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

John F. Ehrich, Lisa C. Ehrich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - 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.

Methodology/approach - 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.

Findings - 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.

Originality/value - 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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe contribution of fiction to organizational ethics
Editors Michael Schwartz, Howard Harris
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherEmerald Insight
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781783509485
ISBN (Print)9781783509492
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in Ethical Issues in Organizations
ISSN (Print)1529-2096


  • narcissistic leadership
  • power
  • case study


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