Wisdom and narcissism as predictors of transformational leadership

Greaves, Claire E., Zacher, Hannes, McKenna, Bernard, & Rooney, David (2014) Wisdom and narcissism as predictors of transformational leadership. The Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 35(4), pp. 335-358.

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  • Purpose

Although leadership and organizational scholars have suggested that the virtue of wisdom may promote outstanding leadership behavior, this proposition has rarely been empirically tested. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between transformational leadership, narcissism, and five dimensions of wisdom as conceptualized by the well-established Berlin wisdom paradigm. General mental ability and emotional intelligence were considered relevant control variables.

  • Design/methodology/approach

Interview, test, and questionnaire data were obtained from 77 employees of a high school and from two or three colleagues of each employee. Data were analyzed using hierarchical regression analyses.

  • Findings

After controlling for general mental ability and emotional intelligence, narcissism and the wisdom dimension relativism of values and life priorities were negatively related to transformational leadership, and the wisdom dimension recognition and management of uncertainty was positively related to transformational leadership. The other three wisdom dimensions, rich factual knowledge about life, rich procedural knowledge about life, and lifespan contextualism, were not significantly related to transformational leadership.

  • Research limitations/implications

Limitations to be addressed in future studies include the cross-sectional design and the relatively small and specialized sample.

  • Practical implications

Tentative implications for leadership training and development are outlined.

  • Originality/value

This multi-method and multi-source study represents the first empirical investigation that examines links between well-established wisdom and leadership constructs in the work context.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
4 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 92353
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Transformational leadership, Emotional intelligence, Wisdom, General mental ability, Narcissism
DOI: 10.1108/LODJ-07-2012-0092
ISSN: 0143-7739
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Behaviour (150311)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2016 23:12
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2016 05:05

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