Why Do Narcissistic Employees Get Promoted Fast?

The mechanisms underlying narcissists’ promotability at work are examined.

10/27/2021 4:01:00 PM

2 reasons why people who are high in narcissism rise quickly to the top at work—and what the rest of us can learn from them, according to ArashEmamzadeh

The mechanisms underlying narcissists’ promotability at work are examined.

So, which of the two mechanisms discussed above explains why employees with a narcissisticor narcissistic tendencies are more likely than others to climb the corporate ladder and emerge as leaders? For an answer, let us review the research by Sedikides and Nevicka.

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Investigating promotability and narcissistic personalityThe first two investigations examined the correlation between promotability and narcissistic personality. The third was an experiment on the causal connection between the personal sense of power and the likelihood of getting promoted.

Study 1Sample: 166 employees (average age of 40 years; 72 percent women) and 93 supervisors (average of 44 years of age; 52 percent women).Measures: Employees’ level of narcissism was measured using the 40-item Narcissistic Personality Inventory (e.g., “I am an extraordinary person”). Employees’ promotability was assessed using, “This employee has a good chance of climbing the organizational ladder,” and “I would recommend this employee for a promotion.” headtopics.com

THE BASICSFind a therapist who understands narcissismStudy 2Sample: 128 employees (average age of 35 years; 60 percent women) and 85 supervisors (38 years, average age; 69 percent men).Measures: The 16-item Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI-16) was administered. Promotability was measured as previously described. Self-promotion was assessed by asking employees to rate the frequency of behaviors like making “a positive event that you are responsible for appear greater than it actually is.” Ingratiation was assessed using six items (e.g., “Spend time listening to your supervisor’s personal problems even if you have no interest in them.”). An 8-item power scale evaluated a sense of power (e.g., “In my work team, I think I have a great deal of power.”).

Study 3Sample: 181 supervisors (mean age of 38 years; 55 percent women).Method: Participants received a description of a narcissistic employee and his/her answers on a questionnaire (corresponding to either high power or low power). Participants were instructed to imagine they were managers who, based on the information provided, needed to make promotion recommendations.

Read more: Psychology Today »

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