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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

A recent review of the relationship between narcissism and CWB reported two key results: (a) narcissism is the dominant predictor of CWB among the dark triad personality traits, and (b) the narcissism–CWB relationship is moderated by ingroup collectivist culture (k = 9; N = 2,708; O'Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & McDaniel, 2012). The current work seeks to enhance understanding of the narcissism–CWB relationship in five ways. First, we update O'Boyle et al.'s (2012) meta-analysis to include over 50 per cent more data (k = 16; N = 4,424), and demonstrate that narcissism remains the largest unique predictor of CWB after controlling for the Big Five personality traits. Second, we reveal that O'Boyle and colleagues' inference of cross-cultural moderation hinges on a single dataset from Bangladesh. Third, based on an original international dataset of on-line respondents, we reaffirm that ingroup collectivist culture does moderate/weaken the narcissism–CWB relationship. Fourth, we show that the narcissism–CWB relationship is stronger in published (corrected r = .48) versus unpublished studies (corrected r = .15). Finally, we propose a new moderator of the narcissism–CWB relationship: narcissism's facets. One facet (Entitlement/Exploitativeness) relates positively to CWB, whereas another facet of narcissism (Leadership/Authority) relates negatively to CWB.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

Organisational scholars have recently advocated an increased emphasis on aberrant personality traits, particularly in the study of negative workplace behaviors (e.g. Grijalva & Harms, in press; Wu & LeBreton, 2011). Consistent with this recommendation, a recent quantitative review examined the relationships of the dark triad traits (i.e. narcissism, psychopathy, and machiavellianism) with a variety of different workplace outcomes—the most notable result of this review was the moderately large, positive relationship found between the dark triad traits and counterproductive work behavior (CWB; O'Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & McDaniel, 2012). To quote,

… the practical significance of the DT [dark triad] in relation to job performance is minimal, with only 1% of the variance in job performance explained … The results for CWB were more substantial and support the importance of the DT's role in explaining negative work behavior. The DT explained a substantial amount of the variance (inline image), and all three traits were statistically significant. The model was dominated by narcissism (βcorrected = .533, p < .001, relative weight = 67.2%) (O'Boyle et al., 2012, p. 569).

Thus, of the three dark traits and their behavioral consequences in the workplace, the narcissism–CWB relationship seems to be the most promising bivariate association observed to date. Further, narcissism was the only dark triad trait for which culture moderated the relationship with CWB, such that narcissists performed fewer counterproductive behaviors in collectivist as opposed to individualist cultures.

The current paper seeks to expand on this initial quantitative review in three primary ways, by: determining whether narcissism predicts CWB above and beyond other commonly measured personality variables; investigating more thoroughly the role collectivist culture plays in the narcissism–CWB relationship; and investigating how narcissism's facets are associated with CWB. To restate, in light of the strong bivariate correlation between narcissism and CWB, we update O'Boyle and colleagues' (2012) meta-analysis to include over 50 per cent more data (k = 16; N = 4,424), which allows us to precisely: (a) estimate the extent to which narcissism uniquely predicts CWB after controlling for the Big Five personality traits and (b) better illuminate the possible cross-cultural moderation of the narcissism–CWB relationship by ingroup collectivism. In addition, to thoroughly re-examine the cross-cultural moderation, we also collect an original international dataset of on-line respondents. Finally, the current paper provides an additional theoretical contribution by investigating a second, alternative moderator of the narcissism–CWB relationship that has not yet been explored—the different subfacets of narcissism.

Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

Narcissism is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV as “a preoccupation with grandiose fantasies of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, which appears by early adulthood and manifests in a variety of settings” (DSM-IV; APA, 2000, p. 717). Additional diagnostic criteria for narcissism include a tendency to be entitled, arrogant, and exploitative (APA, 2000). Within the organisational psychology domain, narcissism is measured in non-clinical samples and presumably manifests at lower, less-debilitating levels.

Based on the host of negative, interpersonally toxic characteristics associated with narcissism, it is somewhat intuitive that narcissism will also be associated with deviant workplace behaviors or counterproductive work behaviors. CWBs refer to voluntary behaviors that violate significant organisational norms and threaten the well-being of the organisation or its members (e.g. theft, poor attendance, sharing an organisation's confidential information, or withholding effort; Bennett & Robinson, 2000; Sackett & DeVore, 2001).

Indeed, narcissists have been shown to act out in exceptionally aggressive ways when their self-esteem is threatened (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998). To explain these tendencies, Penney and Spector (2002) introduced the theory of threatened egotism and aggression, which proposes that individuals who have high self-esteem but are hypersensitive to threats to their self-esteem tend to experience more negative emotions (i.e. fear, anger, frustration, hostility, etc.), and these negative emotions subsequently lead to destructive outbursts. In support of this theory, they found that individuals high in narcissism (i.e. egotism) experienced more anger, which preceded their tendency to commit CWBs (r = .27, p < .05). Thus, the theory of threatened egotism and aggression provides an explanation for the positive relationship often found between narcissism and CWB.

Although there exist cogent arguments for why these two variables are related, it has not yet been established whether narcissism predicts CWB beyond other commonly measured personality traits. To more firmly solidify the importance of narcissism in the CWB literature, we therefore feel it is necessary to address this lingering concern by determining the predictive power of narcissism beyond the Big Five.

Narcissism's Incremental Validity

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

The Big Five

As a result of narcissism's known overlap with the Big Five personality traits (Trzesniewski, Donnellan, & Robins, 2008), it is possible that narcissism relates to CWB in only a spurious fashion, such that the observed covariation between the two is due to their well-known common correlates. In their seminal review, O'Boyle et al. (2012) addressed many important questions, but did not meta-analytically investigate whether narcissism incrementally predicts CWB beyond the Big Five. Thus it remains unclear how uniquely valuable narcissism is in the prediction of CWB.

Evidence suggests that narcissism has substantial overlap with some components of the Big Five (Trzesniewski et al., 2008). Specifically, narcissism has strong interpersonal implications (Gurtman, 1992), as demonstrated by its link to the two Big Five traits (i.e. Extraversion and Agreeableness) that also have strong relational content (Goldberg, 1990; Uziel, 2010). For example, narcissism has a particularly large correlation with Extraversion (r = .49, N = 18,274; Trzesniewski et al., 2008), which is compatible with narcissists' strong desire for leadership roles, tendency to emerge as leaders, and their dominant/assertive interpersonal style (Brunell, Gentry, Campbell, Hoffman, Kuhnert, & Demarree, 2008; Emmons, 1984; Grijalva, Harms, Newman, Gaddis, & Fraley, in press). In addition, narcissism has a smaller though consistent relationship with Agreeableness (r = −.14, N = 18,274; Trzesniewski et al., 2008). A large body of evidence supports narcissists' general disagreeableness, including entitlement, exploitativeness, and a lack of empathy (APA, 2000; Emmons, 1984; Watson, Grisham, Trotter, & Biderman, 1984), as well as their disinterest in developing or maintaining healthy intimate relationships (Campbell, 1999; Campbell, Foster, & Finkel, 2002). In fact, Paulhus (2001) advocated a minimalist account of narcissism using the Big Five framework, in which narcissists could simply be considered “disagreeable extraverts” (p. 228). He asserted that the most common non-pathological narcissism inventory, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Terry, 1988), is a forced-choice measure that makes individuals choose between endorsing Agreeableness (being likable) versus pre-eminence (being admired), with the narcissistic option being consistent with pre-eminence. Notably, of the Big Five traits, Agreeableness is one of the strongest correlates of CWB, particularly interpersonal CWB or CWB-I (ρ = .46; Berry, Ones, & Sackett, 2007). In sum, narcissism's overlap with the Big Five could potentially explain the positive relationship between narcissism and CWB.

