Dark Personalities in the Workplace defines dark personalities, their prevalence in the workplace, and how they are best
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Table of contents :
Dark Personalities in the Workplace
1. Eliminating the blind spot: defining dark personalities
Clinical versus subclinical personality disorders
Dark Triad Model
A note on sadism
Similarities and differences among dark personalities
Dark personalities and other personality models
Dark personalities and the Five-Factor Model of personality
HEXACO model of personality and dark personalities
The rise of dark personalities (causes, developmental factors, and prevalence)
Genetic and environmental factors
Five-Factor Model of personality and genetic/environmental influences
Dark Triad and genetic/environmental influences
Dark triad within the workplace
Practical knowledge: profiling dark personalities in the workplace
Creating an organizational profile for dark personalities
Dark Triad workplace competency profile
2. How not to attract dark personalities in your organization: dark personalities and career/organization choice
Money and power
Person–organization fit theory
What they are looking for in an organization
The importance of job postings
The power is shifting
A note on walking the talk
Changing an organizational culture
What is your organization’s personality? Measuring organizational culture
The Organizational Culture Profile
3. Employee selection: all that glitters is not gold
The selection process
Verbal impression management tactics
Nonverbal impression management tactics
Practice: the selection interview case
Using practices that will help weed out candidates presenting dark personalities
Transforming job description and tasks into measurable skills
Job posting: “Be the energy you want to attract”
Building a competency framework
Building interview questions
Aspiration and self-evaluation questions
Knowledge and background questions
Structuring the interview
Conducting the interview
Additional information on the candidate
A note on the use of social media in selection processes
Stability of evaluators
A note on using measures of dark personality traits in a selection process
Practice: creating a selection process document
4. Performance appraisal: how to stop the dark from rising
How dark individuals manipulate performance appraisal systems
Performance evaluation biases
Social desirability bias
Escalation of commitment effect
Impression management and performance appraisal
Impact of IM on performance appraisals
Defensive IM tactics
IM tactics, promotion, and gender
Creating a performance appraisal process
What should be measured?
Performance appraisal process (goals and competencies)
How to measure it?
Management by objectives
Behaviorally anchored rating scales
The importance of feedback in a performance appraisal process
Dark personalities and reaction to feedback
Key elements for successfully implementing performance appraisal systems
Training managers to conduct performance appraisals
Monitoring managers’ performance appraisals
Holding managers accountable for the accuracy of their ratings
Introducing normative information
The use of performance appraisal for developmental purposes
Follow-up on performance appraisals and organizational consequences
Creating a performance appraisal system
5. Leadership and dark personalities
Manager versus leader
Dark personalities and leadership
Leader–Member Exchange theory
Dark personalities and leadership: an evolutionary explanation
Positive leadership models
Full-Range Leadership Model
Practice: building a positive leadership competency profile for selection, performance appraisal, and promotion
6. Violence in the workplace: the antipersonnel crime theory
Violence in the workplace
Harassment and bullying
Prevalence of workplace violence
Impact of workplace harassment on victims
Workplace violence perpetrator profile
Dark personalities and violence
Organizational causes of workplace violence
Leadership and culture
Ineffective management of harassment and tolerance of workplace violence
Practice: creating a secure workplace
Prevention of workplace violence
Zero-tolerance harassment policy
The preventive management model
How to intervene during a harassment investigation with other team members
Dealing with the aftermath of harassment
Practice section: anti-harassment policy and anti-harassment programs
7. Negative attitudes, counterproductive work behavior, and corporate fraud
Dark personalities and employee attitudes
Organizational commitment, turnover intention, and loyalty
Organizational citizenship behaviors
Counterproductive work behaviors
Financial statement fraud
Profile statistics (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018)
Behavioral signs of corporate fraud
Personality correlates of corporate fraudsters
Organizational structures that allow fraud and CWB
The best prevention is to have a hiring process that allows screening out unethical employees
Practice section: writing a counterproductive work behavior policy and program
8. Don’t be afraid of the dark: how to manage dark employees
Dealing with dark personalities in the workplace
If he or she is your colleague
What to expect?
What should you do?
If he or she is your employee
What to expect?
What should you do?
If he or she is your manager
What to expect?
What should you do?
Building a case for corporate misbehavior
Practice: how to build a case for corporate misbehavior perpetrated by individuals presenting dark personalities
Building a case
Cheat sheet: meeting with an employee presenting a dark personality
Practice: Case studies
9. Final thoughts
Success and happiness
Redefining leadership and success: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey
Differentiating the good from the bad: intentions
The power of humility
Greed and growth
How to create a positive workplace
2 - Case study #1
3 - Understanding self–other rating agreement
Self–other rating agreement
Outcomes of self–other rating agreement
The role of personality in self–other agreement
Dark personalities and self–other rating agreement
4 - Competencies extracted from best leadership practices
Bright leadership competency profile
5 - Case study #2
Case study 3
6 - Anti-dark personality organizational checklist
Dark Personalities in the Workplace
Cynthia Mathieu Business Department, Universite´ du Que´bec a` Trois-Rivie`res, Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
Academic Press is an imprint of Elsevier 125 London Wall, London EC2Y 5AS, United Kingdom 525 B Street, Suite 1650, San Diego, CA 92101, United States 50 Hampshire Street, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 1GB, United Kingdom Copyright Ó 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Details on how to seek permission, further information about the Publisher’s permissions policies and our arrangements with organizations such as the Copyright Clearance Center and the Copyright Licensing Agency, can be found at our website: www.elsevier.com/permissions. This book and the individual contributions contained in it are protected under copyright by the Publisher (other than as may be noted herein).
Notices Knowledge and best practice in this ﬁeld are constantly changing. As new research and experience broaden our understanding, changes in research methods, professional practices, or medical treatment may become necessary. Practitioners and researchers must always rely on their own experience and knowledge in evaluating and using any information, methods, compounds, or experiments described herein. In using such information or methods they should be mindful of their own safety and the safety of others, including parties for whom they have a professional responsibility. To the fullest extent of the law, neither the Publisher nor the authors, contributors, or editors, assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions, or ideas contained in the material herein. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN: 978-0-12-815827-2 For information on all Academic Press publications visit our website at https://www.elsevier.com/books-and-journals
Publisher: Nikki Levy Editorial Project Manager: Barbara Makinster Production Project Manager: Swapna Srinivasan Cover Designer: Miles Hitchen Typeset by TNQ Technologies
To my daughters, may you always keep your sense of wonder. Love always, Mom
Foreword Dark Personalities in the Workplace is a remarkable book by a leader in the burgeoning field of organizational behavior. Cynthia Mathieu has managed the difficult task of integrating theory and methodologies from different disciplines, including general personality theory, with her own extensive experience in forensic and organizational psychology. The emphasis throughout is on the disruptive personality syndromes that challenge corporate stability and wellbeing. The result is a superb discourse on how behavioral science, coupled with an inquiring intellect and keen insights, leads to an understanding of the interpersonal dynamics of workplace attitudes and behaviors. This book provides personnel and workers at all levels, and the public, with valuable information about the nature of the dark personalities, their identification and strategies, and practical ways of dealing with them. Notably, the “workplace” includes corporations, businesses, institutions, organizations, and settings in which individuals’ behaviors have a harmful or toxic effect on others. Readers will undoubtedly appreciate the book for its contents’ scope and depth and its author’s sagacity. They also may be interested in some details about the historical intro to the book and why I am so impressed with her work. Cynthia started her research career with the study of domestic violence, spousal abuse, mental disorders among offenders, mentoring, and worke family conflict. She then directed her research efforts to leadership, narcissism, and ultimately to psychopathy. The latter is my area of interest. I first met Cynthia at a conference in Vancouver in 2010. She was interested in extending the clinical construct of psychopathy to the business world. The result of that meeting was the formation of an informal workgroup to study corporate psychopathy. Besides Cynthia, the group included Paul Babiak, Craig Neumann, Dan Jones, and me. With Cynthia as the lead, we conducted, and published, a series of collaborative projects on the assessment and implications of corporate psychopathy (see references below). A vital part of this early research was using the B-Scan 360 as the primary tool for measuring psychopathy (Babiak & Hare, 2006, 2019). Also essential to the project was Cynthia’s uncommon ability to access and collect data from a diverse set of public and private organizations and institutions. Researching “psychopathy” in these settings was, and still is, challenging and demanding of effort and
time. It requires initiative and diplomacy and open meetings with unions, upper management, and human resources executives. Reluctance to participate is the norm in applied organizational research; most companies do not see the value of studying psychopaths in business. At the same time, they fear negative press if their participation becomes public knowledge. Cynthia’s warm and pleasing personality, honesty and integrity, evident enthusiasm for her work, ability to explain this work to decision-makers, and convince them of its value to them and the business world have opened doors to field research not available to most researchers. She has extended her research to several public safety occupational groups, including police and fire departments. She also has investigated the effects of dark personalities on employee attitudes (job motivation, job satisfaction, and psychological distress) and to negative leadership style, critical issues in industrial and organizational psychology. Unlike many academic efforts in these areas, which typically involve the administration of batteries of self-report instruments, sometimes online, Cynthia’s research is based on extensive personal contacts and cooperative arrangements with management and staff, indepth interviews, discussions, and assessments of personnel. An essential part of her research philosophy is providing feedback about her findings and their potential relevance to the organization. This book is readable and scientifically sound. It is a testament to Cynthia’s ingenuity, determination, and the successful use of innovative research designs and analyses of real-world data, to understand the innermost workings of dark personalities and their consequences for those around them. Robert D. Hare Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia
References Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2006). Snakes in Suits: When psychopaths go to work. Harper Collins: Regan Books, New York, NY. Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2019). Snakes in Suits: Understanding and surviving the psychopaths in your office (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Harper Collins.
Further reading Mathieu, C., Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2021). Psychopathy in the workplace. In A. R. Felthous, & H. Saß (Eds.), International handbook on psychopathic disorders and the law (2nd ed., Vol. I, pp. 606e644). New York, NY: Wiley & Sons. Mathieu, C., Hare, R. D., Jones, D. N., Babiak, P., & Neumann, C. S. (2013). Factor structure of the B-Scan 360: A measure of corporate psychopathy. Psychological Assessment, 25, 288e293. Mathieu, C., Hare, R. D., Neumann, C. S., Babiak, P., & Jones, D. E. (2014). A dark side of leadership: Corporate psychopathy and its influence on employee well-being and job satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 59, 83e88. Mathieu, C., Neumann, C. S., Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2015). Corporate psychopathy and the full range leadership model. Assessment, 22, 267e278.
Acknowledgments I come from a large extended French-Canadian family. My grandparents on both sides were farmers. They have taught me the value of hard work, the beauty in simplicity, they have taught me to appreciate what I have, and, most of all, they have taught me that loving one another despite our differences is what a family is all about. My grandfather Rene´ said: “Love, you cannot see it, but you cannot erase it either.” I miss him every day. To my extraordinary parents whose generosity has no boundaries; thank you for always believing in me, telling me the sky is the limit, and letting me know that I am loved, just the way I am. I am who I am because of you. To my little sister, thank you for always keeping it real; your courage inspires me. I believe that, in a lifetime, if we are lucky, we meet incredible individuals who singlehandedly change the course of our careers and our lives. I am privileged to have had such luck in 2010 when I first met and started working with Dr. Robert Hare. I will always remember our first meeting when someone gave me advice, and Dr. Hare replied, “I believe she knows exactly where she is going.” The truth is, I’m not sure I did, but he saw in me what I didn’t see in myself, and he continued encouraging me, pushing me to be better, and offering me advice along the way. He is not only an amazing scholar, but is also a remarkable human being and a mentor I admire. Thank you, Bob, for your trust, for your constant support, and for always inspiring me to do better and be better. This book would not have been possible if you had not believed in me. I have had the privilege of being introduced, through Robert Hare, to Dr. Paul Babiak, his colleague and co-author of the book Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to work, who also became a mentor. Paul, your sensitivity, work ethic, attention to detail, empathy for others, and great sense of humor have helped me grow as an industrial psychologist, scholar, writer, and as a human being. You are a role model for me. Your email, including your 10 steps to writing a book made a huge difference and encouraged me to move forward with this book; I cannot thank you enough for all the support you have given me and for your friendship. To my friends who have had to cope with my stress of “not writing this book,” thank you for your support. Tammy, thank you for promoting my book to everyone even when it was just an idea; it made it feel so much more real, and thank you for the wine (which helped me cope with the stress of not
always keeping up with my deadlines). Nathalie, you gave me “the talk,” no-frills, no sugar coating; you told me that I needed structure, you gave me deadlines, and you told me you would not let me be until I had completed this book. Good thing you are also my yoga instructor; otherwise, I would have felt a lot of pressure. In my life, I was lucky to have been surrounded by incredible men and women who have inspired me to always be and do better. Thank you to all of my friends, present and past. To my original editor at Elsevier, Emily Ekle, thank you for believing that I had something to say that was worth sharing with others; I hope this book corresponds to what you had envisioned. I also want to thank Barbara Makinster, my current editor, for her patience, enthusiasm, and empathy. Thank you to Swapna Srinivasan and the entire team at Elsevier, whose hard work behind the scenes made this book so much better. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with individuals and organizations that have inspired me, without whom my research would not have been possible. I would like to thank Jean-Pierre Laporte and Martin Samson who trusted me, believed in my ideas, and embarked on research projects with me from the very beginning. Thank you for your trust, for your support, and for all the laughs we shared. To Andre´ Latreille, Ombudsman, and his team at the office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health at the Canadian Federal Government, working with you, I realize that it is possible to make a real difference within organizations. You have the courage to address issues that few dare to address; you embody what a “people-first culture” is all about. You make me feel like there is a place for my ideas, and you are not afraid to innovate, to do whatever it takes to make employees feel heard, feel safe, and appreciated. You are the real deal. Working with you, I feel confident that the recommendations I offer in this book are achievable and that they do make a real impact not just on the workplace but also in people’s lives. To my students who encourage me, motivate me to reject the status quo, challenge me, and make me want to be the best teacher that I can be. Thank you for the support you have given me over the years, and thank you for inspiring me, keeping me on my toes, and sharing your hopes, dreams, and aspirations with me. Teaching for me is a privilege; I love what I do. As I tell my students, “I can’t believe I get paid for talking.” Thank you for listening. To my husband, thank you for your support, for accepting who I am, and for embarking on a never-ending sea of projects with me. You have encouraged me, believed in me, and you have given me the most precious gift of all, our children. To my kids, you are the light of my life. Watching you grow into amazing human beings is nothing short of a miracle to me. You inspire me every day; you probably teach me more than I teach you, and you make my life so full of joy. I am proud to be your mother. I know that you are disappointed that this book is not a children’s novel; I just do not have that talent. Nevertheless,
know that I wrote this book to help others understand what I have learned through my research. It is my small contribution to making your world a better place. I love you to the moon and back. To readers, thank you for choosing this book. I hope that in these pages, you will find the answers and solutions you are looking for.
Introduction I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and a postdoctoral degree in criminal (forensic) psychology with training and experience in industrialeorganizational psychology (psychology in the workplace). This is an atypical background and I would lie if I said that I did not struggle to fit in. In fact, many have told me that I was hired in the wrong department when I started working as a professor at a business department. This book gives sense to my academic journey. Somehow it all fell into place; my work experience in industrialeorganizational psychology working for an employee assistance program, conducting employee selection, coaching leaders, and developing training and programs for employee mental health, my studies and my work as a clinical psychologist, and my research on violence and personality disorders. I now believe that my peculiar background allows me to have a different and perhaps unique perspective on individuals who are at the root of many problems in the workplace and who manage to climb the corporate ladder while wreaking havoc along the way. I have been lucky to have met and collaborated with many experts who have inspired me and sparked interest and reflections that influenced this book’s creation. Inspiration also came from many discussions with individuals who shared stories and experiences in dealing with toxic individuals in their workplace. This book is meant to offer answers to many questions I have been asked by human resources personnel, managers, employees, academics, colleagues, and students. Like all of my classes, each chapter of this book is divided into two sections. The first section presents theory based on research in clinical, social, criminal, industrialeorganizational psychology, and business. I believe that theory allows us to understand the WHAT and WHY; for instance, what constitutes a dark personality, and why individuals with dark personalities act and react the way they do. The second section of each chapter is a practice section that allows readers to acquire knowledge of the HOW. The practice section includes practical solutions to help readers understand how to prevent these individuals from entering organizations and how to deal with them once they are on the inside. Practical exercises conclude each chapter, and free additional material is available for students, academics, and organizations on my website (www. cynthiamathieu.com).
This book follows a journey from defining who these individuals are, how they manage to enter, climb the corporate ladder, manipulate and create problems in the workplace, and, finally, it addresses how to deal with these dark individuals when they are on the inside. More specifically, Chapter 1 defines what constitutes dark personalities and offers a profile of individuals who present dark personalities on competencies used for employee selection. Chapter 2 covers dark personalities and career choice, as well as how to ensure that organizational culture and job postings do not attract candidates with dark personalities. Chapter 3 addresses how candidates with dark personalities manage to excel during selection interviews and presents best practices in selection processes that may reduce the risk of hiring candidates with dark personalities. In Chapter 4, I present how employees with dark personalities manage to manipulate their way up the corporate ladder, and I give advice on how to create and implement an effective appraisal system that will reduce the risk of promoting employees with dark personalities. In Chapter 5, I address the relationship between dark personality traits, leadership style, and leader behaviors. I present a leadership competency profile associated with positive leadership behaviors that can be used to reduce the risk of hiring dark leaders. In Chapter 6, I present different forms of workplace violence and introduce a workplace violence perpetrator profile; furthermore, I introduce elements to create a safe work environment and prevent and deal with harassment and violence in the workplace. In Chapter 7, I present how individuals with dark personalities are at the root of negative workplace behaviors; I include a workplace misbehavior perpetrator profile that can be used for selection and promotion processes. Chapter 8 covers recommendations on how to manage employees and managers presenting dark personalities and includes case studies to help the reader understand how these individuals operate in the workplace. Finally, in Chapter 9, I offer final thoughts on what we need to change, as a society, in order to reduce the power given to dark individuals, and I make final recommendations on how to create a positive workplace to reduce the risk of attracting, hiring, and promoting individuals presenting dark personalities. I hope that the knowledge that I share in this book will allow readers to recognize these individuals and protect themselves and their workplace against the devastating impacts of individuals presenting dark personalities. Students will eventually be the ones in charge of hiring, promoting, and managing the workforce. Therefore, informing and teaching students on the dangers of hiring and promoting individuals with dark personalities is, I believe, the best way to reduce the destructive effects these individuals can have on our organizations in the future. Furthermore, providing professionals with the necessary tools that will allow them to prevent these dark individuals from entering their organization and the means to deal with the ones who are already on the inside is what motivated me to write this book.
They say knowledge is power. By sharing the knowledge I have acquired through research and interventions conducted within different organizations over the past ten years, I hope to bring more power to people who truly want to make a change by creating a healthy and positive workplace. Thank you for your interest in my book. I hope that you will find in these pages the answers you are looking for and the tools you need to face situations involving dark individuals in your workplace.
Eliminating the blind spot: defining dark personalities Truth, like light, is blinding. Lies, on the other hand, are a beautiful dusk, which enhances the value of each object. Albert Camus
This first chapter is an attempt to shine a light on the dusk that has been surrounding individuals who are responsible for an unfathomable amount of damage in our society and our workplaces. In order to reduce behaviors that cause damage to organizations and their human force, we need to dig deeper into the fabric of corporate misbehavior by gaining knowledge of the individuals who perpetrate it. These individuals have used deception, lies, money, popularity, and social status to elevate themselves and gain power and control over others. Meanwhile, as a society, we watch, often without acting and sometimes, sadly, with a form of admiration and disbelief, how these individuals manage to manipulate their way into positions of power. The poet Maya Angelou said “We are only as blind as we want to be.” In order to decimate negative behaviors, we need to understand that these behaviors are, and have been for centuries, perpetrated by individuals who share common traits that predispose them to commit different types of misconduct. We all have traits that define us and influence our actions; they form our personalities. However, a portion of the population exhibits pervasive traits that affect their thoughts and actions in a way that is either harmful for them or others. The combination of their traits forms what psychiatry has labeled personality disorders. In this chapter, I will define and explain the concepts of personality disorder and dark personalities; furthermore, I will explain how dark personalities come to be and their prevalence rate in different settings (general population, correctional settings, and workplace). First, let us look at what constitutes a personality disorder.
Clinical versus subclinical personality disorders On a clinical level, personality disorders are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual provides a common language and Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00001-6 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
2 Dark Personalities in the Workplace
clinical criteria for mental disorders and is used by mental health professionals worldwide. The DSM-V offers a general definition of Personality Disorder that applies to each of the 10 specific Personality Disorders: “A Personality Disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment” (APA, 2013). It is important to note that personality disorders are not related to a “mood,” nor do they appear following a life event; in fact, they are relatively stable throughout the life span. In the context of the present book, clinical personality disorders will not be covered; rather, I will focus on subclinical constructs of personality disorders applied to the workplace. On a subclinical level, individuals present numerous traits of clinical personality disorders without necessarily being clinically recognized as having a personality disorder. Note that some individuals who score high on subclinical measures of dark personalities could also qualify for the clinical diagnosis. Furthermore, individuals who do not qualify for the full clinical diagnosis yet display many of the traits associated with a personality disorder can have a significant negative impact on their environment and the people around them. For instance, an individual presenting many traits of psychopathy without necessarily obtaining the cut-off score on a clinical psychopathy measure would still be a danger for society and people around him/her. Indeed, I believe that individuals who may not show extreme scores can be very dangerous as they may be better at disguising their dark intentions by using highly developed interpersonal/manipulation skills. In fact, one difference found between psychopaths in the general population and the ones assessed in prison settings is that, while corporate psychopaths are cunning, manipulative, and act without empathy, remorse, or guilt, they score lower on the following psychopathy factor: Lifestyle (including Parasitic lifestyle, Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom, Irresponsibility, Impulsivity, and Lack of realistic long-term goals) and Antisocial/Criminal (including Poor behavioral controls, Early behavior problems, Juvenile delinquency, Revocation of conditional release, Criminal versatility) than psychopaths in prison settings (Mathieu, Babiak, & Hare, 2020). In other words, they display “the personality traits ascribed to psychopaths without exhibiting serious antisocial acts or a lifestyle typical of criminal psychopaths, which would have attracted the formal attention of society” (Babiak, 2016, p. 358). This does not mean that corporate psychopaths do not commit criminal behavior; rather, I believe it means that they are so good at manipulating and conning others that they manage to operate under the radar and keep away from criminal investigations. Corporate fraud and unethical business deals, which I will address in Chapter 7, are examples of the types of wrongful behaviors associated with corporate psychopaths. Before we get to how these individuals operate, we need to gain a better understanding of who these individuals are.
Eliminating the blind spot: defining dark personalities Chapter | 1
Dark Triad Model Paulhus and Williams (2002) introduced the notion of “Dark Triad,” a concept including three dark personalities: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Paulhus (2014, p. 421) defines dark personalities as such: “The term dark personalities refers to a set of socially aversive traits in the subclinical range. Not extreme enough to invite clinical or forensic attention, they can get along (even flourish) in everyday work settings, scholastic settings, and the broader community.” More recently, Dr. Paulhus has introduced sadism as a fourth dark personality to his Dark Triad Model, referred to as the Dark Tetrad (Buckels, Jones, & Paulhus, 2013) (Fig. 1.1).
Narcissism Narcissism can be defined as a “relatively stable individual difference consisting of grandiosity, self-love and inflated self-views” (Campbell, Hoffman, Campbell, & Marchisio, 2011, p. 269). Twenge and Campbell (2003, p. 262) define narcissism as “A complex trait that includes inflated views of self, intrapsychic and interpersonal strategies for maintaining these inflated self-views, and poor relational functioning.” Narcissistic individuals fantasize about fame and power, see themselves as more intelligent and attractive (Raskin, Novacek, & Hogan, 1991), and are constantly searching for admiration and superiority (Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001). Narcissistic individuals are self-centered; they need to be admired and
FIGURE 1.1 Dark Triad/Tetrad Model.
4 Dark Personalities in the Workplace
to be the center of attention. These individuals are highly competitive and may react aggressively to criticism. They have low empathy for others and will not hesitate to use them to get what they want. They believe that they are superior to others and, as such, that they are entitled to privileges. Not surprisingly, narcissism has been referred to as the “God complex.” I like the quote from the movie “Malice” where the physician on trial is asked if he thinks that he has a God complex: “You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something: I am God.” As Campbell et al. (2011) mention, the pattern of inflation for narcissistic individuals is mostly in agentic domains (power, status, physical attractiveness, and creativity) rather than communal domains (caring, empathy, and concern). Within the workplace, narcissists are likely to seek positions that will grant them access to power, control, money, and advantages such as spending accounts, flexible work hours, and freedom of action. Power over others is also sought by these individuals, including sexual benefits that they believe come with power. They believe that others are attracted to them, and they often exhibit sexually suggestive behavior within the workplace. They do not enjoy being managed, and they need to have constant praise for their work, regardless of the amount of effort (or lack thereof) they invest. Their assessment of themselves and their achievements is always very high, regardless of facts pointing to the contrary. Note that they will not hesitate to pass other people’s work and ideas as their own to get credit. They will resort to manipulation and lying to get what they want. They often have a strong presence and are, therefore, able to influence others. In the workplace, they see their supervisor as a rival and will often try to diminish their credibility and reputation. As employees, they cannot be trusted. They will do anything to gain power within the organization; they are self-serving individuals who do not work for anyone but themselves. For more information on narcissism in the workplace, see a review from Campbell and colleagues (Campbell et al., 2011).
Machiavellianism Machiavellianism is also called the manipulative personality; Machiavellian individuals behave in a cold and manipulative fashion and are insincere and callous (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). The term Machiavellianism comes from Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian diplomat who wrote a book entitled “The Prince.” He explains that rulers should use any means at their disposal to get what they want, including committing immoral deeds. Some of the characteristics associated with Machiavellianism are relative lack of affect in interpersonal relationships, lack of concern with conventional morality, lack of gross psychopathology, and low ideological commitment (Christie & Geis, 1970). As opposed to psychopaths and narcissists, Machiavellians are able to conduct long-term schemes; they are not as impulsive and may not be as flamboyant as the other two personalities, which serves them well as they are
Eliminating the blind spot: defining dark personalities Chapter | 1
able to operate under the radar for longer periods. Indeed, impulsivity is often what allows others to see through the lies and manipulation beyond the image created by individuals with dark personalities. As such, not being as impulsive as the other two personalities composing the Dark Triad is an asset that serves Machiavellians. It allows them to be more calculating and strategic when conducting their schemes. Machiavellian violence is instrumental rather than emotionally reactive; it serves their end goal. The violence they use is calculated and covert more than overt, making it insidious and difficult to identify and prosecute. Machiavellians have an excellent political sense, and they have the ability to learn the ins and outs of an organization in very little time, which allows them to navigate its power structure with dexterity. They are less obvious than the other two Dark Triad personalities. They do not display grandiosity and have the ability and patience to wait for the right moment and make sure that all is in place before they commit a crime. For more information on Machiavellianism, see Jones and Paulhus (2009).
Psychopathy Psychopathy is a construct defined by four factors or dimensions, labeled as follows: Interpersonal (Glibness/superficial charm, Grandiose sense of self-worth, Pathological lying, Conning/manipulative); Affective (Lack of remorse or guilt, Shallow affect, Callous/lack of empathy, Failure to accept responsibility for actions); Lifestyle (Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom, Parasitic lifestyle, Lack of realistic long-term goals, Impulsivity, Irresponsibility); and Antisocial (Poor behavioral controls, Early behavior problems, Juvenile delinquency, Revocation of conditional release, Criminal versatility) (Neumann, Hare, & Newman, 2007; Neumann, Hare, & Pardini, 2015). These four factors are measured by Robert Hare’s Psychopathy ChecklisteRevised (PCL-R; Hare, 2003). Paul Babiak and Robert Hare have created an instrument measuring psychopathy in the workplace, the B-Scan. Dr. Babiak, Dr. Hare, and I have found the same four-factor structure as the PCL-R in our workplace samples using the B-Scan, and we have entitled these factors: Manipulative/ Unethical, Callous/Insensitive, Unreliable/Unfocused, and Intimidating/ Aggressive (see Table 1.1 below for a list of B-Scan factors and facets). Note that the PCL-R Antisocial Factor relating to delinquency and criminal versatility is defined by workplace misbehavior such as bullying or workplace harassment in the B-Scan. Indeed, as mentioned above, psychopathic individuals operating in the workplace use more “refined” criminal behavior and violence, which reduces the risk of being caught and allows them to operate “under the radar.” Of the constructs that comprise the Dark Triad, research indicates that psychopathy seems to be the most dishonest (Nathanson, Paulhus, & Williams, 2006), treacherous (Paulhus & Williams, 2002), and destructive (Williams, Nathanson, & Paulhus, 2010). It was long thought that psychopathic
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individuals were hardened criminals who spent their lives in prison serving time for crimes they were found guilty of committing. However, it was established that psychopaths make up about 1% of the population, and as such, they are present in every social sphere, including organizational settings. The fact that corporate psychopaths may have been able to avoid formal prosecution for their crime or avoid conviction does not mean that they are less dangerous. It simply means that their crimes are less visible, that their violence is more pervasive and discrete, and that, like chameleons, they have adapted to society so well that they are able to commit crimes under the radar while being respected and even admired. What distinguishes psychopaths from other individuals is the fact that they do not have a conscience. They do not feel guilty for the crimes they have committed, and in fact, when questioned, they feel entitled to what they may have gained by committing the crime. They are pathological liars, which distinguishes them from other criminals as well. Not only do they lie to manipulate the outcome of their crimes, but they also lie about everything and anything; it is, for them, as easy as breathing. When confronted about a discrepancy in what they said, they will lie about having said that, dismiss it, or offer another explanation without feelings of shame or remorse. Robert Hare has referred to psychopaths as social predators. While psychopaths in the workplace may seem less dangerous than those who are incarcerated, they may, in fact, be just as, if not more, dangerous. Indeed, the amount of damage they can do in workplaces and society in general while maintaining the image of a respectable and admired citizen is far more extensive as it can take place over an extended period. Furthermore, corporate psychopaths do have the capacity to be physically violent and dangerous if someone gets in the way of their goals. As Perri (2016) says about corporate fraudsters, some will, without any form of remorse, resort to murder to prevent their schemes from being uncovered. Psychopaths are master manipulators, and they have the charisma to influence others into thinking that they are great leaders. Make no mistake; psychopathic individuals are not loyal; they are deceitful, dangerous, and only serve one master: their ego. For more information on corporate psychopathy, see a Chapter I wrote with colleagues (Mathieu et al., 2020).
