Profile of a narcissistic leader : coffee’s for closers only

Ehrich, John F. & Ehrich, Lisa C. (2014) Profile of a narcissistic leader : coffee’s for closers only. In Schwartz, Michael & Harris, Howard (Eds.) The Contribution of Fiction to Organizational Ethics [Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Volume 11]. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 81-102.

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In the past, leadership scholars have tended to focus on leadership as a force for good and productivity (Ashworth, 1994; Higgs, 2009; Padilla, Hogan, & Kaiser, 2007). However, recently attention has been given to the ‘dark side’ of leadership (see Higgs, 2009; Judge, Piccolo, & Kosalka, 2009). The aim of this chapter is to explore dark leadership from the perspective of the narcissistic leader using a fictional character from a popular film.


Using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994 (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) as an operational definition of narcissistic personality disorder we explore the psychology of the narcissistic leader through a fictional character study in a popular film.


We have created a psychological profile of a narcissistic leader which identifies specific behavioural characteristics within a toxic organizational culture. Social implications

This study has implications for employees within any organizational culture. It is significant because it can illustrate how dark leadership can impact negatively within organizations.


The use of actual living persons on which to base case study material in the study of dark leadership is problematic and constrained by ethical issues. However, the use of characters in fiction, such as contemporary film and drama, represents an excellent source of case study material. Given that little empirical works exists on narcissistic leaders and leadership, the chapter adds originality and value to the field.

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ID Code: 78032
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: Authors' manuscript version made available for individual study and research purposes with the permission of the Publisher.
Keywords: Narcissistic leadership, power, case study
DOI: 10.1108/S1529-209620140000011004
ISBN: 9781783509485
ISSN: 1529-2096
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Administration Management and Leadership (130304)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Emerald
Deposited On: 26 Oct 2014 23:46
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2015 11:43

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