On the other hand, it may be that narcissism could explain a large portion of CWB beyond the Big Five, because both narcissism and CWB are focused on the negative side of human nature (whereas more traditional trait paradigms such as the Big Five can be thought of as focusing on positive traits). Therefore, narcissism could tap into a portion of the variance in CWB not covered by the Big Five. Consistent with this possibility, in their qualitative review of the literature, Wu and LeBreton (2011) point out that, “some authors have raised concerns with the predictive validity of traditional personality-based approaches to predicting CWBs because these approaches often explain at most 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the variance in CWBs” (p. 597). This leaves quite a bit of unaccounted variance for narcissism to explain. Finally, Judge, LePine, and Rich (2006) supplied direct evidence on the topic, when they found that narcissism predicts incremental variance in supervisor reports of CWB beyond that provided by the Big Five traits. Thus we propose the following hypothesis.

  • Hypothesis 1: Narcissism will account for incremental variance in CWB beyond the Big Five traits of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness.

Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

We also plan to reexamine the role that collectivist culture plays in the narcissism–CWB relationship. Generally speaking, past research has connected CWB to environmental characteristics, including shared belief systems, formalised policies and procedures, and norms governing the workplace (Kish-Gephardt, Harrison, & Treviῆo, 2010). We here consider the role that national culture plays in CWB.

In investigating potential moderators of the narcissism–CWB relationship, O'Boyle and colleagues (2012) examined and found support for one particular aspect of culture—ingroup collectivism (IGC). IGC is a type of collectivism defined and elaborated by researchers in the GLOBE project, which was a large-scale cross-cultural study of 62 societies (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). IGC is defined as, “the degree to which individuals express pride, loyalty, and cohesiveness in their organizations or families” (House & Hanges, 2004, p. 12).

O'Boyle et al. originally hypothesised that cultures high in IGC would show the strongest positive correlation between narcissism and CWB. However, O'Boyle et al. (2012) reported results that were exactly the opposite of their hypothesis, finding that as a culture's IGC increased, narcissists engaged in fewer CWBs. A brief review of O'Boyle et al.'s (2012) theoretical logic for the role of IGC in the narcissism–CWB relationship is instructive. To quote O'Boyle et al.:

Cultures high in IGC emphasize duty and loyalty to the organization and its members, cohesiveness among coworkers, and relatedness among peers (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). Collectivist cultures place great emphasis on norms of reciprocity (Van Dyne, Vandewalle, Kostova, Latham, & Cummings, 2000) and are less likely to tolerate the social exchange violations of the DT [dark triad]. Manipulation of coworkers, self-promotion, and antisocial behavior are interpreted as disloyalty to the ingroup and sanctioned accordingly (p. 561).

To our understanding, the above quote denotes that IGC cultures are less likely to tolerate CWB enacted by narcissists. Although O'Boyle and colleagues used the above-quoted logic as a preface to their hypothesis that IGC would enhance the positive correlation between narcissism and CWB, their data instead supported the opposite conclusion—that IGC buffers/dampens the positive correlation between narcissism and CWB. We believe the above-quoted theoretical rationale is actually more consistent with O'Boyle's empirical result than with O'Boyle's original hypothesis, as O'Boyle et al.'s result showed that IGC cultures are less likely to tolerate CWB enacted by narcissists (a moderator/buffering effect).

To restate, cultures with high ingroup collectivism constitute a strong situation (Mischel, 1977), which suppresses the expression of narcissistic personality in the form of CWB (i.e. a moderator effect). This is exactly what O'Boyle et al. (2012) found (i.e. a smaller narcissism–CWB relationship when ingroup collectivism was high, compared to when ingroup collectivism was low). O'Boyle et al.'s reported cross-cultural moderation results are very interesting, but were limited by the number of primary studies available to and included by O'Boyle and colleagues at the time of their analysis (k = 9). It is further unclear how many of the original nine primary studies were considered to be from high IGC cultures. This raises questions such as whether the results were based on one or more influential or outlier samples. The small number of primary studies originally available suggests that the addition of more studies could profoundly impact the overall results, particularly the results for moderator analyses. Thus, we seek to reassess the role of ingroup collectivism in the cross-cultural moderation of the narcissism–CWB relationship, using an updated meta-analysis, an original cross-cultural data collection, and a moderator hypothesis that is in the opposite direction from O'Boyle et al.'s original hypothesis.

  • Hypothesis 2: Ingroup collectivist culture (i.e. collectivism vs. individualism) will moderate the narcissism–CWB relationship, such that the relationship is weaker in collectivist cultures.

Facet-Level Moderation

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

Finally, we will also examine what we believe to be an obvious, but neglected dynamic of the narcissism–CWB relationship—the way in which narcissism's subfacets impact CWB. Over time, more and more narcissism researchers have recommended examining narcissism at both the global and facet levels, because narcissism is multidimensional (Corry, Merritt, Mrug, & Pamp, 2008; Emmons, 1984; Kubarych, Deary, & Austin, 2004; Raskin & Terry, 1988). One of the more recently developed facet structures of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) is that of Ackerman, Witt, Donnellan, Trzesniewski, Robins, and Kashy (2011). Ackerman and colleagues marshaled data from over 19,000 respondents across four studies to demonstrate and then twice replicate a theoretically grounded three-factor solution for the NPI. They further demonstrated the nomological validity of the three facets using behavioral and personality self-reports and roommate reports. Additional research has used item response theory (IRT) methods to further establish the measurement properties of Ackerman's three facets of narcissism (see Ackerman, Donnellan, & Robins, 2012).

Ackerman et al.'s (2011) three subfacets of narcissism are labeled Leadership/Authority (L/A), Grandiose Exhibitionism (G/E), and Entitlement/Exploitativeness (E/E). The L/A facet is indicated by items such as, “I would prefer to be a leader”, and “I like having authority over people.” The G/E dimension is marked by items such as, “I really like to be the center of attention”, and “I am apt to show off if I get the chance.” Finally, the E/E facet of narcissism is reflected by items such as, “I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve”, and “I find it easy to manipulate people.”

On the basis of several studies, Ackerman et al. (2011) concluded that the L/A facet of narcissism represents “adaptive” narcissism, and the E/E facet of narcissism represents “socially toxic” narcissism. These conclusions were drawn because: (a) L/A is positively associated with social potency, global self-esteem, and drive/goal persistence, whereas (b) E/E is positively associated with antisocial tendencies, exploitativeness, and devaluing others; and E/E is negatively associated with Agreeableness, college adjustment, and relationship quality. Overall, Ackerman et al. concluded that the positive outcomes of overall narcissism are largely due to the L/A facet, whereas the negative outcomes of narcissism (particularly the social/interpersonal difficulties of narcissism) are primarily due to the E/E facet.

