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Do bad guys get ahead or fall behind? Relationships of the dark triad of personality with objective and subjective career success

Andreas Hirschi

Spurk, D., Keller, A., Hirschi, A. (2016). Do bad guys get ahead or fall behind? Relationships of the dark triad of personality with objective and subjective career success. Social Psychological and Personality Science (2), 113-121, doi: 10.1177/1948550615609735. 

Abstract

This study analyzed incremental effects of single Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) on objective (i.e., salary and leadership position) and subjective (i.e., career satisfaction) career success. We analyzed 793 early career employees representative of age and education from the private industry sector in Germany. Results from multiple and logistic regressions revealed bright and dark sides of the Dark Triad, depending on the specific Dark Triad trait analyzed. After controlling for other relevant variables (i.e., gender, age, job tenure, organization size, education, and work hours), narcissism was positively related to salary, Machiavellianism was positively related to leadership position and career satisfaction, and psychopathy was negatively related to all analyzed outcomes. These results provide evidence that the Dark Triad plays a role in explaining important career outcomes. Implications for personality and career research are derived.