A note on sadism Sadism or everyday sadism (which is the subclinical term) refers to experiencing pleasure in seeing others suffer or inflicting suffering on others. Sadistic individuals enjoy cruelty and seek opportunities to induce suffering upon others (Buckels et al., 2013). A study led by the former authors established that, out of the four Dark Tetrad personalities, only sadistic individuals were willing to perform a boring task to have the opportunity to hurt an innocent person. They also found that sadism was an independent predictor of behavior,
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conveying an appetite for cruelty, which is a unique contribution of this personality to the Dark Tetrad. Although it shares traits with Dark Triad personalities, research has established that sadism has its place among the other dark personalities and adds to the understanding of problematic behavior such as aggression. In fact, of the four Dark Tetrad personalities, sadism has the strongest link with cyberbullying (followed by psychopathy) (Goodboy & Martin, 2015). The addition of sadism to the Dark Triad Model is relatively recent, and very little is known on how sadism is expressed in the workplace. Nevertheless, Paulhus (2014) mentions that bullies would be a classic example of sadism in the workplace.
Similarities and differences among dark personalities In studying the three personalities composing the Dark Triad, Paulhus and Williams explain that “Despite their diverse origins, the personalities composing the ‘Dark Triad’ share a number of features. To varying degrees, all three entail a socially malevolent character with behavior tendencies toward self-promotion, emotional coldness, duplicity, and aggressiveness” (Paulhus & Williams, 2002, p. 557). However, the same authors conclude that their data does not support the contention that, in normal populations, these three constructs of personality are equivalent (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). Paulhus (2014) reports that while all four personalities composing the Dark Tetrad score high on callousness, only narcissism and psychopathy are high on impulsivity and grandiosity. Furthermore, while all three Dark Triad members are highly manipulative, sadistic personality is not related to manipulation. Finally, he posits that only psychopathy is associated with criminality (although he mentions that Machiavellianism can be associated with whitecollar crime). He also mentions that sadism is the only Dark Tetrad personality associated with the enjoyment of cruelty. In an attempt to isolate the shared traits between the three Dark Triad personalities, Jones and Figueredo (2013) found that the Dark Triad personalities’ common core was composed of Robert Hare’s Factors 1 and 2 Manipulation and Callousness (presented in Table 1.1). As you can see in Table 1.1, these factors are defined by Glibness/superficial charm, Grandiose sense of self-worth, Pathological lying, Conning/manipulative, Lack of remorse or guilt, Shallow affect, Callous/lack of empathy, and Failure to accept responsibility for actions. Needless to say, these are traits that can both increase the chances of an individual being hired as well as increase the chances of misbehavior in the workplace once they enter the organization. Although the three personalities forming the Dark Triad are different, they share what Dr. Jones has called the “Core of Darkness” and, consequently, the traits that they share are associated with negative impacts in the workplace.
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TABLE 1.1 PCL-R versus B-Scan factors and facets. PCL-R items
B-Scan (PCL-R) factors
Glibness Superficial charm
Grandiose sense of self-worth Pathological lying
Arrogant Manipulative/Unethical (Interpersonal)
Lack of remorse or guilt
Shallow affect Callous/Lack of empathy
Failure to accept responsibility
Need for Stimulation/Proneness to boredom
Parasitic lifestyle Lack of realistic long-term goals
Selfish Unreliable/Unfocused (Lifestyle)
Poor behavior controls
Dark personalities and other personality models Dark personalities and the Five-Factor Model of personality The Five-Factor Model (FFM) consists of five major personality traits (domains) which exist across cultures (McCrae, Costa, Paul, & Martin, 2005). These traits (and their facets) include Extraversion (social, gregarious, assertive, active, exciting, cheerful), Agreeableness (trusting, honest, altruistic, compliant, modest, tender-minded), Conscientiousness (competent, orderly, dutiful, achievement-oriented, disciplined, plans ahead), Emotional stability, the opposite of neuroticism (calm, friendly, happy, not self-conscious, future thinking, thick-skinned/not vulnerable), and Openness to Experience
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(imaginative, artistic, emotionally deep, experimental, curious, and diverse). Gosling, Rentfrow, and Swann Jr. (2003) found that these five higher-order traits can be measured with just a few descriptions: social and extraverted, warm and agreeable, stable and calm, hardworking and conscientious, and open to new things and creative. When compared to the FFM, researchers have consistently found that those high on self-reports of Dark Triad personality traits are also low in Agreeableness (Paulhus & Williams, 2002; Vernon, Villani, Vickers, & Harris, 2008). Even though these studies did not use work-related samples, interesting differences emerged among these traits with respect to other FFM domains. For example, narcissism was positively related to Openness and Extraversion but unrelated to Conscientiousness. Psychopathy had small but positive relationships with Extraversion and Openness and a negative or zero correlation with neuroticism. Lastly, Machiavellianism and psychopathy were both negatively associated with Conscientiousness.
HEXACO model of personality and dark personalities The HEXACO model of personality (Lee & Ashton, 2004) includes the five traits associated with the FFM and adds a sixth factor, the H Factor (Honesty/ Humility). The H factor has also been studied in relation to the Dark Triad. Indeed, Lee and Ashton (2005) reported that the HEXACO model better explained the three personalities composing the Dark Triad than the FFM model. Dark Triad personalities seem to have the strongest correlation (negative) with the Honesty/Humility factor (Jonason & McCain, 2012; Lee & Ashton, 2005). Moreover, Lee et al. (2013) found that Dark Triad personalities and the H factor were stronger predictors of sex (short-term mating tendencies), power (social dominance orientation and desire for power), and money (conspicuous consumption and materialism) than FFM traits. Note that power and money (perhaps even sex) can be acquired through a high-ranking position within an organization. Researchers have tried to identify the core of the Dark Tetrad using the HEXACO model of personality (Book et al., 2016). They found that, at the core, all four Dark Tetrad personalities were explained by low Emotionality, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Honesty-Humility. Low Honesty-Humility had the largest impact in explaining all four Dark Tetrad personalities. This means that, at the core of all four dark personalities, individuals are prone to lie, manipulate, and appear boastful and conceited. Although these experts did not use Robert Hare’s model to test the core of the Dark Tetrad, their results are very similar to Dr. Jones’ “Core of Darkness” presented above.
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The rise of dark personalities (causes, developmental factors, and prevalence) There is still debate on the weight of genetic and environmental factors in explaining the three dark personalities composing the Dark Triad (the old nature vs. nurture debate). As you will see in the paragraphs to come, both are at play in explaining dark personalities. Although genetic causes are most significant in explaining the development of dark personalities, I believe that environmental causes may be key to understanding the differences between individuals who possess dark personalities and manage to thrive in the workplace from their incarcerated counterparts. In essence, the development of better social/manipulative skills, the opportunity to receive a good education, access to financial resources, and evolving in a social circle that allows business networking, and “calling-in favors” could explain, at least in part, the differences between individuals with dark personalities who end up behind bars from the ones who end up at the top of organizational charts.
Genetic and environmental factors Five-Factor Model of personality and genetic/environmental influences Personality is relatively stable over time and, as Jang, Livesley, and Vernon (1996) report, about 50% of the FFM personality traits variance is inherited. In a twin study of the genetic influence on personality traits, Vernon et al. (2008) found that the proportion of the variance in FFM traits attributable to genetic effects ranged from 0.58 to 0.72. Jang & Livesley (1999) have measured the role of genetic and environmental factors on sets of twins reared together and have come to the conclusion that both genetic and environmental factors exhibited similar patterns in terms of the relationship between FFM of personality and personality pathology but that the correlations involving genetics were larger in magnitude. However, they report that the best way to understand personality traits is to take into account both additive genetic and unique environmental effects. In order to minimize the shared environmental factors, Markon, Krueger, Bouchard Jr., and Gottesman (2002) looked at normal and abnormal personality traits of twin pairs reared apart. Results indicated that both normal and abnormal personality traits were influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, although the effect of the genetic factor seemed to be greater. In fact, Markon, Krueger, Bouchard Jr., and Gottesman (2002, p. 685) explain: “Thus to understand the etiology of abnormal personality, it becomes necessary to understand how genes generate the neural structures that underlie normal and abnormal personality, and how these structures process environmental stimuli.” In short, research on genetic/environmental causes of personality seems to indicate that genetics plays a bigger role in explaining personality than
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the environment. That being said, once a person is genetically “given” a particular personality structure, the environment plays a role in explaining individual differences in how he or she will process stimuli and how personality traits will develop and adapt to the environment. This is particularly interesting in the context of this book, in which I am addressing personalities that are both associated with criminals who are behind bars and employees who rise at the top of the corporate ladder. While both groups of individuals may have the genetic predisposition for one of the dark personalities, the differences in how dark personality traits express themselves may be different. In other words, although both could obtain an equally high overall score for psychopathy, they would present distinct profiles by scoring differently on each psychopathy factor. In fact, recently, Hare and colleagues have been using a person-centered approach. In doing so, they found different profiles of psychopathic individuals, which have added valuable new information to the study of psychopathy (See Hare, 2016 for a discussion on the subject). Few, if any, have conducted these types of analyses for the other Dart Triad personalities; however, I believe that they are crucial in understanding dark personalities who seem to thrive in certain work environments and in society in general.
Dark Triad and genetic/environmental influences Vernon et al. (2008) studied the influence of environmental and genetic factors on the three personalities composing the Dark Triad. They found that psychopathy and narcissism had a moderate to large genetic component but that the genetic factors played a smaller role in explaining Machiavellianism and that the latter was more strongly influenced by shared environmental factors. This means that, contrary to psychopathy and narcissism, Machiavellian traits are acquired by individuals over the years as a result of environmental influence. Some of the environmental factors that have been found to be risk factors for psychopathy are low family income, poor parental supervision, rearing by antisocial parents, harsh discipline, and neglect (Farrington, 2006). Parenting style has been identified as an environmental cause for narcissism as well. Indeed, among college students, those who score higher on narcissism seem to recall their parents’ having used permissive or authoritarian parenting styles (Ramsey, Watson, Biderman, & Reeves, 1996; Watson, Little, & Biderman, 1992). Million, Grossman, Million, Meagher, and Ramnath (2004) argue that narcissism stems from parents’ over-evaluation of their child’s accomplishments and behaviors and giving reinforcement that is not related to actual behavior. Hare, Neumann, and Widiger (2012) present the following conclusion in regards to the etiology of antisocial behavior, a factor included in defining psychopathy: genetic factors can explain about 50% of antisocial behavior, 20% can be explained by shared environmental factors, and 30% by factors
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specific to the individual (such as individual social and academic experiences or physical abuse). Although psychopathy factors are strongly heritable (Baker, Jacobson, Raine, Lozano, & Bezdjian, 2007), studies have shown that Antisocial and Impulsive-Irresponsible factors of psychopathy were more strongly accounted for by a common genetic factor than the GrandioseManipulative and Callous-Unemotional factors (For a review see Hare et al., 2012). This is very interesting since, as we have seen above, these two factors of psychopathy have been found to be the common denominator among all Dark Triad personalities (Dr. Jones’ “Core of Darkness”). In fact, Jones and Neria (2015) have identified the Callous-Manipulation factor as the common core of aggression for Dart Triad personalities. Therefore, it seems that the “Core of Darkness” is more strongly predicted by environmental factors than genetic factors. This would explain, in part, the difference between psychopathic individuals who are in prison and the ones who are thriving in businesses. Indeed, while both incarcerated psychopathic individuals and the ones evolving in the workplace are genetically prone to presenting antisocial and impulsive/irresponsible traits (Factors 3 and 4), the environment in which they evolve will increase or decrease their ability to act without remorse and manipulate others. Those born in wealthy families and given access to financial and educational resources may learn how to use and further develop their manipulation skills to navigate the education system, businesses, and social hierarchy. By developing these skills, they will learn that they can have access to privileges and power beyond what street or “common” criminality could ever provide, without harsh punishment, if any. These psychopathic individuals may then learn to develop and use these manipulation skills to get what they want and learn to subdue or conceal, to a certain degree, the use of the behaviors associated with impulsivity and antisocial/criminal behaviors. In an article on white-collar criminals who committed murder (thus termed red-collar criminals), Perri and Lichtenwald (2007) mention that the notion of white-collar criminals being nonviolent individuals is a myth. Rather, the authors state that “The capacity to kill without remorse was a seed inherent in the red-collar criminal that germinated when the proper conditions surfaced” (Perri & Lichtenwald, 2007, p. 21). The impulsive and antisocial (criminal) nature of psychopaths is always present; it simply expresses itself differently for individuals who are “born on the right side of the tracks” and who learn to manipulate the system by developing corporate criminal skills rather than resorting to impulsive and violent crimes. Developing interpersonal manipulation skills while channeling their impulsivity allows corporate psychopaths to stay under the radar, making them just as, if not more dangerous than psychopaths found in prison settings. Note that even corporate psychopaths are not able to keep their mask on forever and in every aspect of their lives. Sooner or later, even in the workplace, these
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individuals’ dark nature rises, oftentimes in the form of impulsive and aggressive behavior. By then, if the psychopathic individual was able to gain enough power or obtain a higher-level management position, these behaviors may be excused or brushed off. In subsequent chapters of this book, I will present more information on how, through lies and manipulation, individuals with dark personalities are able to become so powerful that, to a certain degree, they may seem untouchable and above the law.
Prevalence When working with subclinical personalities, it is not easy to evaluate their prevalence rate since Dark Triad measures are not built with a cut-off score indicating that an individual presents or not a personality disorder. Rather, subclinical personalities are viewed on a continuum of traits, indicating if an individual is high or low on the traits associated with each of the three dark personalities. Clinical measures for psychopathy and narcissism that actually indicate whether someone presents the personality disorder on a clinical level do exist. However, rarely have these clinical measures been used in workplace settings as they (1) require clinical assessment conducted by trained professionals and (2) would be considered illegal in a selection or promotion process. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I present prevalence rates for narcissism and psychopathy, all of which were calculated using clinical measures of these personality constructs. Since current measures of Machiavellianism do not include a clinical cut-off score indicating the presence or absence of the personality disorder, it is harder to measure its prevalence in different populations. The prevalence of psychopathy in the community is estimated to be less than 1% (Coid et al., 2009; Hare, 2003; Neumann & Hare, 2008) while the prevalence in correctional populations is about 15% for female offenders (Salekin, Rogers, & Sewell, 1997) and 25%e30% for male offenders (Hare, Hart, & Harpur, 1991). I know of only one study using Hare’s PCL-R, a clinical measure of psychopathy, within organizations. The authors of that study found that 3.9% of their sample composed of executives obtained a score of 30 or higher, which is the clinical cut-off score for psychopathy (Babiak, Neumann, & Hare, 2010). This last result is an indication that the prevalence of clinical psychopathy in individuals at high levels within corporations is higher than the prevalence rate found in the general population. As for narcissism, “The lifetime prevalence rate of narcissistic personality disorder is approximately 0.5e1 percent; however, the estimated prevalence in clinical settings is approximately 2e16 percent. Almost 75 percent of individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are male” (APA, DSM IV-TR 2000). A study by Stinson et al. (2008) on 34,653 noninstitutionalized adults in the United States found that the lifetime prevalence of
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narcissistic personality disorder among American adults was 6.2%, with rates greater for men (7.7%) than for women (4.8%). The prevalence rates presented above are for clinical constructs of psychopathy and narcissism. Since the present book addresses subclinical manifestations of personality disorders described by Paulhus (2014, p. 421) as “socially offensive traits falling in the normal or ‘everyday’ range,” we can hypothesize that prevalence rates for all three subclinical Dark Triad personalities would be significantly higher.
Gender differences Women score significantly lower than their male counterparts on subclinical Machiavellianism (Baughman, Dearing, Giammarco, & Vernon, 2012), psychopathy (Bolt, Hare, Vitale, & Newman, 2004; Hare, 2003), and narcissism (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998). These results seem to be replicated in corporate samples as well. In fact, I have found that, for all of my organizational samples (over 2000 employees from the public sector, private sector, nonprofit organizations), men score significantly higher than women on all three Dark Triad personalities.
Dark triad within the workplace In an article published in 2019 in the Harvard Business Review, the Dalaı¨ Lama mentions that the world is facing an emotional crisis. He states that “Rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are higher than ever. The gap between rich and poor and between CEOs and employees is at a historic high. And the focus on turning a profit often overrules a commitment to people, the environment, or society.” Robert Hare, the author of what is considered the gold-standard measure for psychopathy (Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, PCL-R; Hare, 2003), has participated in a Canadian documentary entitled “The Corporation” (a film by Achbar, Abbott, and Bakan) in which he assessed major corporations using his measure of psychopathy. He concludes that corporations are attractive to white-collar psychopaths in part because these corporations present psychopathic traits. For example, he mentions that corporations, like psychopaths, spend a lot of time and resources creating a superficial image; some corporations manipulate to influence others’ behaviors and opinions. Like psychopaths, some corporations lack empathy, remorse, put other people at risk for their own benefit (corporate goal), and fail to take responsibility for actions that may have been unethical or even criminal. The same exercise could be performed using narcissistic and Machiavellian traits, and I believe that we would come to similar conclusions. More and more, corporations are putting profit over people. These corporations hire leaders whose values and profiles match their own.
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The fact that studies report a rise in college students’ level of narcissism over the years (Twenge, Konrath, Foster, Keith Campbell, & Bushman, 2008) comes as no surprise. In fact, studies report that business students present higher scores of narcissism compared to students in other disciplines (Robak, Chiffriller, & Zappone, 2007; Westerman, Bergman, Bergman, & Daly, 2012). Westerman et al. (2010) found in their study comparing business and psychology college students that male business students had the highest scores of narcissism. Female business students scored higher on a measure of narcissism than both female and male psychology students. Similarly, Hassall, Boduszek, and Dhingra (2015) showed that business students scored higher than psychology students on all of Hare’s four factors of psychopathy. Moreover, Wilson and McCarthy (2011) report that male students scored higher on psychopathy than female students and that both male and female commerce students scored higher on psychopathy than students in other disciplines. As for Machiavellianism, a study demonstrates that business and law students seem to score higher on a Machiavellianism scale than students in a social work program (Wertheim, Widom, & Wortzel, 1978). These studies clearly indicate that individuals presenting Dark Triad personalities are attracted to the business world; this will be discussed in more detail in the next chapter. Organizations use many competencies to build their employee and management profiles during selection processes. Therefore, in the following practical section, I have created a table based on research in the literature and my own research to identify how each member of the Dark Triad would score on organizational competencies either assessed through psychometric testing or during a selection interview.
Practical knowledge: profiling dark personalities in the workplace One of the first steps in dealing with dark personalities in the workplace is understanding how each of the dark personalities is associated with traits and competencies traditionally used for employee selection and/or promotion. In this practical section, based on research in the fields of psychology and business, I have created a profile for candidates presenting dark personalities indicating how these individuals would score on each of the 50 work-related competencies listed in the profile. This will allow you to better understand how they present themselves during interviews and on traditional industrial/ organizational psychometric testing. In this book and on my website, you will find case studies presenting individuals with dark personalities at different positions in the workplace (candidate for a job, employee, manager). I have created these case studies in the hope that they will help you understand what you can expect from these individuals in terms of behavior during an interview process and once they have entered the organization.
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Creating an organizational profile for dark personalities HR professionals or industrial/organizational psychologists usually base their selection and promotion process on several competencies associated with the position they are looking to fill. In Chapter 3 of this book, I will introduce the different steps that are essential to an effective selection process, giving you practical advice and tools to use within your organization. I believe that a well-structured selection process is essential if one wishes to hire the best candidates and decrease the risks of hiring candidates with dark personalities. A good and effective selection process starts with creating a competency profile for the position that needs to be filled. In the following table, I provide information as to how candidates presenting dark personalities would score on 50 competencies used for employee selection and promotion. I have searched research databases to find links between dark personalities and workplace competencies (marked in black). I have also used my research results and made suppositions based on theory and my own professional experience when I could not find research results (marked in blue [gray in printed version]). Note that results marked in blue (gray in printed version), although based on theory, remain to be empirically tested. When the relationships between Dark Triad personalities have been tested and were found nonsignificant (no significant relationship between the dark personality and the competency), I indicated “NS” in the table. I created this table as a guide for I/O psychologists and HR personnel in charge of hiring and promotion as I believe that they must understand how dark traits may present within the workplace. Although the list may not be exhaustive, you will find that it includes most of the competencies used by I/O psychologists and HR professionals for different positions, including management positions. You will find definitions of each competency on my website, as well as examples of questions you will be able to use to measure these competencies during a selection interview (I address selection interviews and questions in Chapter 3 of this book).
Dark Triad workplace competency profile Competencies
References Muris, Merckelbach, Otgaar, and Meijer (2017), Paulhus and Williams (2002)
Muris et al. (2017), Paulhus and Williams (2002)
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Paulhus and Williams (2002)
Paulhus and Williams (2002)
Paulhus and Williams (2002)
Lee and Ashton (2005), Muris et al. (2017)
Veselka, Schermer, and Vernon (2012)
Rauthmann and Will (2011), Veselka et al. (2012)
Veselka et al. (2012)
Veselka et al. (2012)
Veselka et al. (2012)
Crysel, Crosier, and Webster (2013), Jones (2014), Veselka et al. (2012)
Veselka et al. (2012)
Paulhus and Williams (2002)
Jones and Paulhus (2011)
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Lee and Ashton (2005), Rayburn and Rayburn (1996)
Wai and Tiliopoulos (2012)
Mesko, Lang, Andrea, Szijjarto, & Bereczkei, 2014, O’Neill and Allen (2014)
Veselka, Giammarco, and Vernon (2014)
Babiak et al. (2010), Post (1986)
Jonason and Webster (2012), Jonason, Slomski, and Partyka (2012)
Babiak et al. (2010)
Petrides, Vernon, Schermer, and Veselka (2011), Watts et al. (2016)
O’Neill and Allen (2014)
Crysel et al. (2013)
Jones (2014), Jones and Paulhus (2011)
Babiak et al. (2010), Crossley, Woodworth, Black, and Hare (2016)
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Creativity and innovation
References Babiak et al. (2010), Jonason, Richardson, and Potter (2015), Spain, Harms, and Lebreton (2013) Smith and Webster (2017), Silvester, Wyatt, and Randall (2014)
Petrides et al. (2011)
Rose and Anastasio (2014) Merrill, Camacho, Laux, Thornby, and Vallbona (1993)
Tolerance for ambiguity Attention to detail
Douglas, Bore, and Munro (2012), Jonason and McCain (2012)
Need for accomplishment
Fehr, Samsom, and Paulhus (2013)
Prone to action
Glenn and Sellbom (2015), Jones and Paulhus (2011) Rauthmann and Will (2011)
Blair, Hoffman, and Helland (2008)
Blair et al. (2008), Ishikawa, Raine, Lencz, Bihrle, and Lacasse (2001), Salekin, Neumann, Leistico, and Zalot (2004)
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Rauthmann and Will (2011)
Change management Mobilizing teams
Glenn and Sellbom (2015), Rauthmann and Will (2011) Glenn and Sellbom (2015)
Prone to anger
Regulation and follow-up
Jonason and McCain (2012)
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References American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author. Babiak, P. (2016). In C. Gacono (Ed.), Psychopathic manipulation at work (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledgge/Taylor & Franciss Group. Babiak, P., Neumann, C. S., & Hare, R. D. (2010). Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28(2), 174e193. Baker, L. A., Jacobson, K. C., Raine, A., Lozano, D. I., & Bezdjian, S. (2007). Genetic and environmental bases of childhood antisocial behavior: A multi-informant twin study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116(2), 219. Baughman, H. M., Dearing, S., Giammarco, E., & Vernon, P. A. (2012). Relationships between bullying behaviours and the dark triad: A study with adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(5), 571e575. Blair, C. A., Hoffman, B. J., & Helland, K. R. (2008). Narcissism in organizations: A multisource appraisal reflects different perspectives. Human Performance, 21(3), 254e276. Bolt, D. M., Hare, R. D., Vitale, J. E., & Newman, J. P. (2004). A multigroup item response theory analysis of the psychopathy checklist-revised. Psychological Assessment, 16(2), 155. Book, A., Visser, B. A., Blais, J., Hosker-Field, A., Methot-Jones, T., Gauthier, N. Y., et al. (2016). Unpacking more “evil”: What is at the core of the dark tetrad? Personality and Individual Differences, 90, 269e272. Buckels, E. E., Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2013). Behavioral confirmation of everyday sadism. Psychological Science, 24(11), 2201e2209. Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 219. Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Campbell, S. M., & Marchisio, G. (2011). Narcissism in organizational contexts. Human Resource Management Review, 21(4), 268e284. Christie, R., & Geis, F. L. (1970). In S. S. Leon Festinger (Ed.), Studies in Machiavellianism. Cambridge, MA: Academic Press, Incorporated. Coid, J., Yang, M., Ullrich, S., Roberts, A., Moran, P., Bebbington, P., et al. (2009). Psychopathy among prisoners in England and Wales. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 32(3), 134e141. Crossley, L., Woodworth, M., Black, P. J., & Hare, R. (2016). The dark side of negotiation: Examining the outcomes of face-to-face and computer-mediated negotiations among dark personalities. Personality and Individual Differences, 91, 47e51. Crysel, L. C., Crosier, B. S., & Webster, G. D. (2013). The Dark Triad and risk behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(1), 35e40. Douglas, H., Bore, M., & Munro, D. (2012). Distinguishing the dark triad: Evidence from the fivefactor model and the Hogan development survey. Psychology, 3(3), 237e242. Farrington, D. P. (2006). Family background and psychopathy. In C. J. Patrick (Ed.), Handbook of psychopathy (pp. 229e250). The Guilford Press. Fehr, B., Samsom, D., & Paulhus, D. (2013). The construct of Machiavellianism: Twenty years later. Advances in Personality Assessment, 9, 77. Glenn, A. L., & Sellbom, M. (2015). Theoretical and empirical concerns regarding the dark triad as a construct. Journal of Personality Disorders, 29(3), 360e377.
22 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Goodboy, A. K., & Martin, M. M. (2015). The personality profile of a cyberbully: Examining the Dark Triad. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 1e4. Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (2003). A very brief measure of the Big-Five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37(6), 504e528. Hare, R. D. (2003). The psychopathy checklisterevised (Vol. 2003). Toronto, ON: MHS. Hare, R. D. (2016). Psychopathy, the PCL-R, and criminal justice: Some new findings and current issues. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 57(1), 21. Hare, R. D., Hart, S. D., & Harpur, T. J. (1991). Psychopathy and the DSM-IV criteria for antisocial personality disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100(3), 391. Hare, R. D., Neumann, C. S., & Widiger, T. A. (2012). Psychopathy. In T. A. Widiger (Ed.), Oxford library of psychology. The Oxford handbook of personality disorders (pp. 478e504). Oxford University Press. Hassall, J., Boduszek, D., & Dhingra, K. (2015). Psychopathic traits of business and psychology students and their relationship to academic success. Personality and Individual Differences, 82, 227e231. Ishikawa, S. S., Raine, A., Lencz, T., Bihrle, S., & Lacasse, L. (2001). Autonomic stress reactivity and executive functions in successful and unsuccessful criminal psychopaths from the community. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 110, 423e432. Jang, K. L., & Livesley, W. J. (1999). Why do measures of normal and disordered personality correlate? A study of genetic comorbidity. Journal of Personality Disorder, 13(1), 10e17. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi.19220.127.116.11. Jang, K., Livesley, W., & Vernon, P. (1996). The genetic basis of personality at different ages: A cross-sectional twin study. Personality and Individual Differences, 21(2), 299e301. Jonason, P. K., & McCain, J. (2012). Using the HEXACO model to test the validity of the dirty dozen measure of the dark triad. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(7), 935e938. Jonason, P. K., Richardson, E. N., & Potter, L. (2015). Self-reported creative ability and the Dark Triad traits: An exploratory study. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 9(4), 488. Jonason, P. K., Slomski, S., & Partyka, J. (2012). The Dark Triad at work: How toxic employees get their way. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(3), 449e453. Jonason, P. K., & Webster, G. D. (2012). A protean approach to social influence: Dark Triad personalities and social influence tactics. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(4), 521e526. Jones, D. N. (2014). Risk in the face of retribution: Psychopathic individuals persist in financial misbehavior among the Dark Triad. Personality and Individual Differences, 67, 109e113. Jones, D. N., & Figueredo, A. J. (2013). The core of darkness: Uncovering the heart of the Dark Triad. European Journal of Personality, 27(6), 521e531. Jones, D. N., & Neria, A. L. (2015). The Dark Triad and dispositional aggression. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 360e364. Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2009). Machiavellianism. In M. R. Leary, & R. H. Hoyles (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 93e118). The Guilford Press. Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2011). The role of impulsivity in the Dark Triad of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(5), 679e682. Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2004). Psychometric properties of the HEXACO personality inventory. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 39(2), 329e358. Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2005). Psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism in the FiveFactor Model and the HEXACO model of personality structure. Personality and Individual Differences, 38(7), 1571e1582.
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Lee, K., Ashton, M. C., Wiltshire, J., Bourdage, J. S., Visser, B. A., & Gallucci, A. (2013). Sex, power, and money: Prediction from the dark triad and honestyehumility. European Journal of Personality, 27(2), 169e184. Markon, K. E., Krueger, R. F., Bouchard, T. J., Jr., & Gottesman, I. I. (2002). Normal and abnormal personality traits: Evidence for genetic and environmental relationships in the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. Journal of Personality, 70(5), 661e694. Mathieu, C., Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2020). Psychopathy in the workplace. In F. Alan, & S. Henning (Eds.), The Wiley international handbook on psychopathic disorders and the law: volume I diagnosis and treatment (2nd ed., pp. 607e644). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. McCrae, R. R., Costa, J., Paul, T., & Martin, T. A. (2005). The NEOePIe3: A more readable revised NEO personality inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 84(3), 261e270. Merrill, J. M., Camacho, Z., Laux, L. F., Thornby, J. I., & Vallbona, C. (1993). Machiavellianism in medical students. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 305(5), 285e288. Mesko, N., Lang, A., Andrea, C., Szijjarto, L., & Bereczkei, T. (2014). Compete and compromise: Machiavellianism and conflict resolution. EJBO: Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 19(1), 14e18. Million, T., Grossman, S., Million, C., Meagher, S., & Ramnath, R. (2004). Personality disorders in modern life (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons Inc. Morf, C. C., & Rhodewalt, F. (2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A dynamic selfregulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12(4), 177e196. Muris, P., Merckelbach, H., Otgaar, H., & Meijer, E. (2017). The malevolent side of human nature: A meta-analysis and critical review of the literature on the dark triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(2), 183e204. Nathanson, C., Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2006). Predictors of a behavioral measure of scholastic cheating: Personality and competence but not demographics. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 31(1), 97e122. Neumann, C. S., & Hare, R. D. (2008). Psychopathic traits in a large community sample: Links to violence, alcohol use, and intelligence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(5), 893. Neumann, C. S., Hare, R. D., & Newman, J. P. (2007). The super-ordinate nature of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. Journal of Personality Disorders, 21(2), 102e117. Neumann, C. S., Hare, R. D., & Pardini, D. A. (2015). Antisociality and the construct of psychopathy: Data from across the globe. Journal of Personality, 83(6), 678e692. O’Neill, T. A., & Allen, N. J. (2014). Team task conflict resolution: An examination of its linkages to team personality composition and team effectiveness outcomes. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 18(2), 159. Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Toward a taxonomy of dark personalities. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(6), 421e426. Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The dark triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36(6), 556e563. Perri, F. S. (2016). Red collar crime. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 8(1), 61e84. Perri, F. S., & Lichtenwald, T. G. (2007). A proposed addition to the FBI criminal classification manual. Forensic Examiner, 16(4), 18e30. Petrides, K. V., Vernon, P. A., Schermer, J. A., & Veselka, L. (2011). Trait emotional intelligence and the dark triad traits of personality. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 14(1), 35e41. Post, J. M. (1986). Narcissism and the charismatic leader-follower relationship. Political Psychology, 675e688.