Finally, the G/E facet appears to measure “a combination of self-absorption, vanity, superiority, and exhibitionistic tendencies”, indicating that it measures a flair for theatrical self-presentation and intense self-love. This aspect of narcissism is also considered to be slightly maladaptive, although not as maladaptive as E/E (Ackerman et al., 2011, p. 72). Because G/E tends to be conceptualised as maladaptive, we predict that G/E will likewise display a positive relationship with CWB. Overall, this leads us to the following hypotheses:

  • Hypothesis 3: The Leadership/Authority facet of narcissism will exhibit a negative relationship with CWB.
  • Hypothesis 4: The Entitlement/Exploitativeness facet of narcissism will exhibit a positive relationship with CWB.
  • Hypothesis 5: The Grandiose/Exhibitionism facet of narcissism will exhibit a positive relationship with CWB.

Study 1: Meta-Analysis

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

In order to address the above hypotheses, the current paper describes the results of two studies. Some of the above hypotheses can be tested via meta-analysis (i.e. Study 1), and some cannot be tested via meta-analysis due to insufficient available data. These additional hypotheses will be addressed through an original primary data collection (Study 2). Notably, both studies examine Hypothesis 2 (ingroup collectivist culture [IGC] moderates the narcissism–CWB relationship). Thus, Study 1 is a meta-analysis designed to test Hypothesis 1 (incremental validity of narcissism over Big Five in predicting CWB) and Hypothesis 2. Study 2 seeks to test Hypothesis 2, Hypothesis 3 (the L/A facet of narcissism negatively predicts CWB), Hypothesis 4 (the E/E facet of narcissism positively predicts CWB), and Hypothesis 5 (the G/E facet of narcissism positively predicts CWB). In the current paper, we use the word “predict” in the same sense that it is routinely used in regression analysis—a “predictive” relationship does not denote causation, but rather only suggests covariation (e.g. if we know someone's level of Entitlement but do not know that person's level of CWB, then we can use Entitlement to predict CWB).

Study 1 Method

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

Literature Search

To update O'Boyle et al.'s meta-analysis of the narcissism–CWB relationship, we began by locating the nine primary studies cited by O'Boyle and colleagues (2012). Next, we electronically searched the literature using Dissertation Abstracts International (1861–2013), Google Scholar, and the American Psychological Association's PsycINFO database (1887–2013) for the following key words (and several variations thereof): narcissism, narcissistic, counterproductive work behavior, workplace deviant behavior, organisational aggression, organisational deviance, abusive supervision, absence, withdrawal, bullying, anticitizenship, workplace aggression, sabotage, and theft. Finally, we reviewed the reference sections of the articles obtained to identify additional articles, and we also made queries to the listserves of the Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Divisions of the Academy of Management.

Inclusion Criteria

Studies were included in the meta-analysis according to the following rules. First, a study had to report a correlation between narcissism and some type of counterproductive work behavior. Second, studies needed to examine narcissism at the individual level of analysis. Third, we did not include measures of deviant behavior performed outside of the workplace, such as academic cheating (e.g. Brunell, Staats, Barden, & Hupp, 2011). Finally, we excluded clinical samples and measures of narcissism, as well as prisoner and child samples. If sufficient information was not available in a primary article, then we contacted the study's authors to obtain the necessary information (e.g. Lobene, 2010).

We found that each primary source used self-reported narcissism. For CWB, some primary studies used self-reported CWB and others used observer-reported CWB. If there were multiple reports of CWB, including self-reports, then we composited the different reports together (Nunnally, 1978). We included self-reports of CWB in the composite because a recent meta-analysis performed by Berry, Carpenter, and Barratt (2012) supported the use of self-reports in CWB research as a viable alternative to observer-reports, noting that: (a) self- and observer-reports were highly correlated, and (b) contrary to intuition, self-rating actually leads to reporting more CWB than does observer-rating, likely due to enhanced opportunity to observe the behavior among self-raters (Berry et al., 2012). In addition, if there were multiple facets of CWB included in a study (e.g. interpersonal and organisational deviance; Burton & Hoobler, 2011) then they were also composited (Nunnally, 1978).

The above inclusion criteria resulted in a final database of 16 usable studies (16 independent samples). These included O'Boyle et al.'s nine primary studies, plus seven additional studies not included by O'Boyle et al. (2012). These studies comprised a mix of published journal articles (k = 7) and unpublished dissertations and theses (k = 9). In the Appendix, we provide the main codes and input values for all of the primary studies included in the narcissism–CWB meta-analysis.

Coding of Studies

Studies were coded as CWB if it was deemed that a behavior was voluntary, and likely would result in harm to an organisation or an organisation's employees. This included behaviors such as workplace aggression, bullying, and abusive supervision, which we conceptualise as specific subdimensions of the broader, higher-order CWB construct. For example, abusive supervision is defined as “subordinates' perceptions of the extent to which supervisors engage in the sustained display of hostile verbal and nonverbal behaviors, excluding physical contact” (Tepper, 2000, p. 178). Consistent with our definition of CWB, it seems reasonable to conclude that most organisations would consider the kind of negative behavior associated with abusive supervision to violate organisational norms, and there is a rich literature demonstrating that abusive supervision threatens the well-being of subordinates. Abusive supervision is linked to subordinates' psychological distress (Tepper, 2000), somatic health complaints (Duffy, Ganster, & Pagon, 2002), and emotional exhaustion (Chi & Liang, 2013). Further, it predicts outcomes that could harm the organisation as a whole, such as intentions to quit (Tepper, 2000) and increased levels of CWB performed by subordinates (Tepper, Henle, Lambert, Giacalone, & Duffy, 2008). It should be noted that these coding rules are similar to those used in other recent CWB meta-analyses (e.g. Berry et al., 2012; O'Boyle et al., 2012). For narcissism, studies primarily measured narcissistic personality using variations of the NPI (Raskin & Terry, 1988). However, studies were also coded as measuring narcissism if a predictor appeared to measure a personality trait consisting of grandiose self-views, need for admiration, lack of empathy, entitlement, arrogance, etc.

In addition, we coded sample size, source of the effect size (e.g. published paper vs. unpublished dissertation/thesis), country where the data were collected, type of sample (employed adults vs. employed students), type of measure used for the criterion and predictor, and demographic characteristics.

Computation of Meta-Analytic Coefficients

The current study followed the random effects meta-analytic procedures outlined by Hunter and Schmidt (2004). All effect sizes were corrected for unreliability in both predictor and criterion using coefficient alpha. Each study included the necessary information to make these corrections for unreliability, or the missing reliabilities were obtained by directly contacting a study's authors (e.g. Braithwaite, Ahmed, & Braithwaite, 2008, α = .91). To identify potential outliers, we used a modified version of the sample adjusted meta-analytic deviancy (SAMD) statistic (Beal, Corey, & Dunlap, 2002; Huffcutt & Arthur, 1995). The basic idea behind these kinds of influence statistics is to calculate the meta-analytic correlation coefficient, with and without each primary study. The goal is to determine whether any single primary study has an undue influence on the results, and to then exclude studies that substantially change the original meta-analytic correlation (e.g. Did the original meta-analytic correlation change by more than 20% after dropping a single study?; see Cortina, 2003, and Van Iddekinge, Roth, Raymark, & Odle-Dusseau, 2012).

