Measurement and Application of Egoistic and Moralistic Self-enhancement

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Abstract

Five studies were conducted to develop and validate the Egoistic and Moralistic Self-enhancement (EMS) scale, a new self-report measure of egoistic and moralistic self-enhancement. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis provided evidence for a two-factor structure comprising the tendencies to promote agentic (egoistic) and communal (moralistic) qualities (Study 1). Construct validity was supported by significant correlations with established measures of socially desirable responding, such as the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding (Study 2) and the Impression Management scale of the 16 Personality Factors (Study 3). When the EMS scale has been applied in organizational settings, we found that job applicants were more inclined than nonapplicants to promote their own agentic and communal qualities, although differences were more pronounced for egoistic self-enhancement (Study 4). Findings also suggested that exaggeration of agentic qualities decrease the criterion-related validity of conscientiousness in predicting job performance (Study 5). Taken together, findings suggest that the EMS scale provides a valid and reliable measure that can be fruitfully used for both theoretical and applied research.

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