24 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Ramsey, A., Watson, P. J., Biderman, M. D., & Reeves, A. L. (1996). Self-reported narcissism and perceived parental permissiveness and authoritarianism. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 157(2), 227e238. Raskin, R., Novacek, J., & Hogan, R. (1991). Narcissistic self-esteem management. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60(6), 911. Rauthmann, J. F., & Will, T. (2011). Proposing a multidimensional Machiavellianism conceptualization. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 39(3), 391e403. Rayburn, J. M., & Rayburn, L. G. (1996). Relationship between Machiavellianism and type A personality and ethical-orientation. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(11), 1209e1219. Robak, R. W., Chiffriller, S. H., & Zappone, M. C. (2007). College students’ motivations for money and subjective well-being. Psychological Reports, 100(1), 147e156. Rose, K. C., & Anastasio, P. A. (2014). Entitlement is about ‘others’, narcissism is not: Relations to sociotropic and autonomous interpersonal styles. Personality and Individual Differences, 59, 50e53. Salekin, R. T., Neumann, C. S., Leistico, A. R., & Zalot, A. A. (2004). Psychopathy in youth and intelligence: An investigation of cleckley’s hypothesis. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 731e742. Salekin, R. T., Rogers, R., & Sewell, K. W. (1997). Construct validity of psychopathy in a female offender sample: A multitraitemultimethod evaluation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106(4), 576. Silvester, J., Wyatt, M., & Randall, R. (2014). Politician personality, Machiavellianism, and political skill as predictors of performance ratings in political roles. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(2), 258e279. Smith, M. B., & Webster, B. D. (2017). A moderated mediation model of Machiavellianism, social undermining, political skill, and supervisor-rated job performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 453e459. Spain, S. M., Harms, P., & Lebreton, J. M. (2013). The dark side of personality at work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(1), 41e60. Stinson, F. S., Dawson, D. A., Goldstein, R. B., Chou, S. P., Huang, B., Smith, S. M., & Grant, B. F. (2008). Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV narcissistic personality disorder: results from the wave 2 national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(7), 1033e1045. Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2003). “Isn’t it fun to get the respect that we’re going to deserve?” Narcissism, social rejection, and aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(2), 261e272. Twenge, J. M., Konrath, S., Foster, J. D., Keith Campbell, W., & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Egos inflating over time: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of the narcissistic personality inventory. Journal of Personality, 76(4), 875e902. Vernon, P. A., Villani, V. C., Vickers, L. C., & Harris, J. A. (2008). A behavioral genetic investigation of the Dark Triad and the Big 5. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(2), 445e452. Veselka, L., Giammarco, E. A., & Vernon, P. A. (2014). The Dark Triad and the seven deadly sins. Personality and Individual Differences, 67, 75e80. Veselka, L., Schermer, J. A., & Vernon, P. A. (2012). The Dark Triad and an expanded framework of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(4), 417e425. Wai, M., & Tiliopoulos, N. (2012). The affective and cognitive empathic nature of the dark triad of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(7), 794e799.
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Watson, P., Little, T., & Biderman, M. D. (1992). Narcissism and parenting styles. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 9(2), 231. Watts, A. L., Salekin, R. T., Harrison, N., Clark, A., Waldman, I. D., Vitacco, M. J., et al. (2016). Psychopathy: Relations with three conceptions of intelligence. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 7(3), 269. Wertheim, E. G., Widom, C. S., & Wortzel, L. H. (1978). Multivariate analysis of male and female professional career choice correlates. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63(2), 234. Westerman, J. W., Bergman, J. Z., Bergman, S. M., & Daly, J. P. (2010). Are business schools producing narcissistic employees? An empirical examination of narcissism in millennial students and its implications. In Academy of Management Proceedings (2010, vol. 1, pp. 1e6). Briarcliff Manor, NY: Academy of Management. Westerman, J. W., Bergman, J. Z., Bergman, S. M., & Daly, J. P. (2012). Are universities creating millennial narcissistic employees? An empirical examination of narcissism in business students and its implications. Journal of Management Education, 36(1), 5e32. Williams, K. M., Nathanson, C., & Paulhus, D. L. (2010). Identifying and profiling scholastic cheaters: Their personality, cognitive ability, and motivation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 16(3), 293. Wilson, M. S., & McCarthy, K. (2011). Greed is good? Student disciplinary choice and self-reported psychopathy. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(7), 873e876.
How not to attract dark personalities in your organization: dark personalities and career/ organization choice Job seekers prefer organizations that have the same “personality” as they do. Cable and Judge (1996, p. 294)
An organizations’ culture transpires in everything it does; it influences how employees and managers are hired, how they treat each other, and how business is conducted. Most importantly, organizational culture determines who is hired at all levels of the hierarchy. The values transmitted through communications and actions create the image and the brand of the organization. Businesses spend countless amounts of time and money to create and maintain that image for clients and stakeholders, sometimes forgetting that future employees are also influenced by an organization’s values. “Birds of the same feather flock together,” this simple expression usually used to describe the association between people who share the same values may also apply to employees and their organization. As I will address in this chapter, job seekers are attracted to organizations that share similar values. As will be discussed below, individuals presenting dark personalities are attracted to money, fame, and power and prefer to operate in environments where rules and regulations are not clearly defined. Power can come in different shapes and forms, making many organizations at risk for attracting and hiring dark individuals.
Money and power Narcissistic individuals fantasize about fame and power (Raskin & Novacek, 1991), see themselves as more intelligent and attractive (Gabriel, Critelli, & Ee, 1994), and are in constant search of admiration and superiority (Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001). Narcissists are attracted to celebrity (Young & Pinsky, Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00002-8 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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2006) and tasks that support their superiority over others in a competitive way (Morf, Weir, & Davidov, 2000). Rosenthal and Pittinsky (2006, p. 620) report that “narcissists in positions of power have an especially diverse assortment of means by which they can prove their potency.” In fact, not surprisingly, narcissistic (Campbell & Campbell, 2009) and psychopathic individuals (Babiak & Hare, 2019) seem to seek out leadership positions in organizations, and what better position for leadership and power than owning a business? Business magazines perpetuate the myth that entrepreneurship is an easy and sure way of gaining fame, power, and money, making entrepreneurship attractive for individuals presenting dark personalities. In fact, in a study I conducted with a colleague on the intention to start a business, we found that students who had the intention to start their own business scored higher on narcissism than students who did not wish to start their own business. Moreover, students who intended to start their own businesses scored higher on narcissism than employees and managers from a financial institution and employees and managers from a civic organization (Mathieu & St-Jean, 2013). Jonason, Wee, Li, and Jackson (2014) found that both psychopathy and narcissism were associated with enterprising vocational interests measured by items related to entrepreneurship, management, and business. Moreover, Hmieleski and Lerner (2013) found that all three Dark Triad (DT) personalities are associated with entrepreneurial intentions and report that their motives for starting a new business were destructive in nature (as a way to use others for their own gain and to receive attention and admiration). Entrepreneurship is not the only vocation that attracts individuals with dark personalities. A study by Kowalski, Vernon, and Schermer (2017) showed that narcissistic individuals are attracted by artistic, social, adventurous jobs and business settings while Machiavellian individuals showed little interest in social settings, and they found no significant relationship between Machiavellianism and business interests. Psychopathic individuals were positively interested in physical science, engineering, adventurous jobs, and business (dominant leadership, finance, sales, and law) and were negatively attracted to social vocational interests (Kowalski et al., 2017). A study on DT and occupational niches confirms these results and found psychopathy to be associated with realistic (hands-on) vocational interests such as operating machinery; narcissism to be associated with artistic (dance, play musical instruments) and social (including teaching) vocational interests; finally, they found Machiavellianism to be negatively associated with social and artistic vocational interests (Jonason et al., 2014). Hill and Yousey (1998) report that, of the occupations sampled in their study, politicians scored highest on narcissism. In fact, as presented earlier, narcissists seem to seek out leadership positions in organizations (Campbell & Campbell, 2009). Furthermore, as mentioned in Chapter 1, Babiak et al. (2010) report that 3.9% of their sample of higher managers scored above the common clinical threshold for psychopathy using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised
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(Hare, 2003); keep in mind that the prevalence for psychopathy in the general population is about 1%. Fehr, Samsom, and Paulhus (1992) report that individuals high on Machiavellianism tend to choose business-related careers and stay away from helping professions; if they are present in a “helping profession” such as medicine, it would not be for altruistic motives. In fact, Merrill, Camacho, Laux, Thornby, and Vallbona (1993) found that medical students high on Machiavellianism relied excessively on high-tech medicine and were authoritarian, intolerant of ambiguity, and showed indifference to patients and their problems. Thus, as is the case for their relationships, individuals presenting dark personalities view their career as merely a means to get greater personal power, money, and success. Furthermore, it appears as though the traits characterizing individuals presenting dark personalities guide their career choice preference. Indeed, individuals presenting dark personalities are attracted to more agentic work domains, which provide money, power, and status, than to communal domains centered on caring and taking care of others.
Personeorganization fit theory Career choice theory (Holland, 1997) and personeenvironment fit theory (Judge & Kristof-Brown, 2004) stipulate that individuals chose careers and work environments that best fit their values, needs, and personality. Judge and Bretz (1992) found that perceived agreement between a job seeker’s values and the values put forward by the organization influences organizational attractiveness. Cable and Judge (1996) report that job seekers’ persone organization fit perceptions are predicted by the agreement between their values and their perception of the recruiting organization’s values rather than by demographic similarities between themselves and the organizational representatives. Furthermore, personeorganization fit predicts job seekers’ job satisfaction, turnover intentions, willingness to recommend the organization to others, and organizational commitment once they are employed by the company (Cable & Judge, 1996). The question is: what type of organizational environment attracts individuals with dark personalities?
What they are looking for in an organization Let us consider the competency profile presented in Chapter 1 to understand better what individuals with dark personalities are looking for in an organization. As mentioned above, individuals presenting DT personalities are attracted by power and money. Coupled with the fact that they present a very low sense of ethics, a high propensity for risk-taking and impulsivity, and low scores on integrity and attention to details, they will likely find it easier to evolve in an environment where rules are not clearly laid out and, more importantly, where consequences for negative behavior are not implemented. In fast-changing environments where management turnover is frequent, it is
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difficult to keep track of employees’ and managers’ actions. As it will be discussed in the following chapters, individuals with dark personality traits are more likely to commit fraud, use abusive leadership behaviors, perpetrate harassment and incivility behaviors, and display poor work performance. In order to reach their self-serving goals, individuals with dark personality traits need to operate in an environment that gives them freedom and access to resources while maintaining low organizational structure and control. Such an environment includes: 1. An organizational culture that favors profit over and above employee wellbeing. 2. Unstructured or politically driven employee and management selection process. 3. Leadership selection that does not take into account people-oriented skills. 4. Ineffective performance appraisal system. 5. Absence of policies and programs for harassment, incivility, and other workplace misbehaviors. 6. Absence of anti-fraud mechanisms. 7. Absence of clear organizational rules, structures, and procedures to support management and HR in dealing with employees who perpetrate wrongful behaviors. 8. Absence of organizational support for employees or managers who wish to report wrongful behavior (which makes employees and managers feel unsafe). 9. An organizational culture that tolerates negative interpersonal behavior. 10. A top-down communication approach where employees are not given the opportunity to be heard (which leads invariably to a lack of trust toward management). Note that the first element on the list is organizational culture as it determines communication, hiring processes, how employees are treated, acceptable interpersonal behaviors, rules and regulations, and the extent to which these rules and regulations are applied and followed. All of the elements on the list will be addressed in detail in the upcoming chapters of this book. Individuals presenting dark personalities enter and get promoted more easily if the selection and promotion processes are not optimal. Moreover, without mechanisms and regulations that protect employees against negative interpersonal behaviors, individuals presenting dark personalities will be able to operate within organizations without suffering any consequences. In sum, individuals with dark personalities will choose organizations that will allow them to operate as they please with minimal risk of negative consequences. Furthermore, they will be attracted to organizations that favor profit over people and/or lack organizational control systems or the courage to prosecute employees for wrongdoing.
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The importance of job postings Job postings are the window to an organization’s values and culture. Far from being a simple document describing the job and the ideal candidate, the information included in a job posting is often the first contact candidates have with the organization. Similar to what you would find on dating site profiles, job postings are part of the first impression organizations make on potential candidates. Candidates assess the organization based on the job posting and establish whether they want to contact the organization by assessing the fit between who they are, what they want, and what the job posting seems to offer/promise. Needless to say, companies need to create attractive job postings; however, they also need to attract the right candidates. I remember having been in contact with a company that had problems with recruiting managers. They mentioned receiving close to 1000 resumes every time they posted for a job but often ended up not hiring any of the candidates because none fit the profile they were looking for. While getting a large number of applicants for a position might, at first glance, lead one to believe that the selection process is a success, professionals in charge of recruitment soon realize that it is very timeconsuming to have to go through a large number of applications. In the situation mentioned above, the job posting was so general and vague that it attracted a large number of candidates, most of whom did not fit the profile that HR had identified for the job. On the other hand, I have also seen job postings that did not do the position or the organization justice; therefore, driving away potentially good candidates who decided to apply elsewhere. In Canada, we are facing a never before seen shortage of employees. The times where employees felt lucky to be invited for an interview are long gone. A new generation of employees is coming in; they were born in an era where everything was fast-paced and not used to compromise. Being in a period in which there is a shortage of employees, chances are that if candidates are educated and show even a tiny hint of talent, they will have the opportunity to choose the position they want at the company they want. They will even be able to negotiate their conditions. An HR professional working for a government agency recently told me that newly hired employees are often extremely qualified in terms of both education level and skills but more and more leave after the first few months at their new position. During the course of departure interviews in which HR professionals inquire about the reasons for leaving the company, employees often mention not being used at their full potential, not liking how their superior is treating them, and a bad fit between their skills/aspirations, the work environment (organizational culture) and the job itself. This comes as a shock to many managers and HR professionals since until recently, a job with the government was associated with “making it big” as it provides employees with stability and great benefits, including a generous pension plan. However, nowadays, large
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private corporations, like tech companies, detain much power and are growing globally. These new companies can attract the world’s best talents by offering flexible work environments, interesting challenges, and cool workplaces. Think of campus-type workplaces where employees can eat free healthy food at one of many cafeterias, use the company gym, consult with on-site physicians, have access to on-site daycare for their kids, and ride a company bike to go from one building to another for meetings. Additionally, more and more companies are hiring employees who work remotely, attracting talents from all over the world and allowing employees more flexibility and the opportunity to live where they want. Most companies cannot compete with all of these advantages; however, the shortage of talented candidates will force organizations to make changes to retain and attract talented individuals. When resources are scarce, companies invest money and time in putting forward new and more effective methods to attract employees. However, many organizations forget to invest in a key element: taking care of employees who are already working for them to reduce the risk of employee turnover.
The power is shifting It now seems that the old adage “employees are lucky to have a job with us” should change to “we are lucky to have talented employees working with us.” This shift is more significant than just a catchy phrase; it entails an entire culture shift for organizations. It also entails a power shift. While in the previous mentality, management had most of the power; now, employees hold power over management by being a rare asset and offering indispensable skills. An organization’s culture is created and transmitted by its leaders. Therefore, managers need to not only understand the organizational culture but they also need to act as role models and fully embody, through their decisions and actions, the values on which the culture is based. In a culture of “employees are lucky to work for us,” management behaviors may not be geared toward employee well-being; rather, they are geared toward meeting goals at all costs and increasing profit or productivity. These behaviors are likely to attract and be adopted by employees and managers with dark personalities. However, in a culture of “we are lucky that these employees are working with us,” managers need to implement recognition programs, listen to employees, understand employees’ needs, offer support and create a healthy work environment. All of these behaviors require the presence of competencies for which, as seen in Chapter 1, individuals with dark personalities tend to score very low. This new reality creates the necessity to change the way organizations define leadership, and it forces organizations to revise leadership competency profiles used to select managers. While a shortage of talented employees can be beneficial (allowing good employees to voice their needs and be heard), this power shift also benefits employees looking for more power and personal gain.
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Sometimes, fear of losing employees, especially ones occupying key positions within the organization, causes higher management or HR to turn a blind eye on employee or managerial misbehavior. Furthermore, difficulty in recruiting new resources may result in selection processes being expedited. This inevitably means that candidates who can impress during an interview may be more likely to be hired without HR taking time to conduct a thorough selection process, which usually includes a structured interview, psychometric testing, and reference check (see Chapter 3 for details on selection processes). This reality makes it all the more important to create job postings that do not attract individuals with dark personalities. In the practice section at the end of this chapter, I will address elements that should be included in a job posting in order to reduce the risk of attracting candidates with dark personalities.
A note on walking the talk While I will address what to include in job postings to reduce the chances of attracting individuals presenting dark personalities and increase the chances of hiring candidates that will positively impact the organization, I do not encourage false advertising. What I mean is that organizations mustn’t just project an image of their values and culture. If an organization projects an image of a healthy organizational culture to attract employees, it will need to walk the talk once employees are hired. If organizations do not live up to the image they project when hiring new employees, any energy invested in attracting, hiring, and training good candidates will be lost as these candidates will eventually see through the lies and leave the company. Indeed, it will not take long for employees to realize that organizational values advertised in the job posting and during the selection interview are not a priority and that, while the organization may say that it takes care of its employees, it lacks the courage and integrity to move from words to deeds. “Actions speak louder than words” has always been one of my favorite sayings; in this case, to deal with dark personalities in the workplace, organizations need to take action by creating a healthy and safe workplace. As we will see in Chapter 8, this takes courage and determination, and it means hiring leaders who are ready to do what it takes to make sure that employees’ well-being is a priority.
Changing an organizational culture Changing an organizational culture is not an easy task, and it cannot be achieved in a short period of time. Levasseur (2010) presents an innovative theoretical model based on five fundamental rules to follow in order to succeed in managing change within organizations:
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1. Implementation begins on Day 1: Getting employees involved at the beginning of the process and using a systemic, inclusive approach to change instead of using a « Top-down » one-way communication approach. 2. People support what they help create: Involving employees affected by the change in the process as early and as often as possible to reduce their resistance to change. 3. Two-way communication is essential: Regular, honest two-way communication is essential at every level. Putting in place a meaningful dialog between project leaders and stakeholders about the vision, reason, and scope of the proposed change. Allowing employees to communicate and be ready to listen to what they have to say about the change sends a message that their ideas and feelings are important and considered. 4. Attendance is not agreement: Employees’ attendance at meetings is often mandatory and does not mean that they agree or are on board with the change. Assigning tasks to employees has a negative impact on commitment. Instead, Levasseur suggests that leaders present the tasks and ask for volunteers; that way, employees will feel more committed and feel empowered to complete the task. 5. Collaboration is key: Collaboration is the key fundamental principle in successfully achieving change within an organization. Empowering employees and implementing two-way communication will increase the chances of success when managing organizational change. Although these steps were meant for managing organizational change, I believe that they can also be applied to organizational culture change. However, as an organization’s culture is similar to its personality, the changes have to be profound. They should be based on the answers to the following questions: Why has the organization been created? What purpose should it serve? How can it best serve this purpose and thrive while making sure that employees are also able to thrive within this culture? Before setting goals for organizational culture change, leaders should first understand: What is the purpose of the existing organizational culture (who does it serve)? On what basis or need was it constructed? What needs to be changed? I always tell individuals who want to change their behaviors “you need to understand what purpose your behaviors are serving, and what the advantages of using these behaviors are.” Even when the behaviors seem to hurt the individual, such as compulsions, avoiding public spaces, or starving oneself, what purpose do these behaviors serve? They serve either as an immediate benefit or as a way to avoid negative consequences or feelings. I believe the same is true when wanting to change an organizational culture. The current organizational culture is in place for a reason, and leaders need to understand why. Is it aligned with a mission? Is it more aligned with investors’ or stakeholders’ goals? Or is it aligned with leaders’ need for power? Without taking into account the benefits of keeping the culture as is and, perhaps more
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importantly, who benefits from keeping the current culture in place, any effort at changing the organizational culture will fail. Unfortunately, chances are that the individuals who benefit from keeping the culture as it stands are the same individuals who have the power to change the organizational culture. If these individuals are unwilling to lose whatever benefit they may gain by maintaining the culture as it is, or if they do not see the long-term negative impact of keeping the current culture, it will remain the same despite any effort to change it.
What is your organization’s personality? Measuring organizational culture As mentioned above, organizational culture will determine what type of candidates an organization will attract. Throughout this book and in Chapter 9, I present factors that constitute a positive, safe, and healthy organizational culture. In a way, an organization’s culture represents its personality profile. Since individuals are attracted to organizations that fit their personality profiles and values, I thought it would be helpful to present the Organizational Culture Profile (OCP; O’Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991) to help organizations get a sense of who they are. Next, I used the workplace competency profile for dark personalities presented in Chapter 1 and presented how dark personalities would score on each of the OCP elements. This last step will allow organizations to compare their OCP with the personality profiles of individuals presenting dark personalities. Although it might be of interest for research purposes, I did not distinguish between each of the three dark personalities for this exercise. I gave a general orientation of how individuals with dark personalities might score. My goal here is to help organizations get a general sense of how their organizational culture may attract candidates with dark personalities. For a workplace competency profile that distinguishes between the three DT personalities, see the table at the end of Chapter 1.
Practice The Organizational Culture Profile The OCP was developed to measure personeorganization fit or the fit between an organization’s culture profile and individuals’ personality profiles (O’Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991). The OCP contains 33 value statements that can generically capture both individual and organizational values/ competencies. These 33 statements can be grouped into eight factors characterizing an organization’s culture: Factor 1 ¼ Innovation and risktaking, Factor 2 ¼ Attention to detail, Factor 3 ¼ Orientation toward
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outcomes or results, Factor 4 ¼ Aggressiveness and competitiveness, Factor 5 ¼ Supportiveness, Factor 6 ¼ Emphasis on growth and rewards, Factor 7 ¼ Team orientation, and Factor 8 ¼ Decisiveness. For the last factor, based on the authors’ results and elements composing the factor, I believe that decisiveness relates to good decision-making rather than making a decision rapidly or impulsively. Therefore, for the purpose of this chapter, I changed the name of the factor to “good decision-making.” The reason for this is that, as an I/O psychologist, I often see selection processes including “decisiveness,” and I always stress the importance of differentiating between good decision-making and decisiveness. In the first instance, individuals take the time to measure consequences and collect as much information as possible to make the best decision for the organization and employees. On the other hand, individuals high on decisiveness are able to make quick decisions based on the information they have and may not take the time to pounder all of the information and consider consequences before making a decision. Both aspects are essential for a leadership position. However, I often see individuals who are either high on one or the other, meaning that, while individuals who are highly conscientious, detail-oriented, and afraid to make mistakes will often have a hard time taking a stance, individuals who are more impulsive and prone to risk-taking behaviors will make fast decisions without considering all the facts and the consequences. Since factor 8 includes decisiveness but also predictability and low level of conflict, I have decided to change the name of the factor to Good decision-making which, represents the ability to make a decision in a timely matter but also includes predictability and respect for others as measured by low levels of conflict. Within the OCP, the authors have indicated the traits or competencies composing each of the eight factors and whether these traits are positively or negatively associated with the factor. In other words, in Table 2.1, you will not only find the competencies composing each factor, but you will also find how each competency relates to the factor. For example, if you look at factor 7 (team orientation), you will find three competencies composing the factor: autonomy, team-oriented, and collaboration, each with a “þ” or a “e” sign next to it. These signs indicate whether the organization’s or a candidate’s score needs to be high or low on each competency to score high on the factor. For instance, in order for a candidate or an organization to score high on the team orientation factor, they would need to score high on team orientation and collaboration, and low on autonomy. Individuals who score high on the aggressiveness and competitiveness factor would need to score high on opportunity, aggressive, and competitive and low on socially responsible. If, for instance, a candidate or organization scores “average” on one competency instead of strong or low as is proposed by the authors, it will mean that the factor score will be lower. Some individuals or organizations will score “average” on these factors. For this practice section, the goal is to give you a
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TABLE 2.1 Factors and competencies of the organizational culture profile. Factors
Factor 1 Innovation and risk-taking
Stability () Being innovative (þ) A willingness to experiment (þ) Risk-taking (þ) Being careful () Being rule-oriented () Security of employment () Being highly organized ()
Factor 2 Attention to details
Being analytical (þ) Paying attention to detail (þ) Being precise (þ)
Factor 3 Orientation toward outcomes or results
Being calm () Achievement-oriented (þ) Being demanding (þ) Having high expectations for performance (þ) Being result-oriented (þ)
Factor 4 Aggressiveness and competitiveness
Being quick to take advantage of opportunities (þ) Being aggressive (þ) Being socially responsible () Being competitive (þ)
Factor 5 Supportiveness
Sharing information freely (þ) Being supportive (þ) Offers praise for good performance (þ) Working long hours ()
Factor 6 Emphasis on growth and rewards
Opportunities for professional growth (þ) High pay for good performance (þ) Fitting in (þ)
Factor 7 Team orientation
Autonomy () Being team-oriented (þ) Working in collaboration with others (þ) Continued
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TABLE 2.1 Factors and competencies of the organizational culture profile.dcont’d Factors
Factor 8 Quality decision-making
Predictability (þ) Quality decision-making (þ) Low level of conflict (þ)
general sense of how your organization scores on each factor. Note that this is not exactly how the authors score the measure for research purposes (see O’Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991). Nevertheless, I believe that their measure is extremely interesting and that simplifying the scoring method to give organizations a simple portrait of who they are, makes the measure more accessible for organizations to use. Note that some studies use the measure with Likert-type scales ranging from 1 to 5 (See Sarros, Gray, Densten, & Cooper, 2005). You could also use a scale from 1 to 3 (1 ¼ low, 2 ¼ average, and 3 ¼ high). I personally prefer 5-point scales as it allows for more nuance (1 ¼ very low, 2 ¼ low, 3 ¼ average, 4 ¼ somewhat high, 5 ¼ very high). You would then score each competency and, by adding the scores obtained for the competencies composing a factor, you would have a score for each of the 8 factors. For example, by scoring each of the 8 competencies included in factor 1 on a scale from 1 to 5, you would obtain a score for factor 1. If each competency can get a maximum score of 5, and there are 8 competencies, this means that the highest possible score for factor 1 is 40 (5 8 ¼ 40). For the competencies marked with a “()”, you will need to reverse the scoring. What this means is that, if you take factor 1, for example, “Innovation and Risktaking,” to score high on that factor, individuals or organizations have to be high on being innovative, being willing to experiment, and risk-taking competencies, but they need to be low on stability, being careful, being rule-oriented, security of employment, and being highly organized. This means that every time you see a “()” sign next to a competency, you need to reverse your scoring. For example, if you are using a 5-point scale, 1 becomes 5, 2 becomes 4, 3 remains 3, 4 becomes 2, and 5 becomes 1. By doing so, individuals or organizations who score low on these competencies will score high on the factor, which is what we want. We will discuss scoring competencies in more detail in Chapter 3. Table 2.1 presents factors and competencies from the OCP. In Appendix 1, you will find a table in which you will be able to compare your company’s results on the OCP with how individuals with dark personalities would score on each of the competencies and factors from the OCP. This will allow you to identify red flags. I also have created Table 2.2 to show how individuals with
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TABLE 2.2 Dark personalities and culture profile factor. Factors
Factor 1 Innovation and risk-taking Factor 2 Attention to details Factor 3 Orientation toward outcomes or results Factor 4 Aggressiveness and competitiveness Factor 5 Supportiveness Factor 6 Emphasis on growth and rewards Factor 7 Team orientation Factor 8 Quality decision-making
dark personalities would score on each of the 8 factors from the OCP based on how they would score on each competency (see Table in Appendix 1 for information on how dark personalities would score on OCP competencies). Another, more personal, way to use the following table, especially if you are a student or an employee looking for a new job, would be to score yourself on each competency and then on each of the eight factors to get a personal profile that could help you chose the company you wish to work for in the future. Creating a job posting that minimizes the chances of attracting candidates with dark personalities There are two negative consequences to a job posting that is not optimal: 1. It can drive away good candidates. 2. It can attract the wrong candidates. Here are the elements that should be included in job postings: 1. Brief description of the company’s mission and values An effective job posting should include a brief description of the company, its mission, and its values. The mission is the “raison d’eˆtre” or purpose. Here, it should be more about why the company or organization exists and not what it does. Then follows who the organization is, which means its values and
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culture. Here, to reduce the risk of attracting dark personalities, organizations need to put forward people-first values and the fact that the organization has processes in place to ensure that these values are respected. Next, how the mission is accomplished, this portion of the description is dedicated to how the organization can realize its mission, i.e., types of services or products offered. Finally, this brief description should include why candidates should apply (i.e., the advantages of working for the company). This last piece of information is where companies present incentives, rewards, and other benefits of working for the company. In this section, technology can be used to present the organization. For example, adding a link to a short video that shows employees explaining why they like working for the company would have a stronger impact on future candidates than simply writing these advantages in the job posting. 2. Point-form brief information on the position Job postings should also include information like the title of the position, office location, work hours, salary, benefits, and other work conditions. 3. Brief description of the main responsibilities and ideal candidate The job posting should include a brief description of the tasks and responsibilities associated with the position, followed by a few sentences describing what the organization is looking for in candidates. In this section, organizations present the values candidates should have (ethics, respect, social responsibility, openness to others). Specific competencies for the position will be presented in a subsequent section of the job posting. 4. List of qualifications and technical skills In this section, organizations should list education, experience and specific technical skills, and other requirements. 5. List of competencies Oftentimes, I see qualifications and competencies combined in the same section. I like to separate them. In this section, organizations present a number of competencies associated with the position. For examples of competencies, see the competency table at the end of Chapter 1 (a list and definition for each competency can also be found on my website). In Chapter 3, we will discuss how to create a competency profile based on a job description. In this section, organizations can present 5e6 essential competencies from their larger profile. It is preferable at this point not to reveal the entire profile; the objective here is to provide candidates with a number of essential competencies for the position. 6. Instructions on how to apply and the deadline for application This last section is self-explanatory. Make sure to include the documents you wish to receive (CV, letters of recommendations, etc.), how candidates can
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share these documents with your organization, the deadline for application and contact information for candidates who may have questions before applying for the position. Practice writing job postings for three positions: sales representative, office manager, and administrative assistant. You can search the internet to find job description templates. You will find a list of websites that offer free job description templates for a wide variety of positions and different types of industries on my website. There are multitudes of sites that can help with writing job descriptions. The important element here is that, even though using generic job descriptions may be helpful; it is important that the descriptions represent tasks related to the position and that the job posting reflects your organization’s reality and culture. Try to incorporate the notions on culture profile presented in Tables 2.1 and 2.2 to avoid as much as possible attracting candidates with dark personalities. As will be seen in Chapter 3, competencies are chosen based on the tasks, organizational culture, team culture, and other important elements associated with the position that may necessitate specific personal or interpersonal skills.
References Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2019). Snakes in suits: Understanding and surviving the psychopaths in your office. New York: Harper Collins. Babiak, P., Neumann, C. S., & Hare, R. D. (2010). Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk. Behavioral Sciences and The Law, 28(2), 174e193. Cable, D. M., & Judge, T. A. (1996). Personeorganization fit, job choice decisions, and organizational entry. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 67(3), 294e311. Campbell, W. K., & Campbell, S. M. (2009). On the self-regulatory dynamics created by the peculiar benefits and costs of narcissism: A contextual reinforcement model and examination of leadership. Self and Identity, 8(2e3), 214e232. Fehr, B., Samsom, D., & Paulhus, D. L. (1992). The construct of machiavellianism: Twenty years later. In C. D. Spielberger, & J. N. Butcher (Eds.), Advancement in personality assessment (Vol. 9, pp. 77e116). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Gabriel, M. T., Critelli, J. W., & Ee, J. S. (1994). Narcissistic illusions in self-evaluations of intelligence and attractiveness. Journal of Personality, 62(1), 143e155. Hare, R. D. (2003). The psychopathy checklisteRevised (Vol. 2003). Toronto, ON: MHS. Hill, R. W., & Yousey, G. P. (1998). Adaptive and maladaptive narcissism among university faculty, clergy, politicians, and librarians. Current Psychology, 17(2e3), 163e169. Hmieleski, K. M., & Lerner, D. A. (2013). The dark triad: Narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism as predictors of entrepreneurial entry (summary). Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 33(4), 6. Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments. Psychological Assessment Resources. Jonason, P. K., Wee, S., Li, N. P., & Jackson, C. (2014). Occupational niches and the dark triad traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 69, 119e123. Judge, T. A., & Bretz, R. D. (1992). Effects of work values on job choice decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(3), 261.
42 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Judge, T. A., & Kristof-Brown, A. (2004). Personality, interactional psychology, and persone organization fit. In Personality and organizations (pp. 111e134). Psychology Press. Kowalski, C. M., Vernon, P. A., & Schermer, J. A. (2017). Vocational interests and dark personality: Are there dark career choices? Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 43e47. Levasseur, R. E. (2010). People skills: Ensuring project successda change management perspective. Interfaces, 40(2), 159e162. Mathieu, C., & St-Jean, E´. (2013). Entrepreneurial personality: The role of narcissism. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(5), 527e531. Merrill, J. M., Camacho, Z., Laux, L. F., Thornby, J. I., & Vallbona, C. (1993). Machiavellianism in medical students. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 305(5), 285e288. Morf, C. C., & Rhodewalt, F. (2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A dynamic selfregulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12(4), 177e196. Morf, C. C., Weir, C., & Davidov, M. (2000). Narcissism and intrinsic motivation: The role of goal congruence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36(4), 424e438. O’Reilly, C. A., III, Chatman, J., & Caldwell, D. F. (1991). People and organizational culture: A profile comparison approach to assessing person-organization fit. Academy of Management Journal, 34(3), 487e516. Raskin, R., & Novacek, J. (1991). Narcissism and the use of fantasy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47(4), 490e499. Rosenthal, S. A., & Pittinsky, T. L. (2006). Narcissistic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 617e633. Sarros, J. C., Gray, J., Densten, I. L., & Cooper, B. (2005). The organizational culture profile revisited and revised: An Australian perspective. Australian Journal of Management, 30(1), 159e182. Young, S. M., & Pinsky, D. (2006). Narcissism and celebrity. Journal of Research in Personality, 40(5), 463e471.
Employee selection: all that glitters is not gold All that glitters is not gold; Often have you heard that told: Many a man his life hath sold But my outside to behold: Gilded tombs do worms enfold. Had you been as wise as bold, Young in limbs, in judgment old, Your answer had not been inscroll’d: Fare you well; your suit is cold. William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 1596
Have you ever heard of fools’ gold? A metal that looks almost exactly like gold in terms of color and luster; a near-perfect imitation of the valuable mineral that often had gold diggers fooled as they mistook it for the real thing. Fools’ gold is actually a metal called pyrite. Although both minerals shine bright, contrary to real gold, pyrite can tarnish with time. I think this is the perfect analogy for this chapter on impression management (IM) tactics used by individuals presenting dark personalities in order to make them look like ideal candidates. I believe that candidates with dark personalities may look like “golden candidates,” but, like pyrite, the shine will tarnish with time when colleagues and employees get to see what lies beneath their shiny appearance. In this chapter, we will see how, once they have chosen a company, candidates with dark personalities manage to rise above the wave and position themselves as superior to other candidates during selection interviews.
Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00003-X Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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The selection process In a meta-analysis on the validity of employment interviews, McDaniel, Whetzel, Schmidt, and Maurer (1994) reported that structured interviews had greater validity than unstructured interviews. Moreover, research indicates that structured interviews increase the reliability and validity of interviewer evaluations (Posthuma, Morgeson, & Campion, 2002). Nevertheless, while structured interviews seem more valid than unstructured interviews, even in a structured process, interviewer judgment can still be influenced by applicants’ behaviors and characteristics (Macan, 2009). In fact, researchers have found that an interviewer’s subjective impressions of the candidate have more impact on the interviewer’s opinion than the candidate’s paper credentials (Rynes & Gerhart, 1990). As mentioned by Babiak (2016, p. 361) “All too often, an accurate evaluation of a candidate’s competence is confounded by the individual’s ability to convince the interviewer he or she knows what he or she is talking aboutda skill easily demonstrated by psychopaths.” One way for applicants to influence interviewers’ evaluation is by using impression management (IM) tactics.
Impression management Research indicates that interviewers’ evaluation of candidates during a selection process is positively influenced by applicants’ use of impression management (IM) tactics (Ellis, West, Ryan, & DeShon, 2002; Higgins & Judge, 2004). Leary and Kowalski (1990, p. 34) define IM as “the process by which individuals attempt to control the impressions others form of them.” IM can take the following forms: verbal and nonverbal behaviors, modification of one’s physical appearance, and integrated behavior patterns (e.g., favor rendering). Thus, a candidate can influence interviewers by what he/she says, by how he/she says it, by what he/she does, and by presenting a positive appearance (expensive clothes, jewelry). Furthermore, in a study comparing the effects of applicants’ verbal and nonverbal behaviors on interviewer ratings, Barrick, Shaffer, and DeGrassi (2009) found a stronger effect for nonverbal behavior than for verbal behavior; moreover, they found a stronger effect for physical attractiveness over professional appearance on interviewer ratings. Essentially, these results indicate that, for selection interviews, style has a stronger effect than substance. McCarthy and Goffin (2004) found that candidates who were anxious during an interview did not perform as well as less anxious candidates. Taken together, it seems that a candidate who displays favorable verbal and nonverbal behavior, is attractive, complements the interviewer, and shows no signs of anxiety is more likely to get higher interview ratings. Note that the latter elements depict traits and behaviors associated with dark personalities.
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In fact, Paulhus and Williams (2002) found a significant positive correlation between high levels of nonverbal IQ, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Nonverbal IQ relates to the ability to make sense of, analyze a situation, and react without using words. Individuals who score high on nonverbal intelligence use cues in the environment to analyze and understand situations. The authors concluded that although the implications of these results are unclear, one hypothesis is that high levels of nonverbal IQ in psychopathy and Machiavellianism could be associated with malevolent interpersonal strategies. This suggests that psychopaths and Machiavellians are very good at using cues from the environment to analyze and understand situations and may use this information to manipulate others. In a selection interview context, this may include “scanning” the environment for personal information on the interviewer to increase the impact of their IM tactics. For example, personal items such as family portraits, sports memorabilia, gym bag, and other elements that may indicate personal information or preferences may be used by candidates to manipulate the interviewer. I always tell my students to conduct interviews in neutral settings, such as a conference room. The following sections address different forms of verbal and nonverbal IM tactics bias in a selection context.
Verbal impression management tactics Stevens and Kristof (1995) classified verbal IM tactics as assertive (proactive image construction) or defensive (reactive image repair). Assertive tactics can take the form of ingratiation (other-enhancement and opinion conformity). For example, during the course of a selection interview, the candidate can praise the interviewer (other-enhancement) or express values similar to those of the interviewer or the organization (opinion conformity). Another form of assertive tactics is self-promotion (positive self-descriptions using, for example, entitlement and enhancement) (Stevens & Kristof, 1995). In the context of a selection interview, candidates are more likely to use assertive tactics than defensive tactics, unless the interviewer asks questions about past negative performance or other negative behaviors that would put the candidate in a position to use defensive tactics. Defensive IM tactics would more likely be used during performance appraisal meetings or promotion interviews, where the candidate is in need of image repair. Indeed, research indicates that in a selection interview context, candidates use significantly more assertive tactics than defensive tactics and tend to use self-promotion rather than ingratiation (Ellis et al., 2002). Ellis et al. (2002) took it a step further. They found that applicants used significantly more ingratiation tactics when answering situational questions (placing the applicant in an imaginary job-related situation) and significantly more self-promotion tactics when answering experience-based questions (asking about previous work or life experiences). In other words, when
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applicants are asked to respond to a job-related situation, they will use organizational cues to try to show the interviewer that they are a good fit (ingratiation). However, if asked a question for which applicants can choose a situation from their past to provide the information, they tend to, for instance, claim responsibility for positive events or enhance the value of a positive event (self-promotion). Both methods seem to work as research indicates that both self-promotion and ingratiation tactics have a positive effect on interviewers’ assessment of candidates (Stevens & Kristof, 1995). The choice to use one technique or the other may also depend on the position sought by candidates. Blasberg, Rogers, and Paulhus (2014) built a measure of IM that they call the Bidirectional Impression Management Index. They propose an IM measure that considers two dimensions of faking: agentic (exaggerating one’s intellectual and/or social abilities) and communal (exaggerating generosity or virtuous behaviors). They found that individuals in a simulation who thought that they were filling out the measure for an agentic position (detective, stockbroker) scored higher on the agentic IM tactics than on the communal IM tactics scale, while individuals who thought they were applying for a communal position (childcare, nonprofit position) scored higher on communal IM tactics than on agentic IM tactics. They also found that narcissistic and psychopathic individuals used more agentic IM tactics, and that psychopathic individuals used less communal IM tactics. Although these results were associated with a self-report measure, they may apply to verbal tactics used during selection interview processes. These results indicate that, in a selection context, candidates with dark personalities tend to use more IM tactics geared towards task-related skills rather than people-related skills. Moreover, the results indicate that psychopathic individuals may be less likely to use IM tactics associated with people-oriented skills in a selection context. These results are very interesting for employee selection as well as promotion as they provide information on how individuals presenting dark personalities manage to surpass other candidates in a job interview context. In previous chapters, we have learned that individuals presenting dark personalities choose their spouses and are attracted to certain types of professions for agentic reasons more than for communal reasons. In this chapter, not surprisingly, we learn that they also tend to put forward, when faking, agentic characteristics or skills rather than communal skills. The implications of these results for leader selection will be addressed in Chapter 5. Whether a company is hiring at an entry-level position or a management position, if the selection process and interview rely heavily on task-oriented skills, candidates presenting dark personalities will have an advantage over other candidates by using IM tactics to highlight their task-oriented skills. Bourdage, Wiltshire, and Lee (2015) have found that employees low on HEXACO’s Honesty-Humility factor use more IM tactics in the workplace. Recall that, earlier in this book, we discussed that all three dark personalities
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score low on the Honesty-Humility factor. If, however, people-oriented skills such as listening, empathy, and collaboration are added to the selection process, not only are candidates with dark personalities likely to score low on these competencies, they will also not be likely to use IM tactics to embellish these skills. In Chapter 1, I addressed the fact that individuals presenting dark personalities are driven by agentic motivations (status, money, power) rather than communal motivations (caring, meaningful relationships). In Chapter 2, I mentioned that dark personalities are more attracted to agentic than communal careers (i.e., careers that bring them money and power over careers geared towards helping others). It seems that these values also affect how these individuals present themselves during an interview process. They are more likely to showcase and embellish their task-related skills and goal-orientation than their people skills as this is not only what they think the hiring committee wants to hear but also a representation of who they are.
Self-promotion In describing Dark Triad (DT) personalities, Paulhus and Williams (2002, p. 557) report: “To varying degrees, all three entail a socially malevolent character with behavior tendencies toward self-promotion, emotional coldness, duplicity, and aggressiveness.” It seems that individuals who use selfenhancement are much more successful than others at “zero-acquaintance” (first sight) interactions and would, therefore, be favored in job interviews (Back, Schmukle, & Egloff, 2010). This may be explained by the following: “Narcissists do not focus on interpersonal intimacy, warmth, or other positive long-term relational outcomes, but they are very skilled at both initiating relationships and using relationships to look popular, successful, and high in status in the short term” (Buffardi & Campbell, 2008, p. 1304). This last statement refers to the agentic goals of narcissists in their interpersonal relationships. Agentic motivations are not just associated with career goals; they drive every aspect of a narcissistic individual’s life. I believe that the same can be said for the other two DT personalities. In the workplace, like in their personal lives, individuals with dark personalities use others to attain personal agentic goals. They chose spouses who will make them shine (hence the notion of “trophy wives”); similarly, they use employees and colleagues by taking credit for their ideas and their work to further their own careers. In a study, Paulhus and Williams (2002) tested the relationship between two types of self-enhancement and Dark Triad personalities. First, they measured the discrepancy between IQ test scores and self-rated intelligence. They found that narcissistic individuals and psychopathic individuals both significantly overestimated their intelligence while Machiavellians did not.
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The authors also measured overclaiming by using a questionnaire that measures cognitive ability and self-enhancement by presenting questions claiming knowledge of people, events, and things that do not exist (20% of the items represented the self-enhancement nonexistent people, events, or things). Overclaiming the knowledge of things and events that do not exist correlated positively only with narcissism (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). This result indicates that narcissistic individuals tend to claim knowledge they don’t have in order to self-enhance. In an interview context, overclaiming could perhaps put them at an advantage of getting the position; however, it is by no means a guarantee that they possess the skills or knowledge needed to perform well once they obtain that position. Psychopathic individuals are pathological liars who have been known to lie and manipulate psychiatrists and parole board officers trained to deal with hardened criminals; therefore, manipulating members of a selection committee is child’s play for these individuals. As for Machiavellians, they are expert manipulators who are astute to other people’s weaknesses and preferences and have a keen sense of an organizations’ politics, which will undoubtedly be used during a selection process. Studies on IM in employee selection contexts have mainly focused on verbal tactics; however, other tactics can be used to influence the interviewer’s perceptions and ratings.
Nonverbal impression management tactics Attractiveness Using a series of meta-analyses, Langlois et al. (2000) compared attractive to less attractive individuals to test the maxims surrounding beauty. Among their results, they found that: (1) within and across cultures, raters agreed about subject’s attractiveness; (2) Attractive individuals are judged and treated more positively than less attractive individuals; (3) Attractive adults experienced more occupational success, were more popular, had more dating and sexual experiences, were somewhat more extraverted, were higher on self-confidence, possessed better social skills, and exhibited more positive self-views. While it is true that some people are born with traits and physical characteristics perceived as attractive, attractiveness is more than just physical characteristics. Holtzman and Strube (2013) conducted a study on attractiveness and found that all DT personalities tend to manipulate their appearance to be perceived as attractive above and beyond the attractiveness exuded by their actual physical traits. In fact, they found a positive relationship between all three personalities composing the DT and effective adornment (strategically manipulating one’s appearance to become more physically attractive) but found the most robust effect for psychopathy. Similarly, Carter, Campbell, and Muncer (2014) found a positive relationship between DT personalities and personality attractiveness even when controlling for Five-Factor Model (FFM) traits, with the strongest correlation being with psychopathy, followed by
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Machiavellianism and narcissism. It, thus, seems that not only are DT personalities associated with physical attractiveness, they are also rated higher by others on personality attractiveness. In a study on narcissism and Facebook usage, Buffardi and Campbell (2008) found that Facebook users high on narcissism were seen as more physically attractive on their main photo than users who scored lower on a narcissism scale. In addition, the authors found that, in the same main photo, narcissistic individuals also appeared to be sexier and more self-promoting. Narcissistic individuals (and I suspect this to be true for the other two DT personalities) are more likely to wear expensive and flashy clothes and have a nice hairstyle (Vazire, Naumann, Rentfrow, & Gosling, 2008). Back et al. (2010) found that narcissistic individuals use flashy clothes, charming facial expressions, self-assured body movements, and humorous verbal expressions to make a good impression at first sight. The authors conclude: “For understanding the interpersonal consequences of narcissism, one has to consider and analyze the physical appearances and the nonverbal and verbal behaviors that are actually observable” (Back et al., 2010, p. 141). Needless to say, in a society where success is associated with external cues such as expensive clothes, jewelry, and haircut, job applicants presenting DT traits would have the upper hand. A meta-analysis review of studies testing the biasing effect of physical attractiveness on job outcomes shows that “physical attractiveness is always an asset for both male and female targets, regardless of the sex-type of the job for which they applied or held” (Hosoda, Stone-Romero, & Coats, 2003, p. 447). Furthermore, one interesting result is that the attractiveness bias was in effect, regardless of job-relevant information. Moreover, the authors found that personnel/HR professionals were as susceptible as college students to be influenced by the attractiveness bias when making their hiring decision. The physical attractiveness bias in an employee selection setting lies in the perceived association between attractiveness and positive outcomes. In a metaanalysis, Eagly et al. (1991) reported that physical attractiveness was associated with a perception of social competence, social skills, and perception of intellectual competence.
Perceived intelligence A study on perception of intelligence found that attractiveness, refined appearance, fashionable dress, self-assured expression, and frequency of eye contact were all related to perceived intelligence (Borkenau & Liebler, 1995). Another study found that nonverbal expressions such as eye contact, selfassured expression, and speaking time were all associated with perceived intelligence (Murphy, 2007). Moreover, the author has found that judges rated actors who tried to appear intelligent by using IM as more intelligent than participants who were not asked to “appear intelligent” for video ratings.
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However, they found no difference when the judges used written transcripts. This result led the authors to suggest that, when it comes to intelligence bias, successful IM includes nonverbal cues. In fact, in a review of what cues are associated with perceived intelligence, Murphy, Hall, and Colvin (2003, p. 469) report, “The overall picture is of a person who is comfortable, animated, selfconfident, engaged, responsive, and competent in his or her speech patterns.” Again, presentation style is associated with intelligence; this takes us back to the notion of style over substance. It, thus, seems that a person who exudes self-confidence, dresses well, has a nice haircut, uses self-assured body movements, and is verbally agile will appear to be both more attractive and more intelligent. However, in both cases, assessment using these cues is not related to actual physical attractiveness or intelligence; rather, what is assessed is the promise of success. The heart of the problem is that people, even seasoned selection experts, use cues to predict behaviors and outcomes. Since cues such as extraversion, assertiveness, selfpromotion, and nice clothes are associated with success, selection committees are more likely to hire individuals who present these cues. DT personalities are masters at IM; there is no doubt that they may be favored over more humble and discrete candidates, no matter how good the other candidates might actually be.
Practice: the selection interview case In Appendix 2, I have included a first case study showing how a candidate presenting a dark personality may appear in a selection interview setting. Can you identify the IM tactics used to introduce a positive bias within the interview? To help you, at the end of the case study, I have included a table presenting the different types of IM tactics addressed in this chapter. While most individuals would likely use IM to make a positive impression, I believe that individuals presenting dark personalities would go beyond trying to make a good impression and lie about credentials to manipulate others in order to get positive reviews. By now, we know that an employee selection process based exclusively on an unstructured interview gives an undeniable advantage to candidates with tendencies to lie and deceive. The good news is that using good selection practices reduces the risks of hiring an individual with dark personality traits and increases the chances of selecting the best candidate for the position.
Using practices that will help weed out candidates presenting dark personalities Job descriptions seldom provide a valid representation of what employees and managers need to do on a day-to-day basis to succeed at their position. Although time-consuming, it is crucial to have HR professionals consult with employees who know what the position entails, the tasks, the workload, the
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deadlines, etc. No one is better equipped to describe the tasks and skills needed than the employee occupying the position. Keeping job descriptions up to date in an organization sets a good base for selection processes. In today’s world, businesses need to adapt to constant and fast-paced changes, which implies that employees need to constantly develop new skills and perform new tasks. The same position ten years ago may be entirely different in today’s reality. As the culture changes or changes are introduced within an organization, job descriptions need to be adapted to reflect this new culture or recent changes. Organizations do not have to go through cultural changes to have to adapt their job descriptions; the introduction of new technology alone changes the skills needed to perform tasks. These changes need to be taken into account when writing a job analysis.
Team/supervisor/culture analysis While it is important to identify tasks, job demands, and competencies when analyzing a position, external elements/context inherent to the job should also be considered. For example, will the job entail having to deal with aggressive customers? Who is part of the team the candidate will be joining? Who will be managing the candidate? It is also important to consider politics, stressful deadlines, work schedules, and other contextual elements. The more elements you include in your job assessment, the more accurate your competency profile will be, therefore increasing your chances of selecting a successful candidate.
Transforming job description and tasks into measurable skills Once you have a complete job description, take a list of competencies (you can use the list presented in Chapter 1 or the one I provide on my website) and extract competencies that you judge necessary for the candidate to have in order to succeed at the position. Don’t forget to take into account job tasks as well as organizational context and culture. For example, for a sales associate, customer service would be one of the tasks associated with the position. Therefore, you would select from the list a number of competencies associated with customer service such as listening, extraversion, gregariousness, sociability. For each task identified in the job description, you need to identify measurable competencies that an individual should possess to perform well at the task.
Job posting: “Be the energy you want to attract” I’m not sure who initially came up with that quote “Be the energy you want to attract”; it is a principle used in yoga and Buddhism. Though it is meant for human interactions, I believe it is also true for organizations trying to recruit new employees. In Chapter 2, I presented the importance of job posting
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and promoting organizational culture; therefore, I will not repeat the same information here. However, it is important to reiterate that organizational vision and values should be clearly established within job postings. Think of job postings as an advertisement to attract the best candidates. For future employees, job postings are a “window into a company’s soul.” I have often seen job postings filled with spelling errors; some omit to present the company, its mission, or its values. Think of a job posting as something similar to an online dating profile. If you want to attract the right candidates, you need to put more than a picture and what you want; you also need to describe who you are. Companies spend a substantial amount of resources to market their products or services; however, they sometimes forget that a company is only as good as its employees. Without good, competent, and talented employees, a CEO would not get far. To attract the right employees, companies need to make sure that their job postings reflect who they are as an organization, what the position entails, and what profile the ideal candidate should present. For more information and a detailed list of what to include in a job description, see Chapter 2. The job posting should be tailored to the organization and candidates you wish to attract; it can be formal or fun and colorful, depending on the nature of the position and the profile you are looking for. If the job posting is not done right, you will waste precious amounts of time going through a large number of resumes that will not correspond to the position you wish to fill and interviewing candidates with little or no success. The biggest risk when job postings are not well designed remains to hire the wrong candidate.
Building a competency framework Competencies
The candidate takes into account all of the information available and considers possible impacts before making a decision.
Interview, psychometric testing, in-basket
The table above gives you an example of how you can create a simple competency framework. You will find a list of competencies with definitions and a competency framework template on my website. Use the list of competencies identified for the position and insert them in a table in one column. In the second column, add a definition for each competency. Defining competencies may seem easy, but be careful not to include more than one competency in your definition. My students often struggle with this task as they sometimes create a definition that refers to many competencies instead of just one.
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The candidate will be scored based on how competencies are defined; therefore, it is important to write a concise, straightforward definition. In the third column, you will insert the assessment method that will be used to evaluate each competency. Assessment methods can include an interview, psychometric testing, or in-baskets (an in-basket is a simulation; see the section below on in-baskets).
Building interview questions The goal of a selection interview is to identify and select the best candidate for the position. As I tell my students, you have a finite amount of time to get as much information on the candidate as possible; it is important to make all the questions count and assess every competency. Each competency will be scored based on psychometric test results, in-basket results, and results obtained by responding to interview questions. The type of questions used during an interview depends on the level of structure for the interview. Here are different types of questions that can be used for a selection interview.
Aspiration and self-evaluation questions Questions such as “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, “what do you have to offer our firm?”, or “what are your biggest strengths?” can be useful; however, they are not associated with competencies. The interviewer and other selection committee members should be able to score the candidates’ answers and associate them to competencies within the competency framework. Aspiration and self-evaluation questions are not specific, and they may introduce biases by facilitating the use of IM tactics. While I think these questions can yield interesting results, I suggest keeping them at a minimum. Knowledge and background questions Knowledge questions: These questions pertain to a candidate’s specific job knowledge. They are useful when assessing specific expertise. However, interviewers should keep in mind that candidates can lie on these questions if they are not asked to actually demonstrate job knowledge. Competencies assessed through job knowledge questions should be interpreted as knowledge of best practices rather than an assessment of the candidate’s ability to actually use that knowledge. What software do you use for a certain type of work? How would you go about implementing . ? The risk is having candidates who “know the how-to” but cannot transfer knowledge into practice. While theoretical knowledge is important, assessing if the candidate can, in fact, put that knowledge to work is more important during a selection process. Testing whether the candidate can apply knowledge can be done with situational questions and in-baskets, which will be presented below. Background questions: Asking the candidate about previous experience and/or education and training. These questions should be used if, after reading
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the resume, the interviewer needs more information or specifications. Although these questions might be important, interviewers need to minimize the time allotted to them, as they do not assess actual competencies as well as situational or behavioral questions do.
Situational questions Situational questions are scenarios presented to the candidate where he/she needs to make choices or decisions. Situational questions can be created and structured to test a specific competency. In order to increase validity for these questions, it is useful to create an assessment chart or answer key in which points are attributed to a competency if the candidate offers specific elements of the answer. The selection committee establishes predetermined elements that they want the candidate to present, and points are attributed if the candidate refers to these elements. Ex: “You are managing a team of ten individuals and, one afternoon, one employee enters your office and asks to speak to you. The employee explains that there is tension between two individuals on the team and that the tension is escalating. The employee informs you that the rest of the team feel like they are forced to take sides in the conflict and that it is creating a stressful work environment and affecting their productivity. What do you do?” In this case, you may be assessing conflict resolution. You may then determine the steps associated with good conflict resolution and attribute points for each step or element of response. Behavioral questions Behavioral questions, also called experience-based questions, are similar to situational questions; however, they ask the candidate to give examples of past behaviors based on the candidate’s previous work or life experiences related to a specific skill, knowledge, or competency. With other types of questions, candidates may embellish their answers according to what they think the interviewer wants to hear or recite what they learned in textbooks; therefore, the answers will not reflect the candidate’s ability or competency. Behavioral questions make it harder for a candidate to lie since they involve providing an example of past work experience to test for a competency. Each question is associated with a competency and usually starts with “give me an example, in your past work experience, of .” For obvious reasons, it is crucial not to name the competency within the question. For instance, “Based on your past work experience, could you provide us with an example where you showed empathy towards a coworker?” It would make it too easy for the candidate and increase the chances of candidates lying or embellishing their answers. Rather, you could use: “Based on your past work experience, could you provide us with an example in which a coworker was going through a difficult situation and came to you for advice?” or “Tell me about a professional situation
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in which you have had to communicate with a colleague in difficult circumstances.” Creating good behavioral questions is not as easy as it seems, and so I have put a list of competency-based behavioral questions on my website. You can use them as they are or modify them to reflect your organization’s reality. Sometimes, it can be difficult for candidates to answer some of the behavioral questions you are asking them. You can use subquestions if you find that the candidate cannot give you enough information to score their answers. You can use the PAR (Problem, Action, Resolution) system. Problem (ask the candidate to elaborate on the initial situation or problem). Ex: Could you give me more information on the problem you were facing? Action (ask the candidate what they did to manage the situation. Clarify the steps they took to resolve the problem and how they took action). Note that some candidates will say, “we took action” . Make sure that you clarify whom the candidate refers to when he/she says “we.” Some candidates will try to pass others’ actions as their own; that is why it is important to ask them to specify what actions were theirs. Ex: “What was your role in this .” or “How did you engage in .” Resolution (ask the candidate to give information on the result or impact of their actions on the problem or situation). Ex: “What was the impact of your actions on the problem/situation?” or “in the end, how was the situation resolved?” Once you have decided on the questions you wish to ask candidates, you should build your interview canvas. This is simply the step where you put your questions in an interview document that you will have with you at the interview and in which you will be taking notes. I tell my students that they should not have more than one, maybe two questions per page (I prefer one). This allows space for note-taking. Avoid writing the name of the competency you are assessing on the page as candidates may see it.
Structuring the interview The structure of an interview can be understood using a continuum. On the one end of the continuum would be the unstructured interview, which is still, despite research and I/O psychology advancements, the most widely used hiring method. On the other end of the continuum would be the highest level of structured interviews. Campion, Palmer, and Campion (1997) present four structure levels for interviews (see Fig. 3.1 below). In the context of trying to prevent candidates with dark personalities from introducing biases by using IM tactics, it is clear from what we have just learned in this chapter that the first two levels, presenting very little to no structure, would not be optimal. Indeed, low levels of structure in the interview will allow candidates with dark personalities to introduce positive bias by using IM tactics, therefore increasing their chances of being hired.
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FIGURE 3.1 Employee selection interview structure levels.
While academics, for whom the first priority may be to create the most valid interview structure, would probably be inclined to choose the highest level of structure, in practice, I personally prefer level 3. My experience with selection interviews is that structure is essential. Therefore, I believe that candidates should be asked the same questions, each measuring a specific competency. However, I find that too much structure, as described in level 4, can create a very stern and tense experience for both the candidate and interviewer. When I started my career in I/O psychology, Andre´ Hogue, my mentor, always started his interviews with this question: “Tell me about yourself,” then he would follow up with predetermined behavior-based questions related to each of the competencies he had selected for the position. When I asked him why he started with this general question, he told me that it was not for the answers since most candidates would simply recite what we had read in their resume. He said he liked to see the candidate’s reaction to that question, i.e., some were completely thrown off and asked for specifications while others were completely at ease. Some candidates would reply, “what do you want to know?”, “where do you want me to start?”, and my mentor would simply reply, in a kind, calm voice (very representative of who he was), “Tell me about yourself, start where you want, I simply wish to get to know you better, take your time.” Some candidates would start in a very structured chronological fashion with their education, then proceed to talk about their work experiences. Some candidates would talk about their childhood; others would go from education to work experience, back to education, which provided a blurry picture. Some talked about their family, their values, and
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some took the opportunity to gloat and seemed to really enjoy talking about themselves, their exploits, how great they are, and (almost overtly) how lucky we were to be interviewing them. While some were extremely uncomfortable with the lack of direction provided with this first question, others were thrilled and seemed to think: “I’ve got this, I’m in control, this is going to be an easy sell”. that is, until the competency-based behavioral questions started.