Study 1 Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

Meta-Analytic Narcissism–CWB Correlation

As shown in Table 1, the corrected meta-analytic correlation between narcissism and CWB was inline image; k = 16, N = 4,424). Using the SAMD statistic for meta-analytic outlier detection (Beal et al., 2002; Huffcutt & Arthur, 1995), one influential outlier study was identified (i.e. Braithwaite et al., 2008; r = .62 and N = 824). We therefore report results both with and without this influential study. Without the influential outlier study, the corrected meta-analytic correlation fell to inline image; k = 15, N = 3,600). In other words, dropping the single, influential outlier study from Bangladesh reduced the average narcissism–CWB effect size by about one-third. For subsequent analyses, we chose to base our interpretations on the narcissism–CWB correlation estimated without the outlier study (i.e. we henceforth use inline image).

Table 1. Meta-Analytic Results for Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
      95% Confidence Int.80% Credibility Int.
 kNr inline image SD inline image LLULLLUL
  1. Note: k = number of effect sizes included in the meta-analysis; N = total sample size in the meta-analysis; r = sample-size weighted mean correlation; inline image = correlation corrected for attenuation in the predictor and criterion; SDinline image = standard deviation of corrected correlation; 80% Credibility Int. LL/UL= lower and upper limits of 80% credibility interval for inline image; 95% Confidence Int. LL/UL = lower and upper limits of 95% confidence interval for inline image.

Counterproductive Work Behavior         
Narcissism164,424.28.32.30.18.45−.07.70
Narcissism (without influential case [from Bangladesh])153,600.20.23.24.12.34−.08.54
          
O'Boyle et al. (2012) results92,708.35.43n.r..18.51.03.66
          
NPI measures only122,854.16.19.14.11.27.01.37
          
Publication type         
Published72,359.40.48.21.33.63.20.75
Unpublished92,065.14.15.28−.01.32−.21.51

Our updated meta-analytic correlation between narcissism and CWB (inline image) is notably smaller than the bivariate relationship reported by O'Boyle et al. (2012), who estimated inline image; k = 9, N = 2,708), but we would like to point out that the confidence interval for the updated point estimate overlaps with the confidence interval presented by O'Boyle and colleagues. This means that despite the striking difference between the two point estimates, and the greater precision we achieved in our meta-analysis due to including more data and excluding one influential study, there is some degree of convergence between our findings and O'Boyle et al.'s. To understand why our updated meta-analysis yielded a population correlation (inline image) only half as large as the one reported by O'Boyle et al. (inline image), we refer the reader to Figure 1. From inspecting Figure 1, we can see that the O'Boyle et al. estimate was based on many fewer samples than the current estimate, and was thus unduly vulnerable to the influence of the single large outlier study from Bangladesh (r = .62 and N = 824; see upper right corner of Figure 1). We will return to possible explanations for this outlier effect from Bangladesh in a subsequent section, when we discuss non-NPI and unvalidated measures of narcissism.

figure

Figure 1. Plot of original (O'Boyle et al.) and updated effect sizes for narcissism–CWB relationship.

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Incremental Validity of Narcissism

In order to address Hypothesis 1, we next constructed a meta-analytic correlation matrix among the following variables: narcissism, CWB, and the Big Five personality traits (see Shadish, 1996, and Viswesvaran & Ones, 1995, who recommended this method; and for similar examples of this method of combining meta-analyses into an overall large-sample correlation matrix, see Colquitt, Scott, Rodell, Long, Zapata, Conlon, & Wesson, 2013; Joseph & Newman, 2010). The resulting correlation matrix appears in Table 2. For the relationships between narcissism and the Big Five traits, we used Trzesniewski and colleagues' (2008) large-sample estimates, which were based upon N = 18,274 respondents (all of whom reported their narcissism using the NPI, which is by far the most commonly used measure of non-clinical narcissism). As can be seen in the footnote of Table 2, each correlation was corrected for unreliability attenuation in both the predictor and criterion, to provide an estimate of the population correlation parameter inline image.

Table 2. Meta-Analytic Correlation Matrix of Variables in CWB Analyses
 1234567
  1. Note: Each cell contains the estimated population correlation (corrected for unreliability in the predictor and criterion), followed by k number of samples and N overall sample size. a = original meta-analysis. b = Trzesniewski, Donnellan, & Robins (2008), correlations were corrected using Narcissism α = .84 (personal communication with B. Donnellan) and Big Five α's from Viswesvaran & Ones (2000). c = Berry, Ones, & Sackett (2007)—corrected correlations are based on a composite of interpersonal deviance (ID) and organisational deviance (OD), so k = k available for ID or OD (whichever is smaller) and N = the harmonic mean N across ID and OD effects. d = Ones (1993).

1. Narcissism      
2. Counterproductive Work Behavior

.23a

15/3,600

     
3. Extraversion

.59b

1/18,274

−.03c

5/2,065

    
4. Agreeableness

−.18b

1/18,274

−.44c

8/3,122

.17d

234/135,529

   
5. Openness

.29b

1/18,274

−.08c

5/2,024

.17d

418/252,004

.11d

236/144,205

  
6. Neuroticism

−.24b

1/18,274

.26c

7/2,542

−.19d

710/440,440

−.25d

561/415,679

−.16d

423/254,937

 
7. Conscientiousness

.14b

1/18,274

−.35c

8/3,175

.00d

632/683,001

.27d

344/162,975

−.06d

338/356,680

−.26d

587/490,296

We next used the Table 2 correlation matrix as input for a series of multiple regression models, which were estimated in SAS 9.2. The corresponding sample size chosen for these regression models was set equal to the minimum sample size in the matrix, N = 2,024, which is the sample size corresponding to the relationship between CWB and Openness. As it turns out, the choice of sample size is of relatively little consequence in the current regression analysis, because even under the minimum sample size of N = 2,024, all of the regression coefficients involving narcissism were statistically significant.

Results of the regression analyses can be found in Table 3. In Model I, CWB is regressed onto the Big Five personality traits only; while in Model II, CWB is regressed onto the Big Five and narcissism simultaneously. Together the Big Five accounted for a combined 26.8 per cent of the variance in CWB (see Model I); but adding narcissism (as shown in Model II) increased the variance explained in CWB by an additional 9.2 per cent (β = .45; p < .05). So results suggest that narcissism remains a healthy predictor of CWB, even after controlling for Big Five personality traits (supporting Hypothesis 1). Indeed, the predictive value of narcissism appears to increase in the presence of the Big Five (i.e. the standardised regression coefficient for narcissism in Model II is even larger than the zero-order correlation between narcissism and CWB), likely due to a suppressor effect (Tzelgov & Henik, 1991). According to the substantive construal of a suppressor effect (Bobko, 2001), we would interpret the results in Model II by saying that those elements of narcissism that do not overlap with the Big Five are especially potent predictors of CWB. That is, the aspects of narcissism that differ from “diasagreeable extraversion” (Paulhus, 2001) appear to represent content that strongly overlaps with CWB.1

Table 3. Incremental Validity in CWB Predicted by Narcissism over Big Five Personality
VariablesModel I: Big Five onlyModel II: Big Five & Narcissism
  1. Note: * p < .05. Standardised regression coefficients.

