All I need is a stage to shine: Narcissists' leader emergence and performance

Barbora Nevicka*, Annebel H B De Hoogh, Annelies E M Van Vianen, Bianca Beersma, Doris McIlwain

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    144 Citations (Scopus)


    Many of the world's leaders appear to possess narcissistic characteristics (e.g., Deluga, 1997). This begs a question as to whether and why narcissistic individuals are chosen as leaders and how they perform. Prior research has suggested that leadership emergence and performance of narcissistic personalities may depend on contextual factors. Of particular interests are those contextual factors that pertain to the interdependence of work relationships, because narcissists typically tend to 'shine' in social settings where they can influence others. Therefore, the present study investigated the leadership emergence and performance of narcissistic individuals in low versus high reward interdependent teams that participated in an interactive team simulation task. We found that narcissists emerged as leaders irrespective of the team's level of reward interdependence and their individual performance. Yet, high narcissists performed better in the high reward interdependent condition than in the low reward interdependent condition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)910-925
    Number of pages16
    JournalLeadership Quarterly
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


    • Leader emergence
    • Narcissistic leadership
    • Narcissistic performance


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