Conducting the interview In my I/O psychology course, I teach my students to: 1. Always be very respectful of candidates, even when it becomes clear that they are not the right fit for the job. 2. Listen without judging. 3. Take notes, briefly but do not lose visual contact with the candidate for too long. Write keywords, not complete sentences; otherwise, it will be stressful for the candidate, and you will not get to see who they are and how they react. 4. Ask questions in the order that makes more sense during the interview. If, while answering a question on one competency, the candidate mentions information associated with another competency, you can follow with a question on this last competency to create a better flow. The more the interview feels like a “natural” conversation, the more you will get to know the candidate in front of you. You may not be able to do this at first; however, with time and as you gain confidence and experience, it will come more naturally. 5. Try to allow each candidate to shine and leave the interview with a positive impression of their experience, as it will reflect positively on the company’s image. 6. Make the candidate feel as comfortable as possible while keeping it very professional. What I mean by the last one is that the more comfortable the interview feels, the more at ease the candidates will be. This will have two positive effects: It will help reduce stress for anxious candidates, which will help them shine. On the other hand, for candidates who feel absolutely no stress or very low levels of stress, it will open the door for them to become too familiar and too calm, which will allow the emergence of interesting behaviors such as inappropriate comments, jokes, and other similar behaviors. I remember one candidate who was so at ease that he made very inappropriate jokes on women to two female interviewers (another I/O psychologist and myself). Surprisingly, some candidates even make comments to make the interviewer feel inapt, and some will be so bold as to tell the interviewer they look too young or make comments to the fact that they have more work experience than
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the interviewer. Discrediting the interviewer is one way of gaining control during the interview. Given the opportunity, some candidates will readily, covertly (although I have also seen overt attacks) attack the interviewer. Another, perhaps more adapted way to control the interview is to find common interests and similarities to manipulate the interviewer. As I mentioned earlier in this chapter, I do not recommend conducting interviews in one’s office. Manipulative candidates will “scan” the office for any personal preferences like sports accessories, family portraits, yoga mat, and will use these hints to manipulate the interviewer. In fact, Leary and Kowalski (1990) have found that candidates deliberately search the environment for cues that may help them make the right (expected) impression. While I use all the same competency-based questions for each candidate, I teach my students to try to make the interview seem like a conversation. The important aspect of a good assessment is that all the questions have been addressed at the end of the interview to score candidates on each of the competencies. As I mentioned above, I believe that the best interview structure level to help identify dark personalities would be level 3. Furthermore, level 3 allows follow-up questions, which are extremely important when interviewing candidates you suspect could present dark traits.
Additional information on the candidate Collecting as much information as you can on a candidate allows you to increase your assessment’s validity. As seen in this chapter, individuals with dark personalities tend to use impression management tactics and deceit during selection interviews. Awareness of these tactics is a good start to reduce their effectiveness; furthermore, collecting additional information on the candidate may help provide a portrait of the individual that is different from the one displayed during the interview, therefore reducing the impact of IM tactics. In psychology or psychiatry, when a patient is evaluated, professionals will try to collect as much information on the patient as possible; it is called collateral information. Collateral information comes from the patient’s family, friends, or other professionals. In fact, the instrument considered the international standard for the assessment of psychopathy, the Psychopathy Checkliste Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 2003) is based on a structured interview as well as collateral information on the individual being assessed. The PCL-R is a 20-item clinical construct rating scale that uses a structured interview, case-history information, and specific scoring criteria to rate each item on a three-point scale. Considering the manipulative nature of psychopathic individuals, the fact that PCL-R assessments are based on both a structured interview and collateral information increases the instrument’s validity. In my training as both a clinical psychologist and an industrial-organizational psychologist, I learned to use structured interviews as well as psychometric testing to assess individuals. I believe that when it comes to assessing candidates for a selection process
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(as well as for a promotion), investing time and resources to obtain additional information is worth the effort. As previously mentioned, the costs associated with a bad hire can be very high on a financial and human front.
Psychometric testing There is a wide variety of tests available to assess different aspects and competencies for selection purposes. Instruments can measure personality traits, leadership style/skills, work motivation, cognitive abilities, to name a few. Some instruments are built to measure specific elements related to a particular work environment, such as law enforcement agencies or armed forces (assessing risks of violent or unethical behavior and/or tolerance to highly stressful work environments). Since most validated instruments require administration and interpretation by qualified professionals; organizations may hire an industrial/organizational psychology firm to test their candidates. Psychometric testing is one form of collateral information and, therefore, should be an integral part of a selection process. As such, psychometric instruments should provide a valid assessment of the competencies identified in the job description and measured during the interview. Since psychometric testing may be rather expensive, this collateral information may be collected only for the two or three candidates who have obtained the highest scores on the selection interview. Most I/O firms will conduct both a semistructured or structured interview as well as psychometric testing to assess candidates and then issue a report scoring the candidates on a large number of competencies identified by the hiring organization as essential for the position. Most I/O firms will also add an in-basket test to the evaluation process, especially for management positions. In-baskets In-basket tests are typically about an hour-long; they entail putting candidates in a situation where they need to perform tasks associated with the position. For instance, an in-basket for a management position could include asking the candidate to pretend that he/she is in a specific management position and ask the candidate to deal with a significant number of emails. The number is usually large enough that very few candidates would respond to all of them. The nature of the emails depends on the competencies the company wishes to assess. In-baskets measure the ability to make decisions quickly, the quality of decisions made by the candidate, time management, stress management, written communication skills, attention to detail, propensity for action, conflict management, and so forth. Each email is linked to a set of competencies. An example from an in-basket for a management position could be an email from a fictional manager who writes that an employee was extremely rude to a client, causing the loss of an important contract, and asking the candidate to manage the situation. Some candidates may deal with it by
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writing that they would fire the employee, while others may write that they will “look into this and consult HR”; yet others may write “I will take the time to contact and meet with the client to understand their point of view. Then, I will meet with the employee to hear what he/she has to say. With the information, I will then consult with HR to get their support and advice on how to deal with the situation and take the appropriate actions” (this would indicate strong conflict management skills). Some candidates will refer to organizational values of respect and integrity. Some may write that they will apologize for any behavior that may have offended the client and follow up with the client to keep them informed on the steps taken to deal with the situation in the hopes that the client will continue working with the company (this would indicate strong customer service skills). I like in-baskets as they allow me to observe how candidates react to tight deadlines and to get a sense of how they make decisions when they do not have a lot of information at hand. I have seen interesting in-basket results throughout the years. Some candidates who are very detail-oriented will only reply to 4 out of 25 emails, in the order of appearance, providing a large number of details. These candidates do not read all of the emails, they follow the order in which they are presented, they do not prioritize, and time management may present a challenge for them. On the other end of the spectrum, I have seen candidates who were able to manage a large number of emails without providing any explanation as to why they made expedite decisions such as “fire the employee,” “cut their budget,” “cancel an employee reward program.” Finally, some candidates prioritize emails, make some decisions, mention that they would consult with HR or their manager, and explain the underlying reasoning for their decisions and actions. I think in-baskets are extremely useful and a great complement to the interview and/or psychometric testing. There is a multitude of in-basket tests and companies that specialize in creating them; some put candidates in a live work simulation where they have to perform their tasks while receiving emails, phone calls, and people entering the room. In-baskets should be chosen and adapted to test specific competencies associated with the position the candidate is applying for and be as realistic as possible.
Background checks Not all of the information collected in background checks can be legally used to make a decision in a selection context. In many countries, it is considered illegal to base hiring decisions on race, age, gender, sexual orientation, whether the individual has or wants children, or even negative feedback from a source. Nevertheless, background checks can be excellent collateral information if used properly and ethically. Contacting individuals identified as references by candidates and asking them questions on key competencies for the position the candidate is applying for can provide additional insight into a candidate’s profile and further validate the assessment.
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A note on the use of social media in selection processes These days, formal reference checks are not the only way to have outside source information on a candidate. Indeed, few recruiting professionals will hire an individual without first “googling” their name and searching social media; this is a fact. Of course, the use of social media to obtain information on a candidate raises ethical questions and issues. Nevertheless, I have had conversations with many HR directors and recruiters in the past years and, although this is a very delicate matter, all of them have admitted to using social media in search of collateral information on the candidate. Social media has taken employee selection background checks to a whole other level. It has opened up doors to the private lives of candidates that were completely closed in the past. We, thus, face a complex ethical issue: on the one hand, laws and regulations put forward by civil rights movements and diversity groups to stop discrimination in selection processes have been implemented in many countries; on the other hand, social media has given access to candidates’ private lives, putting candidates at risk for discrimination. I am always astounded when I have this discussion with my students on moral ethics and the use of social media for employee selection. Many do not seem alarmed at all; in fact, they do not seem to understand the dilemma or grasp the importance of the issue at hand. They have been displaying their everyday lives on social media ever since they were kids, and they do not see how this information could eventually impact their careers. If we lived in a completely ethical and egalitarian society, personal information and opinions posted on social media would not affect someone’s career; the keyword here is “if.” However, in reality, everything posted can be retrieved, and selection committee members will want access to as much information as possible. HR professionals and recruiters base their use of social media on the principle that there is nothing illegal in consulting publicly available information posted on social media. However, what is illegal is writing in a report or mentioning that the selection decision was based on such personal information. While selection committee members cannot write or officially explain their decision based on information found on candidates’ social media accounts, the information found can still “unofficially” influence their decision. There lies the ethical dilemma. It would be impossible not to be influenced after reading a candidate’s opinions on different matters, seeing his or her pictures, reading about his or her personal life (travels, family, activities, and friends). Social media opens up new forms of biases in employee selection. The biases introduced at the beginning of this chapter, such as physical appearance and impressions of similarity, are in operation not only during an interview but also when reading social media content. These biases can either be in favor of the candidate or in his or her disfavor, depending on the content and the individual doing the assessment.
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While most people use it for its intended purpose, to connect with others, for personal entertainment, and as a source of information, individuals with dark intentions use social media as a tool to manipulate and bully others. In fact, I cannot think of a better tool for individuals with dark personalities. As we have seen, they are experts at creating an image, and social media allows them to influence others’ opinions and offers them new ways to express aggressivity through postings of violent content or cyberbullying. Powerful individuals can now destroy reputations and careers by a simple post that will be read by thousands while remaining in the comfort of their homes or offices. IM, through social media, is easy for individuals with dark personalities. In fact, research has found that psychopaths use more swear words and words related to anger on social media (Boochever, 2012), while Machiavellianism is associated with more dishonest self-promotion on Facebook (Abell & Brewer, 2014). Furthermore, narcissists and psychopaths post more selfies (Fox & Rooney, 2015). Although the content of their posts might be more violent, individuals with dark personalities can use social media to create a desirable positive image of themselves, which could introduce a positive bias in a selection process. While some may argue that searching through a candidate’s social media accounts enables them to find useful additional information on the candidate; others would disagree based on ethical grounds. The problem with using social media to acquire more information on a candidate is that it is done informally, outside the boundaries of the official selection process. Social media allows access to very personal information and sometimes even intimate details of a candidate’s life, introducing strong biases, thus reducing the validity of even the best selection processes.
Final assessment Scoring competencies Competency
Assessment methods (1e7)
Empathy toward others
Interview ¼ 3 Psychometric testing ¼ 2 In-basket ¼ 4
In order to reduce biases that may be introduced by candidates’ use of IM tactics, I suggest creating a final assessment table, such as the one presented above. This table should include all of the competencies identified in the framework. There are many ways to score competencies. Some use scores from 0 to 3 or 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. The importance here is to have a structured scoring system to avoid biases as much as possible. Scores are attributed based on results obtained by assessment methods included in the competency framework
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(i.e., interview, psychometric test results, in-basket results). For example, if the candidate gets a 2 from the I/O firm on psychometric testing and a 4 on the in-basket, and you gave the candidate a score of 3 on the interview, the total score for the competency could be 3. You could calculate a mean score to get your total score or simply use your professional judgment. Some use Microsoft Excel or programming to calculate total scores automatically. This process does not have to be an exact science; the final scoring table is there to help selection committee members assess each competency to find the candidate that best fits the organization’s needs. Once every committee member has scored all of the candidates, one additional step may be to create a mean score for each competency by using each committee member’s scores. Few organizations go to this length in terms of calculations; however, I find that creating an automated, simple Excel program that calculates the mean scores for individual competencies among committee members can sometimes reduce the amount of discord within the committee. However, when significant score differences exist between committee members, it is crucial to address them as they may be an indication that some form of bias is in effect.
Stability of evaluators Although having many evaluators can be difficult, especially if they disagree on candidates and scores, it is always recommended to have more than one evaluator. These evaluators or committee members could be HR representatives, the candidates’ future manager, colleagues, or other individuals who could contribute positively to the selection process. In order for the scoring to be as valid as possible, the same evaluators should be present at every interview. If an evaluator tends to score lower or higher than the rest of the group, removing his or her scores for some of the candidates would inevitably affect final results and either favor or disfavor these candidates. You can calculate mean scores for each competency by adding evaluator scores on each competency and dividing the result by the number of evaluators. For example, if evaluators have given a candidate the following scores on empathy (1, 2, 2, and 3), you would add the scores to get a total of 8 and divide by the number of evaluators (4) to get a total score for empathy of 2. You can also obtain a final total score for candidates by adding the mean scores for each competency. However, some committees would rather discuss among evaluators in order to agree on a final score for each competency. The problem with this “discuss and agree” method is that some committee members have more power than others, formal or informal. This method may introduce a bias as their opinion or score would have a greater impact, and they could have a significant influence on others when it comes time to decide on a final score for competencies. Again, significant inter-rater differences should be highlighted and openly discussed, and personal biases should be disclosed and addressed among committee members.
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Decision Once you have the final scores on all competencies and final total scores for each of your candidates, it is time to make a decision. While the decision may be quite easy and unanimous among evaluators in some instances, in other instances, an agreement is not easy to reach, and more discussion is needed. At this point, if the choice is still unclear, the committee may consider organizational culture fit, the fit between the individual and the team they will be joining, or the candidates’ future manager’s leadership style to make a decision. If the committee feels the need for more information, they can invite final candidates for another interview in which new competencies are assessed or clarification questions are asked. Of course, this interview will be prepared, and the same questions will be asked to all final candidates (the same rules apply for this interview as for the first interview in order to reduce potential bias).
A note on using measures of dark personality traits in a selection process Clinical measures of narcissism and psychopathy may not be suited for the workplace as some are completed by others using informant reports, as is the case for the PCL-R (Hare, 2003), while others are based on clinical symptoms that professionals in charge of a selection committee may not be legally permitted to obtain. Most importantly, some of the questions included in these measures may not be suited for the workplace as they pertain to criminal behaviors or other aspects that HR professionals and I/O psychologists are not allowed to ask as part of a selection interview. Indeed, intrusive questions into a candidate or employee’s personal life are legally prohibited in many jurisdictions under the American’s with Disabilities Act (1990/1992) in the United States and the Employment Equity Act (1995) in Canada. Selecting an employee based on clinical assessments may put an organization in violation of these acts. Finally, because organizational populations are different from incarcerated populations and student populations, I/O psychologists should use measures specifically created and validated for the workplace. Specific to the business world, Hogan (2009) developed the Hogan Development Survey (HDS), a self-report instrument used to measure leadership derailment. Each of the subscales measures a subclinical personality disorder based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). However, since, as we have seen in Chapter 1, psychopathy and Machiavellianism are not part of the DSM-IV, they are not measured in the HDS. As we have seen in Chapter 1, many studies have indicated that the FFM of personality is able to capture features present in DT personalities (see, for example, Decuyper, De Pauw, De Fruyt, De Bolle, & De Clercq, 2009). Furthermore, studies have shown that the HEXACO model of personality, which adds Honesty-Humility to the FFM,
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may capture even more aspects of dark personalities (Gaughan, Miller, & Lynam, 2012). These two measures have yet to be studied in relation to dark personalities in an employee selection process. However, they could eventually be useful to detect dark personality traits. Some may ask: won’t individuals with dark personalities lie on self-report personality measures to get the job? Researchers have found a high concordance between an individual’s self-report of psychopathy and the reports of psychopathy others have completed on the individual. This means that individuals who scored high on psychopathy were also scored high on psychopathy by others who know them well. Note that these studies have not been conducted in a selection context where a desired position was at stake. Nevertheless, interestingly, the authors of one such study concluded that “Psychopathic individuals may not be ‘in the dark’ regarding their psychopathic traits but rather they may simply be unconcerned by these trait elevations and the resultant behavioral problems” (Miller, Jones, & Lynam, 2011, p. 6). It, thus, seems that, if a measure of dark personalities is created using workplace behaviors and attitudes, psychopathic individuals may respond in a way that helps us identify their psychopathic traits, as they may not be aware or concerned that these traits could be problematic in the workplace. For instance, psychopathic individuals have a hard time understanding emotions at a basic level. When asked whether emotions have a place in a work context, psychopathic individuals are not likely to answer positively as they may view emotions as a weakness. In fact, as we have seen in Chapter 2, they are less likely to lie about communal or people-oriented skills. Since 2010, I have been working with colleagues on validating the B-Scan Babiak, Mathieu, & Hare, 2020, an instrument measuring behaviors and attitudes that are associated with psychopathic traits and have a negative impact on others and the workplace in general (the B-Scan Factors and items were presented in a Table in Chapter 1). So far, we have used the B-Scan with more than 2000 employees and managers in different types of organizations, and we have found that this instrument predicts negative behaviors and attitudes in the workplace such as abusive leadership behaviors, negative employee attitudes, and negative impacts on others. This instrument could be used to assess the risks of abusive interpersonal behaviors and other counterproductive behaviors in candidates during a selection context and for future managers. Furthermore, it can be completed either by candidates themselves (self-report) or, for promotion purposes, by others (others score the candidate) such as a candidate’s employees, colleagues, or superiors. In Chapters 1 and 2, I have presented how candidates with dark personality traits may score on a wide array of competencies used to select candidates for different types of positions. I have presented the importance of considering people-oriented skills for any type of position, especially management
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positions, not only because DT personalities would score low on these competencies but also because they are associated with positive impacts on teams and the workplace. This chapter’s practical section will consist of building a selection document based on the three job postings you have created in Chapter 2.
Practice: creating a selection process document For each of the three positions for which you have created a job posting in Chapter 2 (sales representative, office manager, administrative assistant), create a complete selection document and test your selection process by following these steps: 1. Conduct a job analysis: Since you have had to write job postings for these positions in Chapter 2, you probably have already conducted a job analysis. However, with the additional information provided in this chapter, you may wish to add to this job analysis. 2. Chose the competencies you wish to assess: Note that you may have to add to the competencies you had selected in Chapter 2 or remove some of the competencies, now that you have more knowledge of what should be considered when choosing competencies for a position. 3. Create a competency framework: Do not forget to include a definition of each competency (you will find many definitions online, including on my website, make sure they are adapted to the reality of the position and type of organization). 4. Build your interview canvas: Write interview questions to measure each competency in your framework. Practice creating both situational and behavior-based questions. Do not forget to add the three PAR behavioral subquestions as presented in the section on behavioral questions above. Try to leave enough space for note-taking (I like to use one page per competency with the interview question and PAR at the top and leave the rest of the page blank for note-taking). 5. Create your score sheet: Create a table in which you insert all of your competencies and attribute scores to assess candidates. 6. Test your process: I have created competency profiles for fictional candidates that you can access on my website. You will be able to choose a candidate for each of the three positions based on their competency profiles (and, of course, your competency framework). 7. Make a decision. On my website, you will find examples for each of the five steps as well as competency profiles for fictional candidates to help you practice decisionmaking in a selection interview. You can do the exercise either on your own or with others. If you wish to complete this exercise as a group, you can perform
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the first five steps together. Then, individually, rate the fictional profiles provided on my website. Scoring candidates on your own before discussing the scores with other members of your group will give you the opportunity to make a personal selection decision. Then, each member presents the scores given to candidates to the other members and indicates which candidate they would select. You may face discrepancies and discussions, and argumentations may arise between group members, which is often the case when selecting candidates. After the group has agreed on a candidate, unanimously or by the majority, you can ask yourselves these questions: Was I comfortable with the group’s decision? Was the group influenced by elements other than the competency profile to select the candidate? Was I personally influenced by other elements? Did I find it easy to choose between the “top 2 or 3” candidates? How would having met the candidates for an interview have changed this selection process? How would having consulted the candidates’ social media accounts influenced my choices?
References Abell, L., & Brewer, G. (2014). Machiavellianism, self-monitoring, self-promotion and relational aggression on Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 258e262. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.) Test rev. Washington DC. Babiak, P. (2016). In C. Gacono (Ed.), Psychopathic manipulation at work (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledgge/Taylor & Franciss Group. Babiak, P., Mathieu, C., & Hare, R. D. (2020). The B-Scan manual. In preparation. Back, M. D., Schmukle, S. C., & Egloff, B. (2010). Why are narcissists so charming at first sight? Decoding the narcissismepopularity link at zero acquaintance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 132. Barrick, M. R., Shaffer, J. A., & DeGrassi, S. W. (2009). What you see may not be what you get: Relationships among self-presentation tactics and ratings of interview and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(6), 1394. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016532. Blasberg, S. A., Rogers, K. H., & Paulhus, D. L. (2014). The Bidimensional Impression Management Index (BIMI): Measuring agentic and communal forms of impression management. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96(5), 523e531. Boochever, R. (2012). Psychopaths online: Modeling psychopathy in social media discourse. Borkenau, P., & Liebler, A. (1995). Observable attributesas manifestations and cues of personality and intelligence. Journal of Personality, 63(1), 1e25. Bourdage, J. S., Wiltshire, J., & Lee, K. (2015). Personality and workplace impression management: Correlates and implications. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(2), 537. Buffardi, L. E., & Campbell, W. K. (2008). Narcissism and social networking web sites. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(10), 1303e1314. Campion, M. A., Palmer, D. K., & Campion, J. E. (1997). A review of structure in the selection interview. Personnel Psychology, 50(3), 655e702.
68 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Carter, G. L., Campbell, A. C., & Muncer, S. (2014). The dark triad personality: Attractiveness to women. Personality and Individual Differences, 56, 57e61. Decuyper, M., De Pauw, S., De Fruyt, F., De Bolle, M., & De Clercq, B. J. (2009). A meta-analysis of psychopathy-, antisocial PD-and FFM associations. European Journal of Personality, 23(7), 531e565. Eagly, A. H., Ashmore, R. D., Makhijani, M. G., & Longo, L. C. (1991). What is beautiful is good, but.: A meta-analytic review of research on the physical attractiveness stereotype. Psychological Bulletin, 110(1), 109. Ellis, A. P., West, B. J., Ryan, A. M., & DeShon, R. P. (2002). The use of impression management tactics in structured interviews: A function of question type? Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(6), 1200. Fox, J., & Rooney, M. C. (2015). The Dark Triad and trait self-objectification as predictors of men’s use and self-presentation behaviors on social networking sites. Personality and Individual Differences, 76, 161e165. Gaughan, E. T., Miller, J. D., & Lynam, D. R. (2012). Examining the utility of general models of personality in the study of psychopathy: A comparison of the HEXACO-PI-R and NEO PI-R. Journal of Personality Disorders, 26(4), 513e523. Hare, R. D. (2003). The psychopathy checklisterevised (Vol. 2003). Toronto, ON: MHS. Higgins, C. A., & Judge, T. A. (2004). The effect of applicant influence tactics on recruiter perceptions of fit and hiring recommendations: A field study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(4), 622. Hogan, R. (2009). Hogan development survey manual. Tulsa, OK: Hogan Assessment Systems. Holtzman, N. S., & Strube, M. J. (2013). People with dark personalities tend to create a physically attractive veneer. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(4), 461e467. Hosoda, M., Stone-Romero, E. F., & Coats, G. (2003). The effects of physical attractiveness on job-related outcomes: A meta-analysis of experimental studies. Personnel Psychology, 56(2), 431e462. Langlois, J. H., Kalakanis, L., Rubenstein, A. J., Larson, A., Hallam, M., & Smoot, M. (2000). Maxims or myths of beauty? A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 126(3), 390. Leary, M. R., & Kowalski, R. M. (1990). Impression management: A literature review and twocomponent model. Psychological Bulletin, 107(1), 34. Macan, T. (2009). The employment interview: A review of current studies and directions for future research. Human Resource Management Review, 19(3), 203e218. McCarthy, J., & Goffin, R. (2004). Measuring job interview anxiety: Beyond weak knees and sweaty palms. Personnel Psychology, 57(3), 607e637. McDaniel, M. A., Whetzel, D. L., Schmidt, F. L., & Maurer, S. D. (1994). The validity of employment interviews: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(4), 599. Miller, J. D., Jones, S. E., & Lynam, D. R. (2011). Psychopathic traits from the perspective of self and informant reports: Is there evidence for a lack of insight? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(3), 758. Murphy, N. A. (2007). Appearing smart: The impression management of intelligence, person perception accuracy, and behavior in social interaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(3), 325e339. Murphy, N. A., Hall, J. A., & Colvin, C. R. (2003). Accurate intelligence assessments in social interactions: Mediators and gender effects. Journal of Personality, 71(3), 465e493.
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Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The dark triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36(6), 556e563. Posthuma, R. A., Morgeson, F. P., & Campion, M. A. (2002). Beyond employment interview validity: A comprehensive narrative review of recent research and trends over time. Personnel Psychology, 55(1), 1e81. Rynes, S., & Gerhart, B. (1990). Interviewer assessments of applicant “fit”: An exploratory investigation. Personnel Psychology, 43(1), 13e35. Stevens, C. K., & Kristof, A. L. (1995). Making the right impression: A field study of applicant impression management during job interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(5), 587. Vazire, S., Naumann, L. P., Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2008). Portrait of a narcissist: Manifestations of narcissism in physical appearance. Journal of Research in Personality, 42(6), 1439e1447.
Performance appraisal: how to stop the dark from rising The devil is more devilish when respectable. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
In the dog-eat-dog culture that reigns in many organizations, employees and managers will resort to all sorts of strategies to get promoted to the top. Most organizations will claim that they have structured performance appraisal systems. The question is: do they use it appropriately? and do they have the courage to take action if they learn about an employee or a manager acting in a way that may harm other employees or the organization? “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” means that it is not enough to want to do well; one must take action in order for change to occur. Unfortunately, when it comes to performance appraisal, many organizations do not walk the talk. In this chapter, I will present how the wrong individuals can be promoted to management positions and how employees with dark personalities manage to stay in the organization and climb up the corporate ladder regardless of their performance. Most managers complete performance appraisals with one thing in mind: getting it done as fast as possible. This means avoiding dealing with problems that may arise during the process. In other words, many managers will give positive reviews, even when performance is low, to avoid having to deal with underperforming or problematic employees. In fact, Villanova, Bernardin, Dahmus, and Sims (1993) found that managers who scored higher on the Performance Appraisal Discomfort Scale were more likely to score employees higher on performance appraisal to avoid discomfort and conflict that negative appraisals may generate. There can be multiple reasons for managers’ lack of rigor when writing performance appraisals, such as: 1. Managers have never received training on the performance appraisal process used within the organization. 2. Managers are afraid of employees’ reactions to negative feedback. 3. Managers do not want to deal with an employee whose performance is not satisfactory. Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00004-1 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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4. Managers feel that they lack support from HR or higher management when it comes to dealing with employees whose performance is not up to the mark or whose behaviors are not aligned with organizational culture and values. 5. The organization does not take action when an employee or a manager behaves inappropriately toward others or fails to meet performance expectations. 6. Managers lack the skills to conduct a performance appraisal. In previous chapters, I presented the importance of organizational culture and its influence on attracting talent and selecting the right individuals. Cravens, Oliver, Oishi, & Stewart (2015) have found that a positive work culture mediates the relationship between performance appraisal experience and employees’ job satisfaction, turnover intention, and self-reported performance. This seems to indicate that if performance appraisals are conducted within a positive work culture, the process will be perceived positively by employees and have a positive effect on their subsequent performance and well-being at work. Mayer and Davis (1999) found that a performance appraisal system perceived as accurate and fair increases employees’ trust in top management. Trust implies a form of vulnerability; to trust someone means that we are willing to put part of our faith in his or her hands. Trust in management and in the organization is a crucial element for employee well-being, satisfaction, and retention. These results stress the importance of an effective and fair performance appraisal system. In fact, Blau (1999) found that employees’ positive perception of their company’s performance appraisal system was related to their overall job satisfaction. Positive correlations are an indication that, as one variable increases, the other one also increases; however, it also indicates that as one variable decreases, the other variable decreases. Therefore, based on the correlations presented above, if the performance appraisal system is perceived as inaccurate and unfair, it will have a negative effect on trust in management, which, in turn, will affect employees’ job satisfaction, job performance, and increase employee turnover intentions. Unfortunately, as is the case with selection, performance appraisal processes are often not optimal, creating distrust toward the organization and opportunities for dark individuals to prosper and obtain positions that grant them more power. It is, thus, crucial to understand that a company may have the best performance appraisal system in place; yet, if no action is taken when problematic behavior is detected, the performance appraisal system not only becomes invalid, but it is also perceived as unfair by employees. Fairness is not just about being recognized and compensated for good performance; it is also about the outcome of performance appraisal, especially if the individual receives a positive review despite poor performance and/or being responsible for counterproductive work behaviors such as harassment, incivility, or fraud.
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This refers to the concept of organizational justice, which has been associate with employee job satisfaction, organizational commitment, evaluation of authority, organizational citizenship behavior, turnover, and performance (Colquitt, Conlon, Wesson, Porter, & Ng, 2001). Managers who complete performance appraisals as a mere formality increase employee perception of unfair processes and low organizational justice, lowering employees’ trust in management and the organization. A performance appraisal should be a valid measure of what employees can accomplish within their position and should be used to identify and celebrate strengths and create skill-development plans. Performance appraisals should be an occasion for managers to assess and address employees’ contributions, their future aspirations, and how they think they could improve personal and team performance. It should be a time for managers to listen, not just to evaluate. By doing so, managers will get a sense of where each employee is heading, making it a great tool for succession planning. For instance, if an employee demonstrates good leadership potential and aspires to a management position, he or she could be invited to participate in a leadership development program and/or be given additional responsibilities that will increase his or her chances of obtaining a desired position within the organization. If performance appraisals are not conducted fairly or if there are no actions taken for employees who do not reach organizational goals or perpetrate counterproductive work behaviors, the process will be viewed as biased and invalid and hardworking employees may receive similar performance results as teammates who are not working as hard. This sends three messages: 1demployees who continuously underperform will still keep their job and be perceived positively by the organization, 2demployees who meet or exceed expectations and goals will never get the recognition they deserve, and 3dorganizational promotion processes will be biased as they are, in a large part, based on previous performance appraisals. Poorly conducted performance appraisal systems, thus, affect an organization’s ability to hire good leaders in the long run, as leaders are often selected based on past performance appraisals. Perception of poor quality performance appraisal systems is associated with low job satisfaction, low organizational commitment, and with an increase in employee turnover (Brown, Hyatt, & Benson, 2010). In fact, Murphy and Cleveland (1991) suggest that performance appraisal systems need to be accepted by both raters and rates. Both perceived accuracy and outcome are important for employees to trust the appraisal process. Note that, if the performance appraisal process is flawed, organizations will not lose employees who underperform as they will gladly continue “not working” for them; rather, they will lose their best talents who want their work to be recognized. In some cases, underperforming employees may increase their performance if they receive appropriate training and support or by being transferred to a position better suited to their skills. None of these solutions will be implemented if the
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manager does not address performance issues. Having a flawed performance appraisal system is, in a way, worse than not having one at all, as it gives the illusion that employees are evaluated on their work, and it serves as the perfect tool for employees with dark personalities to manipulate and create an image that will allow them to reach management positions. and stay there.