Big Five Personality  
Extraversion.06*−.21*
Agreeableness−.35*−.17*
Openness−.05*−.15*
Neuroticism.12*.18*
Conscientiousness−.23*−.33*
Narcissism .45*
R2.268*.360*
Adjusted R2.267*.359*
Change in R2 .092*

Ingroup Collectivism as a Cross-Cultural Moderator

Next, for our cross-cultural analyses concerning collectivism, we find that dropping the single outlier study from Bangladesh (Braithwaite et al., 2008) has the effect of making any meta-analytic cross-cultural comparisons moot (see Figure 2). To elaborate, without the single outlier study from Bangladesh, the 15 remaining samples in the meta-analytic database include 11 samples from the United States, one sample from Canada, one sample from Australia, one sample that was international/mixed, and one more sample whose country of origin is unknown. Because the US, Canada, and Australia are quite homogeneous in terms of collectivist culture (see below), our meta-analysis is left with a set of primary studies that is inherently unable to answer the question of whether collectivist culture moderates the narcissism–CWB relationship.

figure

Figure 2. Plot of effect sizes across countries for narcissism–CWB relationship.

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To be more systematic in our treatment of collectivist culture, we went ahead and coded the ingroup collectivism (IGC) score that corresponds to each country represented in our meta-analytic database, using the societal-level ingroup collectivism values scores from the GLOBE study of 62 societies (Gelfand, Bhawuk, Nishii, & Bechtold, 2004, p. 471). The IGC z-scores (collectivism scores) for the GLOBE societies are displayed in Table 4. An examination of Table 4 makes clear that the primary studies in our meta-analytic database are relatively homogeneous with respect to IGC, as all are slightly above the mean for collectivism (Australia z = .25; Canada z = .88; US z = .31). In contrast, the IGC for Bangladesh/India is z = −.97, or one standard deviation below the mean in collectivism. This pattern (see Table 4 and Figure 2) is precisely why O'Boyle et al. (2012) found support for ingroup collectivism decreasing the relationship between narcissism and CWB—i.e. the one sample from Bangladesh that has especially low ingroup collectivism is the same sample that has an especially high effect size (r = .62) for the narcissism–CWB relationship. Without this one outlier sample from Bangladesh, the entire argument that ingroup collectivism moderates the narcissism–CWB relationship disappears. In other words, contrary to O'Boyle et al.'s (2012) reported findings, we conclude here that there are not enough cross-cultural data available to meta-analytically assess whether ingroup collectivism is a cross-cultural moderator. Thus, we conclude that, given the primary studies available, Hypothesis 2 cannot be presently tested via meta-analysis. As such, we will return to this question when we present the results from our original primary data collection (Study 2).

Table 4. Ingroup Collectivism Values Scores (IGC) from Gelfand et al. (2004, p. 471)(GLOBE Study)
CountryIngroup collectivism values (IGC) (z-scores)Study 2 Sample N (%)CountryIngroup collectivism values (IGC) (z-scores)Study 2 Sample N (%)
  1. Note: Higher scores indicate greater ingroup collectivism; 12 respondents' IP addresses were not recorded, reducing the total sample size for this analysis to 421.

El Salvador2.44 Morocco0.05 
Colombia1.67 Idonesia0.022 (0.5%)
New Zealand1.563 (0.7%)Georgia−0.01 
Philippines1.476 (1.4%)Qatar (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia)−0.185 (1.2%)
Ecuador1.44 Egypt−0.291 (0.2%)
Venezuela (Grenada)1.441 (0.2%)England−0.3229 (6.9%)
Argentina (Chile)1.391 (0.2%)Hungary (Croatia, Romania)−0.354 (0.9%)
Guatemala1.36 Denmark−0.46 
Costa Rica (Nicaragua)1.191 (0.2%)Singapore−0.468 (1.9%)
Namibia1.16 Nigeria−0.522 (0.5%)
Sweden (Norway)1.075 (1.2%)Greece−0.581 (0.2%)
Bolivia0.96 Taiwan−0.6 
Canada0.8823 (5.5%)Kazakhstan−0.63 
Mexico0.82 Kuwait−0.66 
Portugal0.79 France−0.69 
South Africa (White)0.76 (1.4%)Finland−0.69 
Iran (Pakistan)0.562 (0.5%)Korea−0.72 
Malaysia0.536 (1.4%)Switzerland (French)−0.89 
Zimbabwe0.53 India (Bangladesh)−0.9712 (2.9%)
Russia0.36 Austria−1.12 
Spain0.361 (0.2%)Japan−1.152 (0.5%)
Zambia0.31 Germany East−1.263 (0.7%)
United States0.31267 (63.4%)Albania−1.26 
Turkey (Armenia)0.312 (0.5%)Germany West−1.37 
Thailand (Cambodia)0.281 (0.2%)Netherlands−1.41 (0.2%)
Israel0.25 Brazil−1.463 (0.7%)
Australia0.2518 (4.3%)Hong Kong−1.57 
Poland0.221 (0.2%)China−1.631 (0.2%)
Ireland0.221 (0.2%)South Africa (Black)−1.911 (0.2%)
Italy0.16 Switzerland−2.06 
Slovenia0.141 (0.2%)Total reporting: 421 (100%)

There are two additional findings that were revealed during data analysis which bear mentioning. The first is the finding that unpublished studies have a much lower mean narcissism–CWB correlation than do published studies (published inline image, unpublished inline image; see Table 1 and Figure 3). Second, this apparent publication bias finding is partly due to the outlier study from Bangladesh (which had a large sample size and large effect size [N = 824, inline image], and was a published study). However, without the outlier study, there is still a trend suggesting that published effect sizes are larger (i.e. published inline image, unpublished inline image). Unfortunately, the small number of studies included in the current meta-analysis limits the use of sophisticated publication bias diagnostics (e.g. Duval & Tweedie, 2000; see Borenstein, Hedges, Higgins, & Rothstein, 2009, p. 291).

figure

Figure 3. Plot of published and unpublished effect sizes for narcissism–CWB relationship.

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Second, inspection of the primary studies from the current meta-analysis (Appendix A) shows an additional trend in effect sizes. In particular, the three largest positive effect sizes and the largest negative effect size for the narcissism–CWB relationship all used nontraditional measures of narcissism (see Figure 4). Indeed, these studies with extreme results seemed to largely use measures of narcissism that had not been validated in previous studies. When these nontraditional measures of narcissism are removed from the meta-analysis, and only narcissism measures extracted from the commonly used NPI remain (see Table 1), then a smaller inline image is obtained, and the standard deviation of inline image falls to a much more reasonable estimate of .14. Altogether, these two additional results (publication bias and narcissism measurement) converge on the idea that the true narcissism–CWB relationship is much closer to inline image than to the previously reported inline image.

figure

Figure 4. Plot of effect sizes for Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) and non-NPI measures for narcissism–CWB relationship.

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Study 2: International On-Line Sample

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

In an attempt to test Hypothesis 2 (ingroup collectivist culture [IGC] moderates the narcissism–CWB relationship), H3 (the L/A facet of narcissism negatively predicts CWB), H4 (the E/E facet of narcissism positively predicts CWB), and H5 (the G/E facet of narcissism positively predicts CWB), we next undertook an original primary data collection. The details and results of this data collection are described below.

