What is it about?

This article investigates how different types of narcissism among employees and leaders can affect the workplace. Specifically, it looks at how an employee's vulnerable narcissism (a form of narcissism characterized by sensitivity to criticism and a need for validation) can lead to more stress and less engagement in their work. Additionally, it examines how a leader's grandiose narcissism (a more arrogant and dominating form of narcissism) can worsen the negative effects of an employee's vulnerable narcissism on their engagement at work. The study, involving 235 employees across 71 teams, found that employees with vulnerable narcissism often feel more emotionally drained and less motivated in their jobs. Also, when these employees are managed by leaders with grandiose narcissism, their work engagement decreases even further. This research highlights the importance of understanding how different personality traits, especially forms of narcissism, can interact in a workplace setting and impact overall team well-being and productivity.

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Why is it important?

The study distinguishes between vulnerable and grandiose narcissism, showing how each uniquely affects the workplace environment, especially in leader-follower dynamics. The study reveals that leaders with grandiose narcissism can exacerbate the negative effects of vulnerable narcissism in employees, highlighting the critical role of leadership styles in team dynamics. The findings provide valuable insights for organizational policies and leadership training programs, stressing the need for awareness and management of different narcissistic traits in the workplace.


By understanding interaction effects of traits in leader-employee dyads, organizations can foster healthier work environments, improve employee well-being, and potentially enhance overall productivity and job satisfaction.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Rigotti
Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research (LIR) and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: When grandiose meets vulnerable: narcissism and well-being in the organizational context, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, February 2020, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/1359432x.2020.1731474.
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