
ISSN: 1548-0518 , 1939-7089
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL, Personalmanagement u. Führung (Biemann 2013-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 330 Economics
Keywords (English): narcissism, construct validity, CEO, personality, unobtrusive measure
Abstract: Recent research on CEOs’ narcissism has mostly used unobtrusive measures, even though such measures have not been validated sufficiently. In two settings (Study 1 with 601 participants from various occupations and Study 2 with 97 managing directors), we analyze the construct validity of the commonly used narcissism index (NI). We find that the NI is only moderately correlated with the established and validated Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), which calls into question the convergent validity of the NI. We further alter the company’s financial performance in our simulation to test whether performance affects the NI. Results show that individuals have different levels of NI after a period with a high compared with a low financial performance. This casts doubt on previous findings in organizational research using the NI and other unobtrusive measures because it reverses the common assumption of cause and effect.

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