Study 2 Method

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

Participants and Procedure

Participants for Study 2 were an international convenience sample, who completed the narcissism and CWB survey during the spring and summer of 2013 by accessing a link posted on a publicly available website (http://www.yourpersonality.net/; maintained by R.C. Fraley), in which the only incentive provided was feedback on individuals' personalities. Participants were 433 individuals (27.7% male; 65.9% Caucasian) from a variety of countries who were prescreened by indicating that they were over the age of 18 and were currently employed. Their average age was 36.6 years (SD = 12.3).

Measures

Narcissism was assessed using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Terry, 1988). The NPI is a 40-item, forced-choice measure in which participants must choose between two statements (e.g. “I am no better or no worse than most people”; “I think I am a special person”; α = .85). The NPI is a commonly used self-report measure of narcissism in non-clinical populations, and past research has established that it has adequate reliability and validity (Ackerman et al., 2011; Emmons, 1984; Raskin & Terry, 1988). We also assessed the three subfacets of narcissism (identified by Ackerman et al., 2011) measured by the NPI: Leadership/Authority (L/A; 11 items; α = .79), Entitlement/Exploitativeness (E/E; four items; α = .42), and Grandiose/Exhibitionism (G/E; 10 items; α = .75). The extra-low reliability of the E/E subscale is due to the forced-choice (dichotomous) item format, the relatively small number of items, and the heterogeneous item content (this short subscale attempts to measure both Entitlement [three items] and Exploitativeness [one item]). Low reliability leads to observed correlations that provide underestimates of the corresponding true correlations (Hunter & Schmidt, 2004), and therefore offers a conservative test of the proposed relationships. In other words, the E/E measure is especially unreliable, but this will not lead to false positive results. Nonetheless, due to the low internal consistency reliability of the E/E facet, we also included an alternative measure of the entitlement facet of narcissism (described below).

Entitlement was also measured using the Psychological Entitlement Scale (PES; Campbell, Bonacci, Shelton, Exline, & Bushman, 2004; α = .88). The PES is a nine-item measure of entitlement that is more reliable than the NPI E/E facet, thus it was used to supplement our findings from the NPI E/E. Example items include, “I honestly feel I am just more deserving than others”, and “I demand the best because I am worth it.”

CWB was assessed using the Workplace Deviance Scale (WDS; Bennett & Robinson, 2000; α = .88). The WDS is a 19-item measure that has two correlated subfacets, which reflect different intended targets of the destructive behavior: interpersonal deviance (ID or CWB-I, harmful to people in the organisation; seven items; α = .82) and organisational deviance (OD or CWB-O, harmful to the organisation; 12 items; α = .86). We report results for overall CWB, CWB-I, and CWB-O. Example CWB-I items include, “Made fun of someone at work”, “Cursed someone at work”, and “Acted rudely toward someone at work”. Example CWB-O items include, “Taken an additional or longer break than is acceptable at your workplace”, “Come in late to work without permission”, and “Taken property from work without permission”.

Ingroup Collectivism (IGC) was assessed using the ingroup collectivism values scores from the GLOBE study (Gelfand et al., 2004, p. 471). Gelfand et al. report the average ingroup collectivism scores from surveys of 61 of the 62 GLOBE societies (the IGC z-scores are shown in Table 4). These societal-level collectivism measures were operationalised via four items: “In this society, children should take pride in the individual accomplishments of their parents” (reverse scored), “In this society, parents should take pride in the individual accomplishments of their children” (reverse scored), plus two items that measure whether aging parents should live at home with their children, and whether children should live at home with their parents until they get married. The reliability of the societal-level GLOBE measure of ingroup collectivism is not reported in the GLOBE text, although these scores are widely used in cross-cultural research.

When we coded each response in the international on-line sample for IGC, the IGC scores from Gelfand et al. (2004) were simply assigned to individuals on the basis of the countries from which they completed the survey, with country of origin indicated unobtrusively by the respondents' IP addresses. As seen in Table 4, 63.4 per cent of the international sample was from the US (IGC z-score = .31), 23.5 per cent of the international sample was from countries with collectivism scores lower than the US (IGC < .31), and 13.1 per cent of the international sample was from countries with collectivism scores higher than the US (IGC > .31). As such, the US is somewhat oversampled in the current study, and other countries are somewhat undersampled. Nonetheless, many different countries across many different levels of ingroup collectivism are represented. We should also note that ingroup collectivism values are not the same as ingroup collectivism practices. Thus a distinction is made in the GLOBE project between “As Is” scales that assess the way people generally are in a society (practices); versus “Should Be” scales, which assess societal values for how people should be in a society. For the current study, we chose to use IGC values (or how individuals should be), to be consistent with O'Boyle et al. (2012).

Study 2 Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

A correlation matrix among Study 2 variables is shown in Table 5. We first address the cross-cultural hypothesis (H2). Hypothesis 2 involves the cross-cultural moderation of the narcissism–CWB relationship by ingroup collectivism (IGC)—an effect that was originally reported in O'Boyle et al.'s (2012) meta-analysis, but which we learned in Study 1 was due to an outlier sample from Bangladesh. Given that the test of H2 conducted in Study 1 depended upon a single outlier sample in the meta-analysis, in Study 2 we attempted to test H2 again by collecting a new, international primary sample. Using moderated multiple regression (Aiken & West, 1991), we assessed whether the product term of IGC × narcissism could predict CWB, after controlling for the two main effects of IGC and narcissism. As predicted, results supported cross-cultural moderation, for CWB (bNarc×IGC = −2.05; ΔR2 = .02; p < .05). We plotted the interaction in Figure 5 to interpret our results. The pattern of results was consistent with our prediction that cultures high in IGC would suppress the expression of narcissists' CWB, such that the relationship between narcissism and CWB would be weaker in collectivist cultures. A simple slopes analysis showed that the effect of narcissism on CWB was positive and statistically significant when ingroup collectivism was one standard deviation below the mean (β = .17; p < .05), but was not statistically significant when ingroup collectivism was one standard deviation above the mean (β = −.34; ns). In sum, the results from Study 2 support cross-cultural moderation of the narcissism–CWB relationship by ingroup collectivism (H2 is supported).2

figure

Figure 5. Interaction effect of ingroup collectivist culture on the relationship between narcissism and counterproductive work behavior in Study 2.

Note: Regression equation: CWB = −.13 + 11.80*narcissism + .30*IGC − 2.05*(narcissism × IGC).

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Table 5. Variable Intercorrelations from Study 2
 MSD123456789
  1. Note: N = 421–433. * p < .05. Cronbach's α reliability coefficients are displayed in the diagonal.

