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

Schyns, Birgit; Braun, Susanne; Xia, Ying Emma


Birgit Schyns

Ying Emma Xia


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 24, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2023
Publication Date 2023-05
Deposit Date Jan 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 9, 2025
Journal Personality and Individual Differences
Print ISSN 0191-8869
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 206
Article Number 112107
Public URL