How dark individuals manipulate performance appraisal systems As mentioned in a chapter on corporate psychopathy I wrote with colleagues: “Some individuals are masters at shadow puppetry and, given the right light, they can convince their audience that what they see is the entire story” (Mathieu, Babiak, & Hare, 2020). What we meant by that was that some individuals spend countless work hours creating a false positive image of themselves, making it difficult for their managers to differentiate between the shadows they see and reality. Without a proper performance appraisal system, it is almost impossible to see who these individuals really are and what they do. Babiak (2016) presents the Psychopathic Process Model in which he proposes five career phases observed in corporate psychopaths. I believe that these phases could also describe the modus operandi of other dark personalities. Phase 1: Organizational entrydTwo factors facilitate entry for psychopathic candidates: most organizations use unstructured interviews in which psychopaths thrive by manipulating their image. Furthermore, credentials are rarely verified, making it easy for psychopaths to lie on their curriculum vitae and during the interview. This phase has been addressed in Chapters 2 and 3 where best practices to minimize the risk of hiring individuals presenting dark personalities have been presented. In the following phases, Babiak (2016) explains how psychopathic individuals function within an organization and how they manipulate their way to management positions. Phase 2: AssessmentdPsychopaths “scan” the organization to identify key players and individuals who could be useful to the psychopath (i.e., they identify pawns and patrons). They begin creating a network and an image that will form their basis for future manipulation. Phase 3: ManipulationdPsychopaths use communication networks to create their image, create conflicts, and spread disinformation to further their careers. They spend a lot of time one on one with their targets. They use pawns to do their work, patrons to protect them, and discredit any detractors or rivals. They use the “divide and conquer” philosophy; by creating conflict and distrust among coworkers, they make sure that employees and managers do not share information that could expose the psychopath’s schemes.
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Phase 4: During this phase, the psychopath’s manipulation, violence, and abuse are usually discovered by pawns who realize they are being played. During this phase, pawns realize that the “closer than usual” business relationship that they thought genuine with the psychopath is, in fact, all an act. However, as Babiak (2016) mentions, when the pawns try to talk to management or coworkers, they realize that their reputation has been damaged by the psychopath, and they find themselves isolated. This situation creates a feeling of shame for having trusted and having developed a deeper and more emotional relationship with the psychopath. Phase 5: AscensiondBabiak (2016) mentions that, at that point, the psychopath has built a strong network of powerful individuals and is able to manipulate the organization’s power structure. At that time, some patrons are no longer indispensable for the psychopath and are moved aside. “The patron has now become the patsy” (Babiak, 2016). For a more detailed description of these phases, see Babiak and Hare’s book on corporate psychopathy: Snakes in Suits, revised edition (Babiak and Hare, 2019). Babiak’s description of how psychopathic individuals operate in the workplace is in-line with what is presented in a chapter by Shapiro and Von Glinow (2007) entitled “Why bad leaders stay in good places.” The authors explain why it is difficult for organizations and employees to identify leaders’ “bad behaviors,” and to make leaders accountable for these behaviors. They also present how organizational structures enable these negative behaviors. The authors address the fact that management performance appraisal systems, which are often flawed, ineffectively conducted, or simply inexistent, are a part of the organizational structures that enable managers’ wrongful actions. The authors introduce a model composed of three elements explaining how bad managers remain in their position (Shapiro & Von Glinow, 2007). 1. The first element is job complexity. Management positions are far more complex to assess during a performance appraisal than lower-level positions. Organizations who do decide to assess manager performance usually base their evaluations on measurable behaviors and goals. This means that managers are more likely to be evaluated on meeting financial goals and task-related behaviors rather than on interpersonal or people-oriented behaviors. 2. The second element brought forward by the authors is that leaders have many sources of power that shield them from negative evaluations. One such source lies in employee loyalty and trust toward their leader; another source lies in the fear engendered in their employees. In sum, in regards to cognitive and affective aspects, the authors mention that “. leaders exert both cognitive and emotional pulls on followers, and, as such, can easily blind them from recognizing or punishing bad behaviors, thereby shielding them from negative evaluations” (Shapiro & Von Glinow, 2007, p. 95).
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3. The third element is the leaders’ network consisting of their access to high ranking others inside and outside the company as well as the leader’s access to media resources. The authors indicate that employees tend to rely on social cues to attribute blame, and wrongdoers can more easily escape blame when wrongful behaviors are carried out in ambiguous circumstances, as well as when social cues favor the wrongdoer’s claim. These social cues may be verbal or written support for the individual coming from influential individuals inside or outside the organization. As you may notice, although Shapiro and Von Glinow (2007) did not refer to the personality traits that allow leaders to manipulate and create a network of powerful individuals, their model of “how bad bosses stay in good places” mirrors the Psychopathic Process Model presented by Babiak (2016). In fact, Babiak takes it a step further in defining who these bad bosses are by explaining manipulative behaviors using an underlying dark personality profile. As I mentioned, I believe that other dark personalities may operate in similar ways within organizational settings. Recall from previous chapters that Jones & Figueredo (2012) found the common core between Dark Triad (DT) personalities to be associated with Hare’s Psychopathy Factor 1 (based on Hare’s instrument the Psychopathy ChecklisteRevised; (Hare, 2003)), which includes Interpersonal Manipulation (superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, lying, and manipulation) and Callous Affect (lack of guilt, lack of empathy, emotionally shallow, and failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions). It, thus, seems that manipulation and callous affect, which are at the core of all three dark personalities, allow these individuals to gain power within organizations and become almost untouchable. As a matter of fact, Lee & Ashton (2012) report that individuals low on Hexaco’s Honesty-Humility factor (recall that all DT personalities are low on the Honesty-Humility factor) use deceit to gain power and then abuse that power within the workplace.
Performance evaluation biases Perceived similarity Perceived similarity bias refers to the assumption that “people will be rated higher the more similar they are to the rater or the more similar the rater believes people are to him/herself” (Strauss, Barrick, & Connerly, 2001, p. 638). A study by Strauss, Barrick, & Connerly (2001) shows that actual personality similarity between supervisor and employee did not significantly predict supervisor’s performance rating of the employee rather, perceived personality similarity predicted supervisor’s performance rating of the employee. Wayne & Liden (1995) found that employees who use supervisor-focused impression management (IM) behaviors (flattery, communicating feelings of admiration,
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doing favors for the supervisor) were more likely to be liked by their supervisor and to be perceived by their supervisor as similar to them. Furthermore, Wayne & Liden (1995) found that the relationship between actual and perceived similarity was not higher for those who knew each other better. This last result is an indication that perception of similarity is more strongly related to the other person making us feel like we are similar to them than actual similarity. The fact that researchers refer to psychopathic individuals as social chameleons, able to adapt and change to any situation, hiding their true nature (Babiak & Hare, 2019) is a good indication that individuals presenting dark personalities may be very good at creating an impression of similarity.
Social desirability bias Social desirability bias in selection or performance assessment is the tendency to rate employees according to socially (or in this case organizationally) desired achievements or traits instead of using objective performance criteria. For example, if a manager is extremely goal-oriented, his or her superior may give him/her higher scores on interpersonal leadership behaviors than they should as they are influenced by the fact that the manager is able to bring in contracts and create profit, thereby achieving desired task-related goals. Bellizzi & Bristol (2005) report that sales managers are more lenient in disciplining sales representatives’ ethical infractions when representatives achieved top sales. Further, the authors found that the leniency in the treatment of unethical acts for employees achieving top sales remains even in the presence of a pattern of previous unethical behaviors and an explicit organizational policy proscribing these unethical acts. This phenomenon is not only based on social desirability, but it is also based on profit desirability. “The devil is more devilish when respected,” a quote from Elizabeth Barrett Browning is associated with the notion of social desirability bias. Indeed, supervisors conducting employee performance appraisals are as strongly influenced by socially desirable traits and cues as professionals in charge of employee selection. We have talked about external cues and personality traits socially associated with success and how they influence decisions and behaviors toward individuals who display them. Within an organization, I would say that social desirability becomes “organizational desirability,” which refers to behaviors and results that are in-line with an organization’s values. In an organization driven by profit, performance appraisal systems will be biased toward individuals who bring in a lot of business or are goal-oriented. Indeed, in profit-oriented organizations, negative behaviors that would normally decrease performance appraisal results will be disregarded if the employee or manager contributes to the organization’s profitability. This may explain, in part, how individuals who use unethical, abusive, or disrespectful interpersonal behaviors may receive positive performance evaluation reviews.
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Escalation of commitment effect Individuals may be committed to a course of action to be concordant with their past behavior, to avoid future setbacks, and because they are expected to be consistent in their actions (Staw, 1981). This means that individuals will continue to take actions that follow the course of their initial decision in order to justify their initial decision, even if they have signals to the effect that there are problems with the course of action. Bazerman, Beekun, & Schoorman (1982) conducted a study on the impact of supervisors having made the hiring decision on subsequent performance appraisal of an employee. The authors found that the study participants who were told that they had made the decision to hire an employee rated the employee’s performance more positively than study participants who were told that the hiring decision was made by someone else. It, thus, seems that when a supervisor is involved in the selection process of an employee, it introduces a positive bias for future performance appraisals of that employee. It may also be true that if a superior gave a good performance appraisal review in the past, he/she would be more inclined to continue with positive performance appraisals in the future. Staw (1981) mentions that administrators get trapped into a course of action due to external demand for success. To avoid this process, he suggests the following “Thus, it may be important to revamp performance evaluation systems facing administrators so that the motivation for action will shift from the defense of past actions to attainment of future gain (e.g., from a retrospective to a prospective basis). It may also be necessary to retrain administrators and resocialize students entering governmental and business organizations about the merits of experimentation versus consistency. In each of these ways, the actions of decision makers can perhaps be directed away from the tendency to escalate” (Staw, 1981, p. 585). An organizational culture that promotes experimentation rather than consistency also allows creativity and leaves room for learning from mistakes and exploring new solutions and avenues.
Halo effect Another cognitive distortion bias is the halo effect, which can be described as follows: “global evaluations of a person can induce altered evaluations of the person’s attributes, even when there is sufficient information to allow for independent assessments of them”(Nisbett & Wilson, 1977, p. 255). This bias happens without the individuals being aware of the process. The halo effect bias is of particular importance for performance appraisal, as managers know the employee and already have a global evaluation of him/her, which means that the global evaluation, whether negative or positive, will influence the employee’s performance scores regardless of available facts. Hun-Tong and
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Jamal (2001) found that senior managers evaluated memos of outstanding managers more positively than memos of average managers when they knew the memo’s authors’ identity but not when the managers’ identity was not revealed. While some of the biases known to influence performance appraisals are introduced by the evaluator or organizational culture (social commitment effect and social desirability effect), the influence of the individual being evaluated in other types of biases such as perception of similarity and Halo effect is also of importance. In the previous chapter, we learned about IM tactics used by individuals to increase their chances of being hired during the selection/ interview process. I believe that the same biases that favor DT individuals in a selection process continue to serve them well once they are in the organization.
Impression management and performance appraisal The choice of IM tactics used to make a good impression for career advancement within an organization may depend on the type of organization employees evolve in. Drory and Zaidman (2006) found that employees evolving in mechanistic systems (highly centralized, strong hierarchical structure, high levels of formalization) use more IM tactics and direct them more often toward their superiors than toward their peers. The authors also found that the type of IM tactics most often used by employees evolving in mechanistic organizations was Ingratiation (complementing the interviewer/ evaluator and opinion conformity). On the other hand, employees in organic systems (lateral responsibilities, exchange of information) used IM tactics to a lesser extent, and they directed it more equally toward superiors and peers. The IM tactic most often used by employees in the organic system was Initiation (attempt to demonstrate dedication, initiative, and extra efforts beyond the call of duty). The authors confirmed their assumption to the effect that “Through an assessment and learning process, organization members adopt the functional and appropriate impression management tactics, which will best serve their interests under the existing organizational system” (Drory & Zaidman 2007, p. 292). While using some forms of IM tactics may help showcase one’s talents and hard work, IM tactics are also used in dysfunctional ways to lie and manipulate others. Drory and Zaidman are proposing that individuals in different types of organizations use different types of IM tactics. The fact that employees in mechanistic organizations where power is centralized tend to use more IM tactics than employees in organizations where power is more evenly distributed is further proof of the importance of organizational culture in setting the tone for employee behaviors. Perhaps, as the authors mention, employees learn to adapt their IM tactics to the type of
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organization they evolve in, therefore referring to the notion of chameleon-like traits associated with corporate psychopaths. However, there is also the explanation that, perhaps, these two types of organizations hire different types of employees. An indication that this may be the case comes from results that I found when I looked at levels of corporate psychopathy in different types of organizations. Indeed, I found that employees and managers from nonprofit organizations present significantly lower scores on corporate psychopathy compared to private and public sector organizations. Therefore, it is quite possible that mechanistic, power-centralized organizations are more susceptible to attract, hire, and promote individuals who manipulate others to get what they want.
Impact of IM on performance appraisals Wayne & Kacmar (1991) studied the influence of the use of IM tactics by employees on their supervisor’s performance ratings and behaviors during a performance appraisal interview. The authors found that employees who engaged in IM tactics received a higher performance review than employees who did not use IM tactics. Moreover, regardless of employees’ objective performance, supervisors were less critical of employees using IM tactics during the interview. Furthermore, employees using IM tactics received more support and positive communication from their supervisors than employees who did not engage in IM tactics. This study measured the short-term, almost immediate, impact of IM tactics during a performance appraisal interview. However, one may ask, what is the impact of IM tactics in the long run? Wayne & Liden (1995) have conducted one of the few longitudinal studies on the impact of IM on performance ratings. In fact, they present a model of the process through which IM influences performance ratings. They propose that subordinates’ use of IM tactics influences supervisors’ ratings of the subordinate’s performance through the development of positive feelings toward the subordinate (supervisor liking the subordinate) and the supervisor’s perception of similarity to the subordinate. In essence, they believe that employees’ use of IM tactics influences the supervisor’s performance appraisal ratings of the employee by increasing employee likeability and perception of similarity with the employee. However, when testing this model, they found that subordinates’ supervisor-focused IM behaviors (flattery, communicating feelings of admiration, doing favors for the supervisor) was a stronger predictor of supervisor’s liking of subordinate and supervisor’s perceptions of similarity to the subordinate than subordinate’s use of self-focused IM behavior. Furthermore, they found that perceptions of similarity to the subordinate had a stronger influence than liking the subordinate on the supervisor’s performance ratings for the employee.
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Defensive IM tactics I did not address defensive IM tactics in much detail in the past chapter on selection, as I believe that, while a candidate may use defensive tactics during a selection interview, we are much more likely to see the use of defensive tactics in a performance appraisal meeting. Indeed, unless the candidate is put in a position to explain failure during a selection interview (which rarely happens since candidates can control the information they give to the committee on past successes and performances), candidates are more likely to use assertive tactics such as self-promotion and ingratiation than defensive tactics to increase their chances of being hired. Defensive tactics include excuses (claiming not being responsible for negative outcomes); justification (accepting responsibility for a negative outcome but convincing others that the outcome is not as bad as it seems); and apologies (accepting responsibility, making restitution to victims, and promising to behave appropriately in the future). Some managers may blame their employees for their division’s low performance; in fact, individuals with dark personalities are quite good at blaming others and making up excuses to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. I believe that individuals presenting dark personalities would not be likely to use the third defensive tactic unless the other two did not work or unless they knew that acting as if they were repentant was the only way to avoid negative consequences. As we have seen, individuals with dark personalities share a low capacity for empathy toward others. If they get caught and/or think that it is the only tactic left to avoid repercussions or reduce negative outcomes, they may apologize for what they have done. We see this tactic being used by criminals after they have been caught when other tactics have failed or proof of their wrongdoing is undeniable. They use apologies as an attempt to reduce sentencing or during conditional release interviews when they are eligible for parole. In the workplace, we have seen sexual harassment cases where perpetrators show signs of “remorse” when they are in the media, in front of a judge, or individuals in charge of the investigation. However, I believe that individuals with dark personalities will rarely admit their faults; they will most likely lie about their wrongdoing or try to prove that the impact of their wrongful behaviors was not as negative as it was made out to be. It is important to remember that employees with dark personalities will use a combination of self-promotion and other-promotion IM tactics to influence performance appraisals. If these tactics fail, they will use defensive IM tactics to explain how they are actually the victim and how what they are accused of doing they did for the good of the organization, making the supervisor believe that they are wrongfully accusing the employee. Remember that these individuals have put a protection net in place; they will not hesitate to use influential people to vouch for them and plant the blame on others in the organization. When it comes to dark personalities, IM is not a tactic; it is a way of life.
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IM tactics, promotion, and gender Singh, Kumra, & Vinnicombe (2002) report that men use more managerfocused IM tactics than women to get ahead. Manager-focused IM tactics include seeking out key individuals within the organization to increase their network, as well as the use of ingratiation tactics (opinion conformity and complementing others). The authors also found that, while both men and women understood the informal organizational processes associated with career advancement, men were more comfortable applying these processes than women were. Women seemed to prefer showing high performance and commitment to their supervisor rather than the networking, ingratiation, and self-promotion tactics used by their male counterparts (Singh, Kumra, & Vinnicombe, 2002). At the beginning of this chapter, I presented a model explaining why bad bosses stayed in good places that included self-promotion, and I linked it to Babiak’s model of the corporate psychopath’s ascension within organizations. I would like to emphasize that both models share a component related to networking and seeking out the support of powerful key individuals within and outside the organization. Since, as seen in Chapter 1, men tend to score higher on dark personalities, and since all three dark personalities are known to manipulate others to get what they want; it is not surprising to learn that men use more IM tactics during performance assessments than women do. What is more, in a study on the use of intimidation as an IM tactic in a law enforcement organization, authors found that the use of intimidation tactics is negatively related to supervisor ratings of likeability for women while it is unrelated to supervisor ratings of likeability when an employee is a man (Bolino & Turnley, 2003). In addition, the authors found that the use of intimidation tactics by men was associated with positive performance evaluation by the supervisor while it was unrelated to performance evaluation for women (Bolino & Turnley, 2003). This study introduces the disturbing but not surprising fact that, in certain types of organizations, intimidation tactics, when performed by men, are viewed positively by higher management. In my opinion, the most disturbing aspect of these results lies not in gender bias; rather, it lies in the fact that intimidation tactics can have a positive effect on an employee’s or manager’s performance appraisal.
Creating a performance appraisal process Most research on performance appraisal systems has been focused on the methods used to assess performance (how to measure) rather than on the elements that should be included and measured (what to measure). In order to increase the validity of an employee performance appraisal process, organizations should invest time not only in the process but also in measuring the appropriate competencies.
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What should be measured? Performance appraisal process (goals and competencies) Performance appraisals should be based on the competencies identified and measured during the selection process. In essence, the competency profile created for selecting the candidate for a position can and should be used as part of performance appraisals. It is only natural that the competencies identified as necessary to perform the tasks during the job analysis should be measured as a part of the employees’ performance appraisal once the employee is in position. Recall that the competencies identified for a position take into account not only the tasks associated with the position but also organizational culture and other factors associated with the position. If the selection process has been conducted with care, the competency framework used for selection purposes should be used for performance appraisal. However, the “assessment method” column will be changed from selection methods to performance appraisal methods.
How to measure it? To reduce bias effects, I suggest using a combination of methods to measure employee performance.
Management by objectives Management by objectives (MBO) means setting goals for the employee/ manager and scoring them on the degree to which they have attained these goals. Most organizations using MBO within their performance appraisals will focus on measurable, task-oriented goals. Goals are usually associated with performance on measurable behaviors or on tasks identified in the job description (that you will have completed for employee selection, see Chapter 3). However, I strongly suggest adding goals that target behaviors associated with a healthy workplace. If employees and managers are not evaluated on how they interact with others (interpersonal competencies) and what they do to improve wellness in the workplace, they will not likely spend much time trying to perform on these behaviors. This is part of “walking the talk,” a concept I was referring to at the beginning of this chapter. Organizations need to step-up, and if they want to change their culture toward a people-first culture, they will need concrete actions. Adding people-first competencies to employee and management performance appraisals and making them count as much as task-oriented competencies in assessing performance are a great way to create a healthy workplace. Goals should be exciting, motivating, and take into account employees’ and managers’ job descriptions. However, too often, employees are given goals that are either not clear or not realistic. When goals are not set properly
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and not monitored along the way, they can lead to feelings of discouragement for employees and managers and diminish their motivation and drive. Furthermore, many managers not only set goals that are unclear, but they also fail to provide the support and tools necessary for employees to succeed. Doran (1981) suggested the “SMART objectives” as an effective method for managers to set objectives for their department or team. The original version has since been adapted to relate to an individual’s performance objectives in the context of performance appraisals. The SMART acronym stands for: Specific (Clear, related to behaviors and tasks). Measurable (Achievement of this goal can and will be measured. How the goal will be measured should be explained to employees/managers. For example, a larger goal for a project that will take 6 months to complete should be divided into smaller measurable goals. Sometimes the task will be compared to a standard; this standard should be clearly presented to employees/managers). Achievable (The goal needs to be realistic, and employees and managers need to have all the training or support necessary to achieve it. An unachievable goal will discourage employees and managers and diminish their motivation). Relevant (The goal needs to make sense for the position and the organization. The goal should be linked to a business strategic plan or broader business objectives. Employees and managers need to know how this goal is related to the organization’s mission, values, and future plans). Time-bound (A realistic deadline should be clearly stated for the goal. If the deadline is too short, it will create stress for employees. It is easier to make adjustments to support employees or managers if the larger goal is divided into smaller goals, each with its own deadline). SMART goals are usually used for task-oriented objectives. However, as was mentioned earlier in this chapter, if organizations wish to change their culture to a people-first culture, they will need to add people-first goals (competencies, behaviors) within employees’ and managers’ performance appraisals. Through my work with the Canadian federal government, I discovered an amazing resource based on 13 psychosocial factors that increase psychological health and safety in the workplace. These 13 factors are discussed in detail on the Guarding Minds at Work (GM@W) website. Note that even though these 13 psychosocial factors have been created to assess organizations; I believe that these factors can be adapted and translated into measurable behaviors for employees and, more importantly, managers’ performance appraisals. The 13 factors are Psychological support, Organizational culture, Clear leadership and expectations, Civility and respect, Psychological competencies and requirements, Growth and development, Recognition and reward, Involvement and influence, Workload management, Engagement, Balance, Psychological
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protection, and Protection of physical safety. Managing diversity could be added to these factors. Each of these factors could be added to managers’ performance appraisals through a number of competencies and behaviors. An example of how these psychosocial factors can be included in managers’ performance appraisals is provided on my website.
Behaviorally anchored rating scales Behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) are a system that can be used to measure competencies in performance appraisals or employee selection processes. In fact, many use BARS to score individuals on behavioral and/or situational interview questions (see Chapter 3 for a definition and examples of behavioral and situational interview questions). Basically, instead of using a Likert-type scale that goes from 1 to 5 where 1 refers to “the candidate does not show signs of this competence,” 5 refers to “the candidate exceeds expectations in that competence,” and where 3 would be “the candidate demonstrated that he/she possesses this competence,” with BARS, you would detail what behaviors warrant each score from 1 to 5. For example, BARS for empathy could look like this: 1. Does not show interest in others’ emotions, does not consider others’ emotions when making a decision or taking action. 2. Shows only little interest in others’ emotions, recognizes that others may not be well; however, does not actively take action or adapt his/her behaviors to the situation. 3. Shows some interest in others’ emotions, recognizes when others do not feel well, takes action to help the individual, and/or adapts his/her behavior to the situation. 4. Shows interest in others’ emotions and takes into account how they feel when making decisions or taking action. Cares about the well-being of others around him/her and takes action quickly and effectively to address any ill-being people around him/her may suffer. 5. Shows constant interest in others’ well-being. The well-being of others is a priority for this candidate. He/she takes action quickly and effectively when others are not feeling well. He/she is proactive in instilling a healthy and positive work environment around him/her. Using BARS does not need to be complicated. If you have conducted a good selection process, you will already have identified the competencies that need to be evaluated. In fact, you can use the same BARS to measure a competency at different levels and for different positions. Take the example of empathy presented above; these BARS can be used for any type of job. Of course, as for the selection process, the competency profile for a performance appraisal process is different for each position. However, if you have built a large competency framework including all the competencies and skills for the different positions you have at your company, your behavioral interview questions, and your BARS for employee selection, you will be able to use the
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same competencies and BARS to evaluate performance. You will, thus, be able to simply conduct the job analysis, identify the competencies that need to be evaluated for either selection or performance appraisal, and copy/paste them into your documents to conduct the evaluation. Combined with management by objectives, using BARS is a great method to increase objectivity in a performance appraisal process. Furthermore, using BARS is a great way to test your selection process’s validity by comparing the scores obtained by an employee during a selection process to his/her performance appraisal scores once they are hired. Are candidates obtaining similar scores for competencies tested during the selection process now that they are occupying the position? If there are discrepancies, how can these be explained (is it the manager’s perception or the candidate’s use of IM tactics)? Experts who create measures are constantly looking at ways to increase their ability to predict actual competencies or behaviors. I believe that companies who invest in assessing and improving their selection and performance assessment processes will stand out by hiring the best employees for their positions and creating effective succession planning based on individual competency profiles. Total scores obtained on the BARS are associated with bonuses or give the individual access to promotions in some sectors or industries. Using a structured performance appraisal method increases the validity of the appraisal system and provides managers in charge of evaluating employee performance with useful tools. However, as seen earlier in this chapter, if the appraisal is completed only by the immediate superior, biases can be introduced. As is the case for selection processes, involving same-level colleagues and employees to collect additional information on the employee as part of the performance appraisal process is crucial, especially for managers; these multisource evaluations are called 360-degree assessments.
Multisource rating 360-degree assessments For 360-degree assessments, employees or managers are rated by their superiors, peers, employees, and they also rate their own performance (hence the reference to 360 degrees). As was the case for selection processes, using performance ratings from different sources increases the validity of the results. 360-degree assessments allow collecting what we referred to in Chapter 3 as collateral information. Some companies will add another layer and have external collaborators rate the employee or manager as well; however, 360-degree assessments are usually kept in-house. As you may imagine, 360degree assessments are time-consuming, and they are usually used at the management level. Conducting 360-degree assessments requires a great deal of care as confidentiality needs to be assured in order to protect the individuals who complete evaluations on others. I will address the importance of multisource feedback for leaders in more detail in Chapter 5.
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Nevertheless, since many organizations ask employees to rate themselves as part of their performance appraisal, it is important to understand self-other rating discrepancies that may arise in the course of a 360-degree assessment. I have added a section on self-other rating agreement in Appendix 3. In this section, I address how individuals who tend to rate themselves higher than they are rated by their employees or superior (overestimators) use more IM tactics, more intimidation, lack empathy, and are less productive. I also explain how personality and, in particular dark personalities, predict discrepancies in self-other agreement. Regardless of the reasons for discrepancies, they will need to be discussed in the form of feedback. 360-degree evaluations necessarily involve feedback as it is important for individuals to understand how they may be perceived by others in order to adjust their behaviors and interactions.
The importance of feedback in a performance appraisal process The general goal of performance appraisal processes is to increase employee performance. The problem is that if the performance appraisal review is not conducted effectively, it can actually lead to lower employee performance. Indeed, performance is influenced by many factors such as motivation, wellbeing, and job satisfaction. Kinicki, Prussia, Wu, and McKee-Ryan (2004) propose a model in which the credibility of the supervisor giving the feedback (trust in the supervisor, perception that the supervisor is knowledgeable) as well as perceived accuracy of the evaluation feedback influence employees’ motivation to respond to feedback, which, in turn, influences performance. As such, if employees trust the supervisor giving the feedback and see him or her as competent and if they perceive the appraisal and feedback as fair and accurate, they will be motivated to make changes and increase their work performance. On the contrary, if they do not trust their supervisor, they will not only perceive the feedback as unfair, but it will decrease their motivation to make changes and decrease their overall performance. The authors, thus, found that trust in the supervisor giving the feedback influences employees’ perception of accuracy in feedback (Kinicki et al., 2004). This is yet another reason to hire good managers who can instill trust in employees; the feedback they provide will affect employees’ motivation to increase their productivity. Furthermore, leaders high on responsibility, one of the traits measured by the Jackson Personality Inventory and associated with high Conscientiousness on the Five-Factor Model, are more likely to engage in developmental behaviors following multisource feedback (Smither, London, & Richmond, 2005). In a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of multisource feedback, Smither, London, and Reilly (2005, p. 33) found that: “Specifically, improvement is most likely to occur when feedback indicates that change is necessary, recipients have a positive feedback orientation, perceive a need to
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change their behavior, react positively to the feedback, believe change is feasible, set appropriate goals to regulate their behavior, and take actions that lead to skill and performance improvement.” Therefore, changes in performance following feedback are not only related to the feedback itself; it is also related to recipients’ personality traits and their perception of, and reaction to, the feedback they receive. Responsible and conscientious individuals are more likely to make adjustments and changes in their performance following feedback, which leads me to believe that individuals presenting dark personalities who are low on responsibility and Conscientiousness would not be likely to want to change their behaviors following feedback. Employees’ and managers’ acceptance of feedback has been associated with organizational cynicism levels (Atwater, Waldman, Atwater, & Cartier, 2000; McCarthy & Garavan, 2007), implying that employees who show higher levels of organizational cynicism are less likely to accept feedback. Results from a study looking into the relationship between Dark Triad personalities and organizational cynicism indicate that DT personalities predict organizational cynicism (Salessi & Omar, 2018). These results are an indication that employees and managers who present dark personality traits may react more negatively to feedback.