1. Narcissism.36.17(.85)        
2. Leadership/Authority facet.46.27.86*(.79)       
3. Grandiose/Exhibitionism facet.29.24.74*.47*(.75)      
4. Exploitative/Entitlement facet.24.26.45*.25*.21*(.42)     
5. Psychological Entitlement Scale3.381.24.40*.25*.28*.35*(.88)    
6. Ingroup Collectivism (IGC)5.74.18−.005.03.01−.0001−.11*   
7. CWB1.64.43.01−.11*−.004.28*.18*−.16*(.88)  
8. CWB-I (interpersonal)1.63.54.04−.02−.02.27*.13*−.15*.73*(.82) 
9. CWB-O (organisational)1.65.50−.02−.14*.004.21*.16*−.13*.90*.36*(.86)

Finally, Hypotheses 3 through 5 address the facet-level relationships between narcissism's subdimensions and CWB. Recall that Ackerman et al. (2011) refer to the L/A facet of narcissism as the “adaptive” facet, while they refer to the E/E facet of narcissism as “socially toxic”. In Table 5, we see that the L/A facet of “adaptive narcissism” predicts CWB negatively (r = −.11, p < .05), supporting H3. For E/E the “socially toxic” narcissism facet, we find a positive relationship with overall CWB (r = .28, p < .05), supporting H4. In Table 5 we also report the results using a second measure of Entitlement (i.e. the PES), and found that the results are similar to those reported using the E/E measure. That is, we found a positive relationship between the PES and overall CWB (r = .18, p < .05). Finally, we predicted that the G/E facet would also have a positive association with CWB, but this hypothesis (H5) was not supported (r = −.004, p < .05; ns). Across the facets, our results suggest that the E/E facet of narcissism may be driving the frequently observed positive relationship between narcissism and CWB. At the same time, the L/A facet of narcissism works in the opposite direction, relating negatively to CWB (and the G/E facet is unrelated to CWB). Thus, previous research that considered all three narcissism facets by combining them into an overall narcissism composite might have unintentionally blurred the potent underlying facet-level effects.

It should be noted that for a subset of 274 participants from the total sample, we included quality control items to ensure that they were taking the survey seriously. To improve our confidence in the Study 2 results, we thus re-calculated our results after excluding participants from this subset who missed three or more of the four quality control questions (participants who did not receive quality control items were also excluded), leaving 254 participants in our quality controlled subsample. Fortunately, the results from the quality control subsample were similar to those reported in the total sample (i.e. Hypothesis 2 and Hypothesis 4 [both E/E and PES measures] remained supported; and Hypothesis 5 remained unsupported). The only difference was that Hypothesis 3 was supported in the full sample, but not in the quality control subsample. Although the L/A facet of narcissism continued to have a negative relationship with CWB, the relationship was no longer statistically significant (r = −.08, ns) in the quality control subsample. It is unclear whether this was due to the reduced power/sample size of the quality control subsample. Until the results for Hypothesis 3 are replicated (L/A facet predicting CWB), these results should be interpreted with caution.

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

The current paper reported the results of two studies—a meta-analysis and an international primary data collection—aimed at improving our understanding of the relationship between narcissism and CWB. Study 1 revealed that the narcissism–CWB bivariate relationship is a robust effect, but is only half as large as previously reported (inline image, instead of .43). Although the .23 effect size is notably smaller than that reported by O'Boyle and colleagues (2012), it is still one of the largest personality correlates of CWB, comparable to Emotional Stability (ρ = −.23), Agreeableness (ρ = −.35), and Conscientiousness (ρ = −.31; Berry et al., 2012). In addition, narcissism explains incremental variance in CWB beyond the Big Five personality traits. The unique prediction of narcissism by CWB is quite strong (β = .45) due to a substantive suppressor effect in which the attributes of narcissism that do not overlap with the Big Five are especially strong predictors of CWB. This means that for organisations interested in preventing CWB via personnel selection, narcissism should be used in combination with the Big Five to maximise predictive accuracy.

Study 1 also established that O'Boyle et al.'s previous report of cross-cultural moderation of the narcissism–CWB relationship by ingroup collectivism (IGC) was predicated on a single large outlier sample from Bangladesh (i.e. r = .62, N = 824; in a country that has low ingroup collectivism); a finding which casts doubt on the robustness of the cross-cultural moderation phenomenon. However, our original international dataset collected for Study 2 lends renewed credibility to the moderation hypothesis, by showing that when cultures were high in IGC, narcissism had a weaker relationship with CWB. Finally, Study 2 also suggests that the narcissism–CWB relationship might change valence, depending upon which facet of narcissism is being considered. The Entitlement/Exploitativeness facet of narcissism positively predicts CWB, whereas the Leadership/Authority facet of narcissism negatively predicts CWB.

Implications for Theory and Practice

The current study has two major implications for future theorising about the narcissism–CWB association. One set of implications involves clarifying the role and evidentiary basis of ingroup collectivism in the narcissism–CWB relationship, and the other set of implications involves the facet structure of narcissism.

First, as globalisation continues to expand, companies are increasingly likely to manage individuals in different countries with different cultural values. This means that scholars and practitioners should be focused on identifying how cultural differences may impact important work behaviors such as CWB. Narcissists seem to perform fewer CWBs in high IGC countries, compared to in low IGC countries. This interaction effect (narcissism × IGC) is an example of situational strength (Mischel, 1977), in which ingroup collectivist culture constitutes a strong situation that constrains the narcissist's options to engage in CWB, thereby buffering the narcissism–CWB relationship. This finding is consistent with O'Boyle et al.'s (2012) cross-cultural theory as they originally stated it, which proposed that cultures high in IGC would put up stronger opposition to an individual's expression of CWB against other members of one's own group. That is, collectivist cultural cues suggest to narcissists that there will be harsher sanctions for individuals who violate group norms and harm the group or organisation. This is also consistent with research showing that individuals are more likely to perform unethical behaviors in organisations with egoistic climates that promote an “ ‘everyone for himself’ atmosphere” (Kish-Gephart et al., 2010, p. 21; Victor & Cullen, 1988). These egoistic organisational climates are likely much less common in strong IGC cultures, which value cohesiveness among co-workers (House et al., 2004). As an extension of this idea, if culture is not a static entity (as suggested by Matsumoto, Kudoh, & Takeuchi, 1996), and if globalisation is leading to increasing levels of individualism worldwide (Hamamura, 2012), then narcissism would play an increasingly important role in the workplace (i.e. as IGC decreases). An additional implication of our IGC result relates to training programs designed for future expatriates. These training programs, when used to prepare expatriates assigned to countries with high IGC cultures, should emphasise that CWBs (e.g. making fun of someone at work, taking long breaks, and acting rudely) may be perceived even more negatively by collectivist co-workers.

Second, with regard to narcissism's facets, the original primary study conducted here (Study 2) revealed an intriguing (albeit highly intuitive) pattern. That is, the adaptive facet of narcissism (L/A) relates negatively to individuals' propensity to engage in CWB, whereas the socially toxic facet of narcissism (E/E) relates positively to individuals' propensity to engage in CWB. This finding is a direct extension of the narcissism theoretical model put forth by Ackerman et al. (2011), but in the context of CWB. Narcissism is a complex trait consisting of both positive and negative elements, and combining these facets into a single narcissism composite could possibly mask interesting facet-level effects that run in opposite directions. We thus recommend that future narcissism research should report effect sizes for both overall narcissism and facet-level narcissism.

