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What motivates narcissistic individuals to lead? The role of identity across cultures

Schyns, Birgit and Braun, Susanne and Xia, Ying Emma (2023) 'What motivates narcissistic individuals to lead? The role of identity across cultures.', Personality and Individual Differences .


Narcissists are assumed to be highly motivated to lead, but little is known about the underlying reasons or boundary conditions of this motivation. We examine the mediating role of individual level of identity, arguing that this process differs between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Across two empirical studies, we found a positive relationship between narcissism and affective motivation to lead (MTL) in both the United Kingdom (UK) and China. In Study 1, an indirect effect emerged between narcissism and MTL via individual level identity in the UK but not in China. Study 2 employed a manipulation of mediator design. Although we found no mediation effect of individual level of identity in the UK sample, in China, there was initial evidence pointing to the role of collective level of identity as a mediator. With these studies, we add to the understanding of narcissism as an antecedent of MTL, and how these processes may differ between cultures. Our research opens up new avenues for the cross-cultural study of narcissism and leadership.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:24 January 2023
Date deposited:26 January 2023
Date of first online publication:No date available
Date first made open access:No date available

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