Dark personalities and reaction to feedback Kernis and Sun (1994) found that narcissistic individuals who receive positive feedback are more likely to perceive the evaluation as diagnostic and the evaluator as more competent. When they receive negative feedback, narcissistic individuals tend to view the evaluation as less diagnostic and the evaluator as less competent. This indicates that narcissistic individuals may not benefit from negative feedback as they associate negative feedback with evaluator incompetence rather than with their own lack of competence. Smalley and Stake (1996) found that, for high self-esteem individuals, fake negative feedback (unrelated to the individual’s performance) predicted a negative evaluation of the test as a feedback source (not of the evaluator) and resulted in positive emotions. However, for narcissists, bogus/fake negative feedback predicted a negative evaluation of both the test and the evaluator and triggered negative and hostile emotions. Furthermore, Bushman and Baumeister (1998) found that narcissistic individuals who received insults performed exceptionally high levels of aggression toward the source of the insult, while high self-esteem was not associated with aggression when the individual was insulted. A series of studies by Twenge and Campbell (2003) replicated the previous authors’ results and found that narcissism was associated with anger when self-reporting a past episode of social rejection. However, the authors took it a step further and found that narcissists aggressed more against someone who rejected them; they also used displaced aggression, meaning that they were more aggressive
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toward an innocent third party after being rejected. This last result is of particular importance for organizations and performance appraisal feedback. It indicates that narcissistic individuals are more likely to become aggressive toward the individual offering negative feedback during the course of a performance appraisal process. They might also retaliate and direct their anger and aggression toward their employees, teammates, or colleagues after receiving negative feedback. This should be taken into consideration when negative feedback is given to managers and employees. The supervisor responsible for performance feedback should closely monitor employees’ or managers’ behaviors toward others following feedback if the latter is negative. Note that Barry, Chaplin, and Grafeman (2006) found that an increase in aggression following negative feedback for individuals high on narcissism was only found in men. Indeed, the authors found that high narcissism in women was not associated with aggressive behavior following negative feedback. Moreover, the authors found a difference in aggression when using different normative standards to assess performance. It seemed that narcissistic individuals were more aggressive when they were given feedback comparing their performance to others or an idealized standard than if the negative feedback was given about past personal performance. These results may indicate how feedback may be given to narcissistic individuals to reduce potential aggressive behaviors following negative feedback, thus reducing the risk for both the assessor and employees working with the narcissistic individual (displaced aggression). In other words, anchoring negative feedback on a comparison of what the individual has accomplished in the past, or perhaps mentioning that the performance was below expectations based on the initial assessment of his or her competency profile may be a safer and more effective way to offer feedback when dealing with employees or managers with narcissistic tendencies. Jones & Paulhus (2010) found that, of the DT personalities, only narcissism is a predictor of aggression following an ego-threat provocation (insult). However, in general, individuals high on psychopathy showed more aggressive tendencies than participants high on narcissism, even when unprovoked (Jones & Paulhus, 2010). When assessing the role of the HEXACO traits on different types of aggression (proactive aggression, reactive aggression, and revenge), Book, Visser, Volk, Holden, and D’Agata (2019) found that the Honesty/Humility factor was the strongest predictor of all three forms of violence. All three dark personalities score significantly low on Honesty/ Humility. This further supports the value of adding Honesty/Humility to the list of competencies tested during the selection and promotion process. In fact, I believe that humility increases the chances of individuals accepting feedback. If an employee or manager lacks the humility to accept negative feedback and attributes it to the assessor’s incompetence or other external factors, they will not see the need to make any changes. Why change
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when you firmly believe that you are superior to others (even to the assessor)? Lack of humility is part of the challenges therapists working with patients with dark personalities have to face, and it is part of the reasons why conducting therapy with patients presenting dark personalities does not have a great success rate. Similarly, one can imagine that executive coaching, which entails feedback elements, may not be as effective with individuals who lack the degree of humility necessary to realize that change is needed.
Key elements for successfully implementing performance appraisal systems Training managers to conduct performance appraisals A performance appraisal system is only as good as the manager who uses it. A company could have the best performance appraisal system, but unless managers participate in regular training on how to put it into practice, the results will be invalid. Indeed, I have seen many companies who spend a lot of money hiring specialists to create thorough performance appraisal systems; however, they do not provide regular training for managers on how to use the system and do not provide any form of support. As presented earlier, in these conditions, managers complete performance appraisals for the form; they see it as a hassle more than as a useful tool, and they tend to give relatively high scores to every employee to avoid having to deal with problems. Training managers, especially new managers, on a regular basis on how to complete performance assessments and on performance appraisal goals is an essential element of having a performance appraisal system that actually measures and increases employee performance.
Monitoring managers’ performance appraisals Once the company has put a reliable performance appraisal system in place and offers regular training on how to assess employee performance; it is important to implement a monitoring system in order to evaluate managers’ performance appraisal skills. Unfortunately, unless performance appraisal skills are included in managers’ own performance appraisals; they may not invest the time and energy necessary to thoroughly accomplish this task. Conducting performance appraisals should be one of the skills measured for managers. It can even be added to a manager’s 360-degree feedback by asking employees to rate their supervisor on performance appraisal skills and to rate their satisfaction with their performance appraisal process.
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Holding managers accountable for the accuracy of their ratings Since managers want to be perceived as competent by their supervisor, having to report to their supervisor for accuracy in rating employees tends to diminish the leniency they may have toward their employees (Curtis, Darvey, & Ravden, 2005). Upward accountability seems to be a good method to increase the validity of performance appraisal assessment and feedback.
Introducing normative information Past research has established that the supervisor’s knowledge of employees’ self-assessment of their performance tends to influence positively (increase) their performance appraisal scores for the employee (Klimoski & Inks, 1990). Moreover, Shore and Tashchian (2002) found that poor performers who evaluate their performance as high are scored higher by their superior than poor performers who do not overestimate their performance. Solutions to reduce the effect of employee’s self-report appraisal on the supervisor’s assessment of the employee’s performance are 1dask managers to rate employees before they read employees’ self-appraisals, and 2dprovide managers with norms so that they can compare employees’ performance to what is expected or to the performance of same-level employees or managers within the organization. As presented earlier in this chapter, creating a sound and valid performance appraisal system using a competency profile, identifying behaviors and goals, and having a scoring system will reduce bias.
The use of performance appraisal for developmental purposes Research has established that using performance appraisal ratings for developmental purposes rather than simply for administrative purposes reduces rater bias (Greguras, Robie, Schleicher, & Goff III, 2003). Smither et al. (2005) took it one step further and found that when multisource feedback is used only for developmental purposes, it produces more positive gains in performance than when it is used for administrative purposes (associated with a promotion). This may, in part, explain why Smither et al. (2005) assert that, while multisource feedback may be an effective method to assess managerial performance, receiving multisource feedback does not improve managers’ performance over time. Performance appraisal systems should be used not only as a measure of employee performance but also as a skills development tool that allows to identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses in order to create a skills development plan.
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Follow-up on performance appraisals and organizational consequences While many managers complete their employees’ performance appraisals because it is a part of their job description, this process should not be taken lightly. As we will see in the next chapter on leadership, developing employees’ skills and coaching them is part of the best leadership practices; in fact, it is an integral part of Transformational Leadership. Performance appraisal meetings should include, in addition to assessing employees’ work and competencies, a discussion during which employees and their managers set new goals and discuss career aspirations. This will facilitate succession planning and, providing that employees are offered the tools and training necessary to reach their career goals; it will also increase employee retention. It is a great way to keep employees motivated, mobilized, and satisfied and provide the organization with an ongoing pool of employees trained for management positions. On the other hand, if employees did not reach their goals during the past year, it is crucial for managers to discuss with employees the reasons why the goals have not been met. Training and resources should be made available to allow employees to meet the goals and perform the tasks inherent to their position. Follow-up meetings every 2 to 3 months should be planned to assess how employees are doing and what additional support they may need in order to succeed. These meetings will allow managers to assess employees’ efforts to make changes and perform the tasks associated with their position. If, after 6 months to a year, an employee is still unable to reach the goals set for them, it will be time to discuss perhaps transferring the employee to another position better suited for their profile and aspirations or proceeding with other measures. The same process should be followed for managers who underperform. Again, I cannot stress enough that managers conducting performance appraisals need to be supported by both HR and higher management when dealing with subordinates who underperform. As I mentioned earlier, by not taking performance appraisal processes more seriously, organizations may be completely unaware of the great potential some of their employees and managers possess and, therefore, these organizations cannot celebrate their employees’ work. The risk here is not only losing great employees who will leave for another organization, but it is also keeping employees who are either underperforming or worse, wreaking havoc within the organization without anything or anyone stopping them. The latter is even more consequential if the employee wreaking havoc has access to power and resources and is responsible for other employees. Failing to conduct effective performance appraisals makes way to the rise of dark individuals within management ranks leading to one inevitable consequence: distress among employees.
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Practice Creating a performance appraisal system Based on the information presented in this chapter, create a performance appraisal system for the three job postings you have used to create a selection process in the previous chapter (sales representative, office manager, administrative assistant). For each of the three positions, your performance appraisal document should include: 1. The competency profile you have created in Chapter 3. 2. A new competency framework indicating the methods used to assess each competency (employee or colleagues’ assessment, supervisor assessment, other indicators). 3. Achievement of goals and tasks based on specific expectations and objectives. 4. A scoring table for competencies and goals. Note: I give examples of performance appraisal documents on my website. You may also want to create a 360-degree feedback assessment for which you will need to: 1. Identify competencies, behaviors, and goals you wish to have others score for the employee or manager being evaluated. 2. Create a questionnaire using a scoring system similar to the one you have created in step 4 above. For instance, if your scoring system is a scale from 1 to 5, make sure that you use the same scale in your 360-degree feedback to facilitate your overall scoring of the candidate. 3. Decide who will rate the candidate. 4. Prepare an instruction page for employees, colleagues, and supervisors who will be evaluating the individual. 5. Decide on the methods you will use to send the questionnaires, where and when others will complete the 360-degree feedback, and how you will receive others’ feedback while ensuring confidentiality. External information on managers’ employees, such as employee sick leave for mental health reasons, employee turnover, and number of complaints and grievances, can be collected to assess managers’ interpersonal management skills. An annual survey on employee well-being including indicators such as job satisfaction, turnover intentions and reasons for wanting to leave their job, satisfaction with their direct supervisor and higher management, psychological distress, incivility, harassment behaviors, supervisor and organizational trust, communication, and other indicators of management skills would be an excellent addition to managerial performance appraisals. Indeed, these types of surveys can indicate how employees, under different managers, fare on well-being indicators, which provide valuable information on leadership behaviors. I will discuss organizational surveys in subsequent chapters;
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however, as a quick note, I have added ready-to-use validated measures that you can use to create organizational surveys on my website. Moreover, collecting feedback from employees through surveys would also give information on leader misbehavior, which will be helpful in cases where an individual with dark personality traits is occupying a managerial role. In the next chapter, I address dark leadership behaviors and their negative impact on employees and the organization.
References Atwater, L. E., Waldman, D. A., Atwater, D., & Cartier, P. (2000). An upward feedback field experiment: Supervisors’ cynicism, reactions, and commitment to subordinates. Personnel Psychology, 53(2), 275e297. Babiak, P. (2016). Psychopathic manipulation at work. In C. Gacono (Ed.) (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledgge/Taylor & Franciss Group. Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2019). Snakes in Suits: Understanding and surviving the psychopaths in your office. New York: Harper Collins. Barry, C. T., Chaplin, W. F., & Grafeman, S. J. (2006). Aggression following performance feedback: The influences of narcissism, feedback valence, and comparative standard. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(1), 177e187. Bazerman, M. H., Beekun, R. I., & Schoorman, F. D. (1982). Performance evaluation in a dynamic context: A laboratory study of the impact of a prior commitment to the ratee. Journal of Applied Psychology, 67(6), 873e876. Bellizzi, J. A., & Bristol, T. (2005). Supervising the unethical selling behavior of top sales performers: Assessing the impact of social desirability bias. Journal of Business Ethics, 57(4), 377e388. Blau, G. (1999). Testing the longitudinal impact of work variables and performance appraisal satisfaction on subsequent overall job satisfaction. Human Relations, 52(8), 1099e1113. Bolino, M. C., & Turnley, W. H. (2003). Counternormative impression management, likeability, and performance ratings: The use of intimidation in an organizational setting. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 24(2), 237e250. Book, A., Visser, B. A., Volk, A., Holden, R. R., & D’Agata, M. T. (2019). Ice and fire: Two paths to provoked aggression. Personality and Individual Differences, 138, 247e251. Brown, M., Hyatt, D., & Benson, J. (2010). Consequences of the performance appraisal experience. Personnel Review, 39(3), 375e396. Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 219. Colquitt, J. A., Conlon, D. E., Wesson, M. J., Porter, C. O., & Ng, K. Y. (2001). Justice at the millennium: A meta-analytic review of 25 years of organizational justice research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 425. Cravens, K. S., Oliver, E. G., Oishi, S., & Stewart, J. S. (2015). Workplace culture mediates performance appraisal effectiveness and employee outcomes: A study in a retail setting. Journal of Management Accounting Research, 27(2), 1e34. Curtis, A. B., Darvey, R. D., & Ravden, D. (2005). Sources of political distortions in performance appraisals: Appraisal purpose and rater accountability. Group and Organization Management, 30(1), 42e60. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601104267666.
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Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a SMART way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management Review, 70(11), 35e36. Drory, A., & Zaidman, N. (2007). Impression management behavior: Effects of the organizational system. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 22(3), 290e308. Greguras, G. J., Robie, C., Schleicher, D. J., & Goff III, M (2003). A field study of the effects of rating purpose on the quality of multisource ratings. Personnel Psychology, 56(1), 1e21. Hare, R. D. (2003). The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised. Toronto, ON: MHS. Hun-Tong, T., & Jamal, K. (2001). Do auditors objectively evaluate their subordinates’ work? The Accounting Review, 76(1), 99e110. https://doi.org/10.2308/accr.2001.76.1.99. Jones, D. N., & Figueredo, A. J. (2012). The Core of Darkness: Uncovering the Heart of the Dark Triad. European Journal of Personality, 27(6), 521e531. Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2010). Different provocations trigger aggression in narcissists and psychopaths. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(1), 12e18. Kernis, M. H., & Sun, C.-R. (1994). Narcissism and reactions to interpersonal feedback. Journal of Research in Personality, 28(1), 4e13. Kinicki, A. J., Prussia, G. E., Wu, B. J., & McKee-Ryan, F. M. (2004). Acovariance structure analysis of employees’ response to performance feedback. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(6), 1057. Klimoski, R., & Inks, L. (1990). Accountability forces in performance appraisal. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 45(2), 194e208. Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2012). Getting mad and getting even: Agreeableness and HonestyHumility as predictors of revenge intentions. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(5), 596e600. Mathieu, C., Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2020). Psychopathy in the Workplace. In Alan Felthous, & Henning Sass (Eds.), The Wiley International Handbook on Psychopathic Disorders and the Law. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Mayer, R. C., & Davis, J. H. (1999). The effect of the performance appraisal system on trust for management: A field quasi-experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84(1), 123. McCarthy, A. M., & Garavan, T. N. (2007). Understanding acceptance of multisource feedback for management development. Personnel Review, 36(6), 903e917. Murphy, K. R., & Cleveland, J. N. (1991). Performance appraisal: An organizational perspective. Allyn & Bacon. Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). The halo effect: Evidence for unconscious alteration of judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(4), 250. Salessi, S., & Omar, A. (2018). Dark triad of personality, job satisfaction and organizational cynicism: A structural model. Universitas Psychologica, 17(3), 21e32. Shapiro, D. L., & Von Glinow, M. A. (2007). Why bad leaders stay in good places. In Research companion to the dysfunctional workplace (pp. 90e109). Shore, T. H., & Tashchian, A. (2002). Accountability forces in performance appraisal: Effects of self-appraisal information, normative information, and task performance. Journal of Business and Psychology, 17(2), 261e274. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019689616654. Singh, V., Kumra, S., & Vinnicombe, S. (2002). Gender and impression management: Playing the promotion game. Journal of Business Ethics, 37(1), 77e89. Smalley, R. L., & Stake, J. E. (1996). Evaluating sources of ego-threatening feedback: Self-esteem and narcissism effects. Journal of Research in Personality, 30(4), 483e495. Smither, J. W., London, M., & Reilly, R. R. (2005). Does performance improve following multisource feedback? A theoretical model, meta-analysis, and review of empirical findings. Personnel Psychology, 58(1), 33e66.
96 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Smither, J. W., London, M., & Richmond, K. R. (2005). The relationship between leaders’ personality and their reactions to and use of multisource feedback: A longitudinal study. Group and Organization Management, 30(2), 181e210. Staw, B. M. (1981). The escalation of commitment to a course of action. Academy of Management Review, 6(4), 577e587. Strauss, J. P., Barrick, M. R., & Connerly, M. L. (2001). An investigation of personality similarity effects (relational and perceived) on peer and supervisor ratings and the role of familiarity and liking. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74(5), 637e657. Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2003). “Isn’t it fun to get the respect that we’re going to deserve?” Narcissism, social rejection, and aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(2), 261e272. Villanova, P., Bernardin, H. J., Dahmus, S. A., & Sims, R. L. (1993). Rater leniency and performance appraisal discomfort. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 53(3), 789e799. Wayne, S. J., & Kacmar, M. (1991). The effects of impression management on the performance appraisal process. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 48(1), 70e80. Wayne, S. J., & Liden, R. C. (1995). Effects of impression management on performance ratings: A longitudinal study. Academy of Management Journal, 38(1), 232e260.
Leadership and dark personalities There are four statements that lead to wisdom: I don’t know. I was wrong. I am sorry. I need help. eChief Inspector Armand Gamache, from Louise Penny’s novels
Notice that each of these statements cannot exist without one trait: the ability to be humble. I believe that Louise Penny, a celebrated author (my favorite author), captured the essence of humility in these statements used by Chief Inspector Armand Gamache in her mystery novel series. I am convinced that humility is an essential trait of good leaders. Without humility, we lose our ability to be open to new ideas; we lose interest in the unknown, we become convinced that we possess the truth on all things, and, thus, lose the ability to evolve as human beings. Without humility, we lose our humanity. As Einstein mentions: “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.” He or she who thinks that they know everything and have nothing to learn from the world will never be open to experiences, to the mysterious and wonder Einstein talks about. Even though I work on dark personalities, I am still dumbfounded when I witness individuals making decisions that not only lack humanity but are downright cruel and who look confident in their decision, in their way of being while making others suffer. The worst part is when I talk to victims of these individuals and hear their hope that they will change, that they will, one day, feel guilt or suffer for what they have done. I often say to victims, “I know that you are hoping that this individual will one day realize what he/she did to you and suffer as you do now . or at least feel extremely guilty. The truth is, he/ she probably won’t.” At this point, we often laugh a little from the bluntness and, perhaps, out of discouragement. The problem is that guilt, just like humility, requires the ability to be empathic, understand others’ emotions, and care about others’ well-being as much as we care about our personal success.
Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00005-3 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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To admit that we are wrong means that we are open to the fact that we can be flawed, and this realization goes against the very fabric of dark personalities. Needless to say, humility falls very low on the list of competencies traditionally associated with leadership. In fact, most would consider it to be a weakness. How can a humble leader be an effective leader? The old adage “emotions have no place in business” is still present in most organizations. Nevertheless, I believe that humility is one of the traits that differentiate good from dark leaders. What does it take to be a great leader? This question has been answered in different ways for decades. In fact, leadership is the most studied subject in business. I believe that the answer to that question is very close to the answer to the following questions: what does it take to be a great friend, partner, or parent? Although most of what has been written on leaders pertain to leader characteristics and traits, I believe part of the answer to what makes a good leader lies in his or her followers. The poet Maya Angelou wrote one of my favorite quotes: “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” I once was asked how I can tell if a leader is a good leader; I replied, “I listen to what his/her employees say about him or her when he/she is not there.” It is impossible to be a leader on a deserted island. A leader needs people to lead. A leader can only be a leader if he/she has followers. In the leadership literature, we find more and more information on followers’ power and influence (the study of followership is beyond the scope of this book, but I encourage you to read on the subject). That being said, some make the mistake of thinking that having people to lead means that they are leaders.
Manager versus leader One can be a manager without being a leader, and one can be a leader without being a manager. Why is that you will ask? Simple: the traits necessary to become a leader or a manager are completely different. Companies still rely heavily on task-related skills when they hire and promote managers, which means that an individual can become a manager without having the skills to be a leader. Leadership is much more than being able to perform tasks related to a position. In fact, many of the world’s past and present leaders created their own paths, their own careers without a job description. Managers perform tasks and reach organizational goals; leaders change the world around them; they inspire others; they challenge the status quo. Good leaders are invested physically, mentally, and emotionally in what they do; good leaders care. Why are there so few managers who are also leaders? As organizational cultures are more focused on productivity and profit at all costs, organizations hire managers whose profiles align with these goals. There is no time or place for emotions in a culture of profit. Rather than coming from a place of
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creativity and inspiration, change is imposed by higher management, who often hire consultants to increase employee productivity. For example, every few years, we hear of new methods to make employees more efficient. Once I was working on employee mental health at a company where, a year before, an engineering consulting firm had come to measure and reduce the time employees were “wasting” by not being on task. The engineers calculated the amount of time employees spent looking out their windows. They then proceeded to install a sticky plastic screen on the windows that would let some of the light in but prevent employees from seeing outside. That was only one of the changes implanted, and these changes had a profound impact on employees. Indeed, the number of unsatisfied employees increased, and workplace mental health suffered. I would be curious to know the results of productivity tests for these employees, post-sticky plastic screen; I have a feeling that productivity did not increase. In another situation, I was called to give training on how to deal with stress at work to a group of employees in a hospital. As I was talking, I could see that employees were not doing well; some even cried. I cut my presentation short and talked with them. I learned that a consulting firm had come in about 8 months prior to my training session, and had changed their work routine without consulting employees. They had to start a job on one floor, then move to complete another job six floors above, then return to their initial job. They told me that it was physically impossible to accomplish what the consultants asked of them. The consultants had left, and so they talked to their manager, who did not act fast enough. Of the 30 employees on their team, more than half were on sick leave for burnout, and I have to say that by the looks on the remaining employees’ faces and their reactions during my training session, it would not be long before other employees would leave. Needless to say, having employees on long-term leave has a negative impact on the organization. However, it has a lasting impact on employees’ lives, not just on their careers. After my training, one of the employees asked me: “Is it normal that at the end of my workdays, I go home, I sit on my armchair and sleep, sometimes I do not have the energy to eat dinner.” I asked the employee about weekends, and it was a very similar scenario. We always focus on the impact of burnout on the organization; we forget that employees have lives, they have children, spouses, friends, activities that they love to do, a house or apartment to take care of, sometimes people around them to take care of as well. I call it burnout here, but the scientific medical term is Adjustment Disorder with depressed mood, anxious mood, or both. In the Diagnostic Statistical Manual V (DSM-5), which represents the reference for psychiatric disorders, adjustment disorder is classified under Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders. Some workplaces are so toxic that it is not surprising to see the disorder resulting from spending too much time in that environment classified in a
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section associated with trauma and stressors. In both cases presented above, leaders did not act or react in time to protect their employees and, more importantly, did not listen. In any type of industry, organizational culture stems from its leaders. Leaders decide the mission, vision, and values of the organization, creating its organizational culture. They then hire managers who embody this organizational culture they have created. If a company’s organizational culture is geared toward profit, growth at all costs, and competitiveness, which, let’s face it, is the case for most of today’s organizations; the profile of leaders who embody this culture will include low empathy, competitiveness, influence, strong presence, goal/result oriented, low humility, and action-oriented. As we have seen in Chapter 1, these are also traits associated with dark personalities and can lead (pun intended) to hiring managers who will have a very detrimental effect on their teams. As we have seen in previous chapters, individuals with dark personalities are attracted to power and money. It is, thus, not surprising to learn that they seek out leadership positions in organizations (Campbell & Campbell, 2009).
Dark personalities and leadership There are differences between the traits needed to be perceived by others as a leader (leader emergence) and being a good leader (leader effectiveness). Judge, Bono, Ilies, and Gerhardt (2002, p. 767) compare the two concepts as such: “Leader emergence refers to whether (or to what degree) an individual is viewed as a leader by others, who typically have only limited information about that individual’s performance. In contrast to being perceived as a leader, leadership effectiveness refers to a leader’s performance in influencing and guiding the activities of his or her unit toward achievement of its goals.” In their meta-analysis on leadership and the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality, Judge et al. (2002) found that Agreeableness was significantly related to leadership effectiveness but not to leader emergence. Moreover, when combining both leader effectiveness and leader emergence into a general leadership variable, they found differences in the relationship between leadership and FFM traits depending on the setting. For instance, while Agreeableness and Conscientiousness were significantly and positively associated with leadership for student samples, Agreeableness was not significantly associated with leadership in government/military setting. Neither Agreeableness nor Conscientiousness was associated with leadership in business settings. In other words, in business settings, the only significant associations between FFM traits and leadership were Neuroticism (), Extraversion (þ), and Openness (þ). In fact, the authors indicate that Extraversion was the only trait that generalized across the three settings, meaning that Extraversion was the most consistent correlate of a combined leadership emergence and
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leadership effectiveness score. While Extraversion might be associated with both leader emergence and leader effectiveness, leadership style and leader behavior are both explained by a combination of traits. For instance, an extraverted individual high on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness (warm, empathic, and ethical, for example) will be a very different leader than an extraverted individual low on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness (competitive, aggressive, not empathetic to others, and highly unethical). Personality is composed of a constellation of traits, not just one trait. While Extraversion is associated with leader emergence and leader effectiveness, it is important to look at other traits to explain good leadership and toxic or abusive leadership. Personality traits predict leadership behavior, and these behaviors influence the relationship between the leader and his or her employees, affecting employee attitudes and organizational outcomes. To sum it up, in Fig. 5.1, I present a model of how I conceive the effect of leader personality traits on employee and organizational outcomes. This model is, of course, simplistic and, as we have seen, organizational culture, providing that organizations walk the talk, does play an important role in influencing leader behaviors. An organization may influence its leadership by hiring the right leaders, providing clear expectations of leader behaviors, performing leader performance appraisals, conducting employee surveys, and, most importantly, taking action if there is a gap between leadership
FIGURE 5.1 Modeling the impact of leader personality on leadership style, employee attitudes, and organizational outcomes.
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expectations and leadership behavior. As it was so well said by Bass and Avolio (1993, p. 113): “There is a constant interplay between culture and leadership. Leaders create mechanisms for cultural development and the reinforcement of norms and behaviors expressed within the boundaries of the culture. Cultural norms arise and change because of what leaders focus their attention on, how they react to crises, the behaviors they role model, and whom they attract to their organizations. The characteristics and qualities of an organization’s culture are taught by its leadership and eventually adopted by its followers.” The quality of the relationship between leaders and followers will have a significant impact on followers’ attitudes and organizational outcomes.
LeadereMember Exchange theory “Whereas contemporary leadership theories, such as transformational, servant, or authentic leadership theories, are focused on the effects of leader behaviors on employee attitudes, motivation, and team outcomes, LMX theory views the dyadic relationship quality between leaders and members as the key to understanding leader effects on members, teams, and organizations” (Bauer & Erdogan, 2015, p. 3). In a meta-analysis, Gerstner and Day (1997) report that LeadereMember Exchange (LMX) has a positive impact on employees’ job performance, satisfaction with supervision, overall satisfaction, commitment, role clarity, and employee competence, and a negative impact on employee turnover intentions. In terms of personality traits, research has established that leaders’ Agreeableness has a positive influence on LMX (Nahrgang, Morgeson, & Ilies, 2009; Sears & Hackett, 2011). Schyns (2015, pp. 20e21) proposes theoretical considerations regarding how Dark Triad (DT) personalities may affect LMX. For Machiavellian leaders, she proposes, “Therefore, the assumption would be that Machiavellianistic leaders might have good relationship with followers they can manipulate. However, in the longer run, the relationship will deteriorate.” For narcissistic leaders, she suggests that “It seems unlikely that there are conditions under which this leader personality trait can lead to positive LMX relationships as the leader will not accept the follower’s relevance and thus not seek out a positive relationship. The followers are also unlikely to seek out a positive relationship with such a leader as that would imply almost complete submission.” As for psychopathic leaders, she hypothesizes that “The follower is unlikely to realize this charm as instrumental in the beginning, making it likely that a (seemingly) positive relationship can resultdat least from the follower’s point of view. The psychopathic leader himself or herself is less likely to report a positive relationship as relationships are not important to this type of personality. In the long run, when the follower has served his or her purpose, the leader is likely to cut off the relationship. Thus, the positive view of the relationship from the follower’s perspective is unlikely to persist for a longer time period due to the
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expected [negative] behavior by the leader.” Schyns’s hypotheses on the impact of dark personality traits on leadership style have been empirically tested, and the results are presented in the following section.
Dark leadership What are the personality traits associated with dark leadership? In a study on abusive leadership and personality, Breevaart and de Vries (2017) found that leaders low on Agreeableness and Honesty-Humility were scored higher by their subordinates on a measure of abusive supervision. In their review on ethical leadership, Brown and Trevino (2006) present a model in which ethical leadership is explained by high levels of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Moral Reasoning, and low levels of Neuroticism and Machiavellianism. A study on moral development and DT personalities found higher scores of psychopathy and Machiavellianism to be associated with lower levels of moral development (Campbell & Campbell, 2009). As we have seen so far, DT personalities have been found to present a portrait that is the opposite of the ethical leader: low levels of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and low Moral Reasoning. Therefore, DT personalities may be associated with unethical leadership, which, in turn, is associated with counterproductive behaviors and low levels of employee satisfaction, motivation, and commitment (Brown & Trevino, 2006). In addition to the traditional traits associated with ethical leadership, ethical leaders are receptive and open; they share a people-oriented philosophy with transformational leaders, indicating that they care about their employees’ well-being (Trevino, Brown, & Pincus, 2003). We could, thus, say that ethical leaders present a communal trait profile (connecting with others) whereas, we know that dark personalities present an agentic profile (wanting to stand out). While all three dark personalities share traits, as we have seen, they also differ on a number of traits, which makes them distinct. While the study of narcissism and Machiavellianism in the workplace has received more attention, empirical studies on psychopathy in work contexts are relatively new. Nevertheless, since all three personalities seek power and leadership positions within organizations, and since, as seen in Chapter 4, organizational structures (or lack thereof) and manipulation tactics allow them access to leadership positions, it is crucial to understand what type of leaders they become once they obtain a managerial role.