Limitations and Future Research

The current paper has several limitations. First, the meta-analysis reported in Study 1 was based upon a relatively small number of primary studies (k = 16). More robust estimates can be expected as a larger number of studies accumulates. Second, there were simply not enough data available to test O'Boyle et al.'s cross-cultural moderation hypothesis via meta-analysis. In this regard, even if one were to lend a lot of credence to the Bangladesh primary study (where IGC is lower than average), it would still be important to find additional primary studies conducted in societies where IGC is lower than average and also studies where IGC is higher than average (e.g. Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador). Third, future studies should use standard measures of narcissism and of CWB (see the Appendix). As illustrated by Figure 4, sometimes the most extreme primary effect sizes are associated with the use of non-standard and unvalidated measures of narcissism (i.e. the non-NPI measures of narcissism listed in the Appendix).

Study 2 also has limitations that suggest possible avenues for future research. First, although the measure of IGC culture in Study 2 was unobtrusive, the measures of narcissism and CWB were both self-reported, leaving open the possibility of common method bias in the narcissism–CWB correlation (Campbell & Fiske, 1959). Our concern over this is partly mitigated by the recent findings of Berry et al. (2012), which suggest that self-reports express higher levels of CWB and greater criterion validity than do observer-reports of CWB, likely due to the limited opportunity for observers to witness CWB episodes. Also, the results of Study 2 itself are somewhat anomalous, because the narcissism–CWB correlation in Study 2 was r = .01 (i.e. Study 2 yielded a correlation estimate outside the Study 1 80 per cent credibility intervals for both the overall narcissism–CWB effect and the NPI-only narcissism–CWB effect; see Table 1). Thus Study 2 should be replicated. Finally, it would be useful to replicate Study 2 using a globally representative probability sample, instead of a convenience sample.

Conclusion

The current study sought to clarify narcissism's relationship with CWB. Overall, we found that narcissism has a small but robust relationship with CWB, which is moderated by IGC culture—that is, narcissism is less strongly related to deviant workplace behavior in cultures that have collectivist values (i.e. cultures that place a premium on cohesive relationships and loyalty). We also found that narcissism strongly predicts CWB beyond the Big Five personality traits, and that the narcissism–CWB relationship might change valence, depending upon which facet of narcissism is being considered. The Entitlement/Exploitativeness facet of narcissism is positively linked to CWB, whereas the Leadership/Authority facet of narcissism is negatively linked to CWB. Together, we hope these insights will continue to pave the way toward a better understanding of dark personality traits and work behavior, by illuminating the relationship between narcissism and CWB.

Footnotes
  1. 1

    Results of a supplementary meta-analytic regression analysis (available from the first author) confirmed that narcissism still incrementally predicts CWB after controlling for the Big Five and Social Desirability together, βnarc = .53, ΔR2 = .12, p < .05).

  2. 2

    Another moderator of the narcissism–CWB relationship that O'Boyle et al. hypothesised is authority. O'Boyle and colleagues were unfortunately unable to test this moderator due to insufficient primary studies from high authority samples, and the current meta-analysis was likewise unable to test the authority moderator using meta-analysis due to a complete lack of high authority samples. However, using our original primary sample (Study 2 dataset), we found that managerial status did not moderate the narcissism–CWB relationship, although managers were more narcissistic than nonmanagers (d = .36; p < .05).

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

Studies marked with an asterisk * are included in the meta-analyses (see Appendix).

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Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Narcissism and Counterproductive Work Behavior
  5. Narcissism's Incremental Validity
  6. Cross-Cultural Ingroup Collectivism and CWB
  7. Facet-Level Moderation
  8. Study 1: Meta-Analysis
  9. Study 1 Method
  10. Study 1 Results
  11. Study 2: International On-Line Sample
  12. Study 2 Method
  13. Study 2 Results
  14. Discussion
  15. References
  16. Appendix: Main Codes and Input Values for Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis
StudyIn O'Boyle Meta-AnalysisType of PublicationSampleCountryNarcissism MeasureType of CWBCWB MeasureNr
  1. Notes: * = same data as included in O'Boyle et al. (2012) meta-analysis (i.e. Academy of Management conference paper by Burton, 2007, was later published as Burton & Hoobler, 2011).

Alexander (2011)NoDissertationEmployed AdultsUnclear40-item NPIComposite: Organisational/ Interpersonal/ Supervisor DevianceBennett & Robinson (2000) and Mitchell & Ambrose (2007)199.166
Braithwaite, Ahmed, & Braithwaite (2008)YesArticleEmployed AdultsBangladeshManagement of Pride State (MOPS) Narcissistic Pride Subscale (developed for this paper)Workplace BullyingQuine (1999)824.62

Brummel (2008)

SAMPLE 4

YesDissertationEmployed AdultsUSEntitlement (9 items) developed in dissertationCounterproductive Work Behavior (Composite of Self & Supervisor Report)Bennett & Robinson (2000)207−.10
Burton & Hoobler (2011)Yes*ArticleEmployed StudentsUS7 items from NPIComposite: Organisational/ Interpersonal AggressionMeasure created for this study (16 items). Example item “gossiping about my supervisor”.262.14
Castiglione (2010)NoDissertationEmployed StudentsUS37-item NPICounterproductive Work BehaviorCounterproductive Work Behavior Checklist (CWB-C; Spector et al., 2006)116.28

Dahling, Whitaker, & Levy (2009)

STUDY 2

YesArticleEmployed StudentsUSNarcissistic Expectations/ Self-Promotion subscale of the Entitlement Attitudes Scale (McGann & Steil, 2006)Counterproductive Work BehaviorFox & Spector (1999)323.38
Gallagher (2009)YesDissertationEmployed StudentsUS40-item NPICounterproductive Work BehaviorBennett & Robinson (2000)298.14
Grijalva (2011)NoUnpublished DataEmployed AdultsUS40-item NPICounterproductive Work BehaviorBennett & Robinson (2000)111.271
Grijalva (2013)NoUnpublished DataEmployed AdultsMix40-item NPICounterproductive Work BehaviorBennett & Robinson (2000)433.02

Judge, LePine, & Rich (2006)

STUDY 2

NoArticleEmployed AdultsUS37-item NPICounterproductive Work Behavior (Composite of Self/Other Report)Bennett & Robinson (2000)131.23
Lobene (2010)YesMaster's ThesisEmployed StudentsUS40-item NPIWithdrawal Behaviors (composite of truancy & absenteeism); Correlations and sample size received from author2 items (e.g. How often do you arrive late to, or leave early from, your present job?)351−.02
Linton & Power (2013)NoArticleEmployed StudentsCanada16-item NPIWorkplace BullyingPerpetrator-Target Scale; created for this paper224.38
Michel & Bowling (2013)NoArticleEmployed AdultsUS15 items from NPICounterproductive Work BehaviorMix of items from Bennett & Robinson (2000) and Mitchell & Ambrose (2007)380.29
Penney & Spector (2002)YesArticleEmployed StudentsUSNPICounterproductive Work BehaviorJob Reactions Survey (Fox & Spector, 1999)215.27
Schmidt (2008)YesDissertationEmployed AdultsUSNarcissism sub-scale of Toxic Leadership Scale (developed in this dissertation)Abusive SupervisionTepper (2000)216.72
Van der Nest (2010)YesDissertationEmployed AdultsAustralia40 Item NPIAverage: Workplace Aggression (Verbal Aggression toward Colleague, Supervisor, Subordinate)Greenberg & Barling (1999)134.06