Narcissistic leaders Narcissism has been positively associated with emergent leadership (Brunnel et al., 2008). In fact, researchers have conducted a meta-analysis on narcissism and leadership and found that narcissism was positively associated with leader
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emergence but not with leader effectiveness (Grijalva, Harms, Newman, Gaddis, & Fraley, 2015). Similar to what was found by Judge et al. (2002), Grijalva et al. (2015) found that narcissism’s positive relationship with leadership emergence can be explained by Extraversion (recall that narcissistic individuals score high on Extraversion). In fact, Campbell and Campbell (2009) present a model of contextual reinforcement in which they explain that the cost/benefit ratio of the emerging context is far more interesting for narcissistic individuals than the cost/benefit ratio of the enduring (long-term) context. The authors present a matrix of costs versus benefits for the narcissist and for others in both emergent and enduring (long-term) situations. Although there were a few positives for others in the emerging situation (excitement, relationship satisfaction), the authors argue that there are no benefits for others in the enduring situation with narcissistic individuals. In fact, the list of costs of narcissistic individuals in the long term includes low levels of emotional closeness, infidelity, overconfident decision-making, compulsive spending, pathological gambling, suffering, confusion, aggression, sexual assault, volatile leadership performance, poor management, and destruction of commons (Campbell & Campbell, 2009). This has led the authors to explain that narcissistic individuals will try to return to emerging zones where the personal benefits outweigh the costs, which could lead to the pursuit of new relationships or a new position within an organization or with another organization. Grijalva et al. (2015) found that, while narcissistic individuals seemed to score higher on self-report measures of leadership effectiveness, supervisor, subordinates, and peer reports showed that narcissism was not related to leadership effectiveness (these results are an indication of narcissistic individuals being over-estimators when it comes to self-reporting their leadership skills). In fact, Ong, Roberts, Arthur, Woodman, and Akehurst (2016) found that narcissism was associated with emergent leadership but only for groups of unacquainted individuals. When individuals knew each other, narcissism was not associated with leader emergence. For both acquainted and unacquainted groups, narcissism was not related to leadership effectiveness (Ong et al., 2016). As leaders, narcissistic individuals are selfish, in the sense that instead of working for the good of the company, they work for themselves (Hornett & Fredericks, 2005) and seem to lack moral sensibility (Blair, Hoffman, & Helland, 2008). A selfish orientation paired with a lack of moral sensibility will inevitably give rise to negative or dark leadership behaviors, which, in turn, will generate damaging effects for employees and the organization.
Machiavellian leadership Machiavellianism favors leader emergence in low structures (Okanes & Stinson, 1974). Managers high on Machiavellianism also score high on “need
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for power” and low on “consideration” dimensions of leadership (Al-Jafary, Aziz, & Hollingsworth, 1989). Manager’s Machiavellianism is associated with authoritarian leadership and abusive supervision (Kiazad, Restubog, Zagenczyk, Kiewitz, & Tang, 2010). However, Wisse and Sleebos (2016) found that the relationship between Machiavellianism and supervisors’ abusive supervision was only present when the supervisors’ positions gave them high levels of power. This last finding is an example of how Machiavellian individuals adapt to their surroundings to better manipulate and get what they want; they wait until they perceive that they have enough power to use abusive behaviors toward their subordinates. This also means that, given more power, supervisors with Machiavellian traits will abuse their subordinates. This may be, in part, explained by the fact that Machiavellianism is associated with low ethical orientation (Rayburn & Rayburn, 1996). In fact, individuals high on Machiavellianism score low on ethical leadership style (Demirci, Gu¨mu¨s¸tekin, Mercan, Alamur, & Tiryaki, 2013). In a review on personality and charismatic leadership, House and Howell (1992) proposed a distinction between personalized charismatic leaders (self-aggrandizing, nonegalitarian, and exploitive) from socialized charismatic leaders (collectively oriented, egalitarian, and nonexploitive). The authors conclude that Machiavellianism and narcissism are associated with personalized rather than socialized charismatic leadership (House & Howell, 1992). In organizations, knowledge is power, and one way to exude power over others is to retain important information from employees or “to keep them in the dark.” Information can then be used to manipulate colleagues and employees or to manipulate outcomes. A study on knowledge share, an important behavior for team effectiveness, has shown that Machiavellian individuals are less inclined to share their knowledge with others (Liu, 2008). Not surprisingly, in a study on bullying at work, bullies presented higher Machiavellianism scores (Pilch & Turska, 2015). Kessler et al. (2010) introduce a new model of Machiavellianism in the workplace in which Machiavellianism is composed of three factors: maintaining power, harsh management tactics, and manipulative behaviors. These characteristics cannot be conducive to positive leadership.
Psychopathic leadership Psychopathy has been associated with leader emergence (Landay, Harms, & Crede´, 2019); however, psychopathic leaders are rated low on overall supervisory job performance ratings (Blickle, Schu¨tte, & Genau, 2018). Babiak, Neumann, and Hare (2010) have provided a more detailed view of the relationship between psychopathy and leader effectiveness. The authors found, in their sample of executives, that psychopathy was positively associated with in-house ratings of charisma/presentation style (creativity, good strategic
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thinking, and communication skills) but negatively associated with ratings of responsibility/performance (being a team player, management skills, and overall accomplishments). In other words, while psychopathic individuals may look like leaders, they do not act as such. Again, while charisma and presentation style may be the skills that helped them obtain and remain at a management position, their actual performance as leaders does not reflect what their presentation skills announced. As Babiak et al. (2010) mention, these individuals do not “talk the walk” when it comes to leadership. Conger (2015) examined charismatic leaders who had produced negative outcomes for their followers and their organizations. He found that these negative outcomes could be explained by (1) Vision (a vision that reflected the leader’s needs rather than organizational or followers’ needs and an exaggerated sense of market opportunities); (2) Impression management (tendency to exaggerate self-descriptions and claims); (3) Management practices (overly confident, can create antagonistic relationships with peers and superiors, can create excessive dependence on themselves and then idealize or devaluate followers; also, they are often ineffective administrators, preferring the “big picture”); (4) Succession planning (difficulty preparing a successor as they enjoy the limelight too much). Similar to what Conger (2015) has found, in Babiak and colleagues’ study, psychopathic managers obtained low scores on management skills (Babiak et al., 2010). In fact, Westerlaken and Woods (2013) report that psychopathic individuals score lower on positive leadership style (individual consideration of employees), and they score higher on passive leadership style in which the supervisor is absent. With colleagues, we have found that their employees scored psychopathic managers lower on positive leadership styles and higher on passive leadership styles (Mathieu, Neumann, Babiak, & Hare, 2015). Moreover, we have found that psychopathy predicts abusive leadership behaviors, which has a negative effect on employees’ job satisfaction and increases their intention to quit their job (Mathieu & Babiak, 2016). In that last study, we propose that psychopathy may be an underlying factor of abusive supervision. In business, we often focus on leader behavior instead of looking at the possible causes of these behaviors. Oftentimes, the solution taken by organizations to deal with a leader’s abusive or negative behaviors is providing training or coaching sessions, presuming the abusive behaviors are caused by a lack of managerial training. While a lack of managerial training may explain a leaders’ difficulty with managing organizational change, conducting effective meetings, or carrying out effective performance appraisals, I believe that it does not explain abusive behaviors. There is a difference between the absence of good managerial skills and the use of aggressive/abusive behaviors. Therefore, solutions for dealing with individuals lacking managerial skills should not be the same as methods used
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for dealing with managers who use abusive behaviors toward their subordinates. In fact, we found that psychopathic traits in leaders explained employees’ lower levels of job satisfaction, motivation, and higher levels of employees’ turnover intentions, and job neglect better than more traditional leadership styles (Mathieu & Babiak, 2015). Not surprisingly, we found that psychopathic leaders had a negative impact not only on their employees’ job satisfaction but also their employees reported higher workefamily conflict and higher psychological distress (Mathieu, Neumann, Hare, & Babiak, 2014). You may now be thinking, with all the negative impacts psychopathic leaders seem to have on others and the reported low leadership performance, why do companies see leadership potential in these individuals in the first place? Babiak (2007, p. 419) has compared psychopathic features to what is commonly identified as leadership skills. He pointed out how “charm and charisma” can be mistaken for “being a leader”; how “not showing emotion” can be seen as someone who is “in control and strong”; how “grandiose selfappraisal” can be misinterpreted as “self-confidence” or how a person “lacking remorse or guilt for hurtful behavior” can be perceived as “able to make hard decisions” and “action-oriented.” All of these typically fall in the generic arena of “good leadership qualities.” Remember that psychopaths are experts at impression management and are social and organizational chameleons who can easily make others believe that they are great leaders. Overall, it seems that, while individuals with dark personalities may be perceived as leaders at first glance and perhaps promoted to leadership positions, their effectiveness as leaders is far from being as glorious as their promises. As Babiak and Hare (2006, p. 239) report, “there is some overlap between things psychopaths do and good executives do, at least on the surface.the amount of damage a high-level bad hire can do to the organization can be significant.” Indeed, the human and financial costs of “bad bosses” are considerable (Quick, Quick, Nelson, & Hurrel, 1997). Once these individuals are in a leadership position, one of the only tools organizations have to detect and deal with them is performance appraisals. As presented by Hogan and Hogan (2001, p. 40), “Bad managers make life miserable for those who must work for them, and there is virtually nothing subordinates can do to defend themselves, except to suffer in silence. By developing methods for identifying bad managers we can help alleviate some of the unnecessary suffering of the working class.” In order to be able to identify bad managers, we need to be able to define good leadership. We then need to dress a profile for good leaders, which is what the practical section of this chapter will address. But first, let us consider how, from an evolutionary standpoint, dark personalities are associated with leadership.
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Dark personalities and leadership: an evolutionary explanation From an evolutionary standpoint, certain traits serve leaders well in terms of leader emergence. Judge, Piccolo, and Kosalka (2009) report two reasons for this: (1) Being a leader enhances opportunities for procreation; (2) Leaders with certain traits will be more likely to thrive and survive because they are in a better position to adapt and use adaptation to benefit themselves. However, desirable leadership traits depend on environmental culture. Thus, there needs to be a fit between leadership traits and behaviors and the values in the environment or culture to make a leader’s traits desirable. This takes us back to the notions presented in Chapter 2 concerning the role of organizational culture in attracting and promoting individuals with a certain set of skills that fit with the objectives and values promoted by the organization. We have seen examples of good nonprofit organizations projecting human values plagued with dark leaders. How, will you ask, are these leaders able to ascend to these positions if their traits do not fit with organizational values? As mentioned earlier in the book, Babiak and Hare (2019) explain that psychopaths are like chameleons who can hide their intentions and mimic what is expected of them. In fact, the authors state that psychopaths are “near-perfect invisible human predators” (Babiak & Hare, 2019). Psychopathic individuals usually join the ranks of nonprofit organizations because they see in them an opportunity to commit fraud. As Judge et al. (2009) mention, when a prey is caught, the alpha male or female is the first to eat, which means that they are the last to suffer from hunger. If we transfer this principle to organizational settings, when an organization does well, leaders are the first to benefit financially (think bonuses, raises, and promotions). On the other hand, leaders are the last to suffer when an organization is failing. In fact, once in position, Judge and colleagues explain that leadership serves the individual for survival and protection: “There is also a certain circularity that favors the leaderdthe better the leader, the more effective his or her group, and the better that group can (and will) protect the leader when threats inevitably arise. Thus, if a leader has traits that enable her or him to chose more able group members, she or he benefits directly as a function of that group member’s skills. If the leader also has traits that engender loyalty (unwillingness to leave collective, willingness to fight on behalf of or to protect the leader), then all the better” (Judge et al. 2009, p. 858). Recall that this concept of follower protection was also presented by Shapiro and Von Glinow (2007, pp. 90e109) as one reason why bad leaders stay in good places (see Chapter 4). If the leader is a good leader who takes care of his or her followers and makes sure that they have all they need to grow and prosper, then followers are protecting the leader for a good reason as he or she is making life better for them. However, if followers are protecting their leader because they are afraid of him or her, the long-term consequences can
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and will be detrimental for followers. The leader will take every organizational resource he/she can for himself/herself and exploit employees without any remorse or guilt. This refers to the ascension phase in Babiak’s Psychopathic Process Model presented in Chapter 4 (Babiak, 2016). Studying dark personalities and dark leadership gives us access to the behaviors that cause harm to employees and the underlying causes of these behaviors. However, the absence of dark personality traits does not guarantee positive leadership. For instance, an individual who is goal-oriented, highly conscientious, and presents low emotional intelligence would no doubt be effective in many organizational settings and positions; however, he or she, as a leader, would lack the ability to inspire followers, to listen to them, and to manage change effectively with his or her team. In other words, this individual does not possess the attributes needed to be a positive leader. Positive leadership is based on a constellation of traits that allows one to make life better for their followers. In return, followers will want to invest their time and efforts for the cause or goals the leader is pursuing. In order to hire and promote good leaders, we need to understand which leadership style/behaviors have been associated with positive leadership and positive effects on followers and organizations. In the practice section, I will extract competencies from positive leadership models and present a “bright leadership” competency profile. We will then work on creating a positive leadership profile that could be used for selection and/or performance appraisal. A performance appraisal that takes into account the competencies that can be found in the positive leadership profile will allow organizations to identify areas where leaders need training. First, in order to create a positive leadership profile, we need to increase our understanding of positive leadership by learning about different positive leadership models.
Positive leadership models Full-Range Leadership Model The Full-Range Leadership Model was conceptualized by Bass and Avolio and includes three leadership styles: Transformational leadership, Transactional leadership, and Laissez-Faire leadership. Transformational leadership is characterized by four factors (the four Is): Idealized Influence (giving employees personal attention to promote their development and achievement), Inspirational Motivation (exerting a powerful, confident, and dynamic presence while communicating high-performance expectations), Intellectual Stimulation (encouraging employees to think of an old problem in a new way), and Individualized Consideration (displaying role model behaviors through personal achievements, character, and behavior). “Transformational leaders integrate creative insight, persistence and energy, intuition and sensitivity to the needs of others to ‘forge the strategy-culture
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alloy’ for their organizations.” (Bass & Avolio, 1993, p. 112). Transformational leadership style has been associated with stress reduction in employees (Sosik & Godshalk, 2000), organizational commitment (Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996), team performance (Lim & Ployhart, 2004), and with employees’ psychological well-being (Arnold, Turner, Barling, Kelloway, & McKee, 2007). Transactional leadership is characterized by two factors: Contingent reward and Management-by-exception. “Essentially, transactional leaders develop exchanges or agreements with their followers, pointing out what the followers will receive if they do something right as well as wrong. They work within the existing culture, framing their decisions and action based on the operative norms and procedures characterizing their respective organizations” (Bass & Avolio, 1993, pp. 112e113). Transactional leaders are task-oriented in their leadership style as opposed to being people-oriented. From what I have found in my research, transactional leadership does not have the positive impact of transformational leadership and does not trigger the negative impacts of Laissez-Faire leadership. Laissez-Faire Leadership is defined as the “absence” of leadership and avoidance of intervention. Leaders who use this leadership style will delay making decisions, will not give feedback, and will not reward their employees for good performance; in fact, there is little to no effort put into motivating employees or recognizing their work at all (Avolio, Bass, & Zhu, 2004). Laissez-Faire leaders are absent when employees need them. Research has shown that Laissez-Faire leadership style is related to lower job satisfaction and lower satisfaction with one’s immediate supervisor (Judge & Piccolo, 2004). I have added Laissez-Faire Leadership style in this section on positive leadership only to give a complete portrait of the Full-Range Leadership Model, but it is not a positive leadership style. In fact, we found that psychopathic leaders score higher on Laissez-Faire leadership and lower on both Transactional and Transformational leadership styles (Mathieu et al., 2015).
Ethical leadership Ethical leadership can be defined as “the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making” (Brown, Trevin˜o, & Harrison, 2005, p. 120). Ofori (2009) found that ethical leadership was positively and significantly associated with transformational leadership, an organization’s transformational culture, leader effectiveness, employee willingness to put in extra effort, and employee satisfaction with the leader. The author did not find a significant relationship between ethical leadership and transactional leadership; however, he found a negative relationship between ethical leadership and
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Laissez-Faire leadership and a transactional organizational culture (Ofori, 2009). The findings also reveal that ethical leadership plays a mediating role in the relationship between employee outcomes and organizational culture. Brown et al. (2005) found that ethical leadership was positively associated with affective trust in the leader and negatively associated with abusive supervision. Furthermore, employees’ perception of their supervisor’s ethical leadership was positively associated with employees’ satisfaction with the leader, perceived leader effectiveness, willingness to put in extra effort on the job, and willingness to report problems to management (Brown et al., 2005). In their review on ethical leadership, Brown and Trevin˜o (2006, p. 597) report “To recap, the emerging research suggests that ethical leaders are characterized as honest, caring, and principled individuals who make fair and balanced decisions. Ethical leaders also frequently communicate with their followers about ethics, set clear ethical standards and use rewards and punishments to see that those standards are followed. Finally, ethical leaders do not just talk a good gamedthey practice what they preach and are proactive role models for ethical conduct.” This last sentence takes us back to the concept of walking the talk addressed in previous chapters of the present book.
Humble leadership Owens and Hekman (2012) proposed a humble leadership model that includes the following leader behaviors: (1) Admitting mistakes and limitations (admits mistakes, verbalizes gaps in knowledge or experience, takes responsibility for failure); (2) Spotlighting follower strengths and contributions (verbalizes appreciation for contributions, acknowledges employees’ strengths, says “we” when talking about successes); (3) Modeling teachability (shows openness toward learning, models follower tasks, and seeks feedback, listens more than talks, considers alternative views). The authors then present a set of contingencies or factors related to leader traits that influence the impact of leaders’ humble behaviors. The two contingencies are (1) Competence (Attribution of expertise, attribution of decisiveness, attribution of confidence); (2) Sincerity (Attribution of genuineness, attribution of consistency). Humble leader behaviors are positively associated with employee creativity (Wang, Liu, & Zhu, 2018), employee retention, job satisfaction, employee engagement, and team learning orientation (Owens, Johnson, & Mitchell, 2013). Nielsen, Marrone, and Slay (2010) propose that humility is an antecedent of socialized charismatic leadership. As presented at the beginning of the chapter, socialized charismatic leadership is associated with collectively oriented, egalitarian, and nonexploitive behaviors as opposed to personalized charismatic leadership, which is associated with self-aggrandizing, nonegalitarian, and exploitive behaviors (House & Howell, 1992). Owens and Hekman (2012, p. 801) conclude that “Rather than just talking about the importance of continual learning or supporting programs for followers’
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development and growth, humble leaders transparently exemplify how to develop by being honest about areas for improvement (i.e., acknowledging mistakes and limitations), encouraging social learning by making salient the strengths of those around them (spotlighting follower strengths), and being anxious about listening, observing, and learning by doing (modeling teachability).” Li, Liang, and Zhang (2016) found that humble leadership reduces employee turnover through the development of organizational identification. This means that, by using humble leadership, leaders increase employees’ identification with their organization, which, in turn, reduces their intention to leave the organization.
Servant leadership “Although influence is generally considered the key element of leadership, servant leadership changes the focus of this influence by emphasizing the ideal of service in the leader-follower relationship.” (Van Dierendonck, 2011, p. 1229). Spears (2010) presented 10 characteristics of servant leaders: (1) listening (emphasizing the importance of communication and seeking to identify the will of the people); (2) empathy (understanding others and accepting how and what they are); (3) healing (the ability to help make whole); (4) awareness (being awake); (5) persuasion (seeking to influence others relying on arguments, not on positional power); (6) conceptualization (thinking beyond the present-day need and stretching it into a possible future); (7) foresight (foreseeing outcomes of situations and working with intuition); (8) stewardship (holding something in trust and serving the needs of others); (9) commitment to the growth of people (nurturing the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of others); (10) building community (emphasizing that local communities are essential in a persons’ life). In his review of different models of servant leadership, Van Dierendonck (2011) combined conceptual models and proposed six key characteristics of servant leadership behavior: (1) Empowering and developing people (fostering proactive self-confident attitudes in employees), (2) Humility (accepting that one needs help from others, modesty), (3) Authenticity (Integrity, adherence to a moral code), (4) Interpersonal acceptance (warmth, compassion, understanding other’s emotions), (5) Providing direction (letting people know what is expected of them, providing accountability, creating new ways of tackling problems), (6) Stewardship (taking responsibility, acting as a role model for others). Both conceptualizations of servant leadership include putting people first and include elements of transformational and humble leadership. Stone, Russell, and Patterson (2004) propose that the main difference between transformational leadership and servant leadership is the leader’s focus. The authors posit that, while the transformational leader’s focus is on the
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organization and building followers’ engagement toward organizational objectives, the servant leader’s focus is on followers and achieving organizational objectives is but an outcome (Stone, Russell, & Patterson, 2004). Understanding that there is a shift in leadership toward leaders who care for their employees’ well-being, some leaders may say they put their employees’ needs first; still, their attention and actions remain result oriented. Van Dierendonck warns that “Caring for one’s followers should not be purely an instrument of financial success. A servant-leader works toward building a learning organization where each individual can be of unique value” (Van Dierendonck, 2011, p. 1231). Servant leadership is associated with higher employee job satisfaction (Cerit, 2009), employee empowerment (Newman, Schwarz, Cooper, & Sendjaya, 2017), employee organizational commitment (Lapointe & Vandenberghe, 2018), employee/team performance, and organizational performance (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014). Liden et al. (2014) found that servant leadership was negatively related to narcissism and positively related to firm performance. Newman et al. (2017) report that servant leadership increases employees’ perception of LMX (recall that LMX focuses on the quality of the exchange/relationship between the leader and his/ her followers). As presented in the simple leadership model at the beginning of this chapter (see Fig. 5.1), leadership style and behaviors affect the relationship between a leader and his or her followers, which, in turn, affects followers’ attitudes and organizational outcomes.
Leadership traits As we have seen, leadership style and behaviors are a result of leader personality traits. While clinical and social psychologists work on personality disorders and personality traits, industrial-organizational psychologists are interested in the manifestation of these traits in the workplace. Therefore, I/O psychologists use a combination of traits from personality measures to create competencies they are interested in assessing. The Neo-PI-3 (McCrae, Costa, Paul, & Martin, 2005) is a popular measure used by I/O psychologists. It is based on the FFM of personality, and each of the FFM factors is composed of six subscales. While research is mostly preoccupied with the five factors composing the FFM when conducting studies, I/O psychologists will use a combination of the scores obtained by candidates on the subscales to create their competency framework. The subscales allow a finer grain analysis into a candidate’s profile. Take, for example, the Neuroticism subscales of the NEOPI (see Table 5.1 below): Two individuals may obtain the same total Neuroticism score, but one is high on Anxiety, low on Angry Hostility, high on Depression, high on Self-Consciousness, low on Impulsiveness, and high on Vulnerability. Typically, this individual is socially insecure and may have difficulty handling stressful situations; he/she easily feels sad and hopeless, embarrassed in social situations, and may feel panicked when facing
Openness to experience
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TABLE 5.1 Factors and subscales of the NEO-PI-3 (McCrae et al., 2005).
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emergencies. The second candidate is low on anxiety, is not easily discouraged, and is not prone to having feelings of inferiority in social situations; he/ she perceives himself/herself as capable of handling difficult situations. However, the second candidate is also high in angry hostility, which means that he/she tends to feel frustrated and bitter; furthermore, he/she scores high on impulsiveness, which means that he/she has difficulty resisting temptations and has a low tolerance for frustration. The second individual’s overall profile is someone who does not feel inferior in social situations, who tends to feel very little depression or anxiety, who is bitter, and may react aggressively. These two profiles are very different. While these two individuals obtained the same score on the overall Neuroticism scale, they would definitely behave in very different ways in the workplace. Table 5.1 presents the five factors and 30 subscales for the NEO-PI-3. (Lynam & Widiger, 2007) have tested psychopathic individuals on the NEO-PI subscales and found that psychopathic individuals score very low in all facets of Agreeableness except Trust. They also scored low on 4 of the 6 facets of Conscientiousness (Dutifulness, Achievement striving, Selfdiscipline, and Deliberation). According to the authors, psychopathic individuals scored low on Self-consciousness and high on Angry hostility and Impulsiveness from Neuroticism. Finally, psychopathic individuals scored low on Warmth and Positive emotions but high on Excitement seeking from Extraversion. The subtleties in measuring competencies are essential as they provide useful information on candidates that may help prevent hiring individuals with dark personalities. The key to making an effective selection for employees and leaders is to create a good competency framework using many subscales from different sound and valid measures. Keeping this in mind, in the practical section of this chapter on dark leadership, we will attempt to build a leadership competency profile that includes the competencies associated with positive outcomes for followers. First, let us look at the traits identified in the leadership literature as having positive impacts on employees. I have created a table (Table 5.2) that presents competencies associated with positive leadership styles.
Practice: building a positive leadership competency profile for selection, performance appraisal, and promotion In Appendix 4, you will find an example of a Bright Leadership Competency Table. On my website, you will also find information on a Bright Leadership Measure that I have created.
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TABLE 5.2 Competencies associated with positive leadership styles. Leadership style
Agreeableness (Judge and Bono, 2000; Rubin, Munz, & Bommer, 2005) Extraversion (Judge and Bono, 2000) EI (Rubin et al., 2005) Adherence to moral standards and rules (Van Eeden, Cilliers, & Van Deventer 2008) Strategic thinking (Van Eeden et al. 2008) Innovation (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Responsibility (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Perseverance (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Trust in others (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Tolerance toward others (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Assertiveness (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Involving others in decision-making (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Caring (Van Eeden et al., 2008) Warmth (Hetland and Sandal, 2003)
Humility (Owens & Hekman, 2012) Listening (Owens & Hekman, 2012) Admitting mistakes (Owens & Hekman, 2012) (taking responsibility for mistakes) Modeling teachability (Owens & Hekman, 2012) Spotlighting followers’ strengths (coaching) and contributions (acknowledgment) (Owens & Hekman, 2012) Openness to learning from others (Owens & Hekman, 2012)
Agreeableness (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Conscientiousness (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Moral reasoning (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Locus of control (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Need for power inhibition (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Integrity (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Honesty (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Trustworthiness (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Organized (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006) Impulsivitydor (self-control þ) (Brown & Trevin˜o, 2006)
Humility (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Authenticity (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Interpersonal acceptance (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Empowering and developing people (Van Dierendonck, 2011) EI (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Loyalty (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Social responsibility (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Teamwork (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Problem-solving (Van Dierendonck, 2011)
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TABLE 5.2 Competencies associated with positive leadership styles.dcont’d Leadership style
Competencies Values and convictions (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Warmth (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Creates trust (Van Dierendonck, 2011) Recognition of employees (Van Dierendonck, 2011)
Agreeableness (Nahrgang et al., 2009)
Using the competencies associated with positive leadership styles presented in Table 5.2: l
Create a leadership competency framework that can be used for leader selection, performance evaluation, and promotion. These competencies can be combined with others, depending on the position you wish to fill. This table will also be helpful for leader training and coaching (skills development programs). For skills development programs or executive coaching, instead of using “low, moderate, high” for each competency, I used “Needs development, mastered, and strength.” You can use other terms, of course, and a 5-point scale instead of the 3-point scale; some may even want to use color (red, yellow, and green) to identify weakness, average scores, and strengths. Create behaviorebased selection questions for each competency in the profile. Identify ways to evaluate these competencies in a performance appraisal context. You can create a performance appraisal scoring table or create a survey incorporating questions on these competencies. You could also associate measurable behaviors related to these positive leadership competencies for 360-degree feedback or other performance appraisal systems. You may wish to add these new competencies to the selection document you created in Chapter 3 or to the performance appraisal document you created in Chapter 4.
References Al-Jafary, A., Aziz, A., & Hollingsworth, A. (1989). Leadership styles, Machiavellianism, and needs of Saudi Arabian managers. International Journal of Value-Based Management, 2(1), 103e111.
118 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Arnold, K. A., Turner, N., Barling, J., Kelloway, E. K., & McKee, M. C. (2007). Transformational leadership and psychological well-being: the mediating role of meaningful work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(3), 193e203. Avolio, B. J., Bass, B. M., & Zhu, F. W. (2004). Multifactor leadership questionnaire: manual and sampler set. Mind Garden. Babiak, P. (2007). From darkness Into the light: psychopathy in industrial and organizational psychology. In H. Hugues, & J. C. Yuille (Eds.), The Psychopath: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 411e428). Routledge. Babiak, P. (2016). Psychopathic manipulation at work. In C. Gacono (Ed.) (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledgge/Taylor & Franciss Group. Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2006). Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work (p. 352). New York: Harper Business. Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2019). Snakes in Suits: Understanding and Surviving the Psychopaths in Your Office (p. 416). New York: HarperCollins. Babiak, P., Neumann, C. S., & Hare, R. D. (2010). Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 28(2), 174e193. Barling, J., Weber, T., & Kelloway, E. K. (1996). Effects of transformational leadership training on attitudinal and financial outcomes: a field experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(6), 827e832. Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1993). Transformational leadership and organizational culture. Public Administration Quarterly, 112e121. Bauer, T. N., & Erdogan, B. (2015). Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory: An introduction and overview. In Oxford handbook of leader-member exchange (pp. 3e9). Blair, C. A., Hoffman, B. J., & Helland, K. R. (2008). Narcissism in organizations: a multisource appraisal reflects different perspectives. Human Performance, 21(3), 254e276. Blickle, G., Schu¨tte, N., & Genau, H. A. (2018). Manager psychopathy, trait activation, and job performance: A multi-source study. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 27(4), 450e461. Breevaart, K., & de Vries, R. E. (2017). Supervisor’s HEXACO personality traits and subordinate perceptions of abusive supervision. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(5), 691e700. Brown, M. E., & Trevin˜o, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 595e616. Brown, M. E., Trevin˜o, L. K., & Harrison, D. A. (2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97(2), 117e134. Brunnel, A. B., Gentry, W. W., Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Kuhnert, K. W., & DeMarree, K. G. (2008). Leader emergence: the case of the narcissistic leader. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(12), 1663e1676. Campbell, W. K., & Campbell, S. M. (2009). On the self-regulatory dynamics created by the peculiar benefits and costs of narcissism: A contextual reinforcement model and examination of leadership. Self and Identity, 8(2e3), 214e232. Cerit, Y. (2009). The effects of servant leadership behaviours of school principals on teachers’ job satisfaction. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 37(5), 600e623. Conger, J. (2015). Charismatic leadership. Wiley encyclopedia of management. Demirci, M. K., Gu¨mu¨s¸tekin, G. E., Mercan, N., Alamur, B., & Tiryaki, S. (2013). Machiavellianism in relation to ethical leadership and a practice. Paper presented at the International Conference on Economic and Social Studies (ICESoS’13).
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Gerstner, C. R., & Day, D. V. (1997). Meta-Analytic review of leaderemember exchange theory: Correlates and construct issues. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(6), 827. Grijalva, E., Harms, P. D., Newman, D. A., Gaddis, B. H., & Fraley, R. C. (2015). Narcissism and leadership: A meta-analytic review of linear and nonlinear relationships. Personnel Psychology, 68(1), 1e47. Hetland, H., & Sandal, G. (2003). Transformational leadership in Norway: Outcomes and personality correlates. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 12(2), 147e170. Hogan, R., & Hogan, J. (2001). Assessing leadership: a view from the dark side. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9(1e2), 40e51. Hornett, A., & Fredericks, S. (2005). An empirical and theoretical exploration of disconnections between leadership and ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 59(3), 233e246. House, R. J., & Howell, J. M. (1992). Personality and charismatic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 3(2), 81e108. Judge, T. A., & Piccolo, R. F. (2004). Transformational and transactional leadership: a metaanalytic test of their relative validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5), 755e768. Judge, T. A., & Bono, J. E. (2000). Five-factor model of personality and transformational leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(5), 751. Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R., & Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 765. Judge, T. A., Piccolo, R. F., & Kosalka, T. (2009). The bright and dark sides of leader traits: A review and theoretical extension of the leader trait paradigm. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(6), 855e875. Kessler, S. R., Bandelli, A. C., Spector, P. E., Borman, W. C., Nelson, C. E., & Penney, L. M. (2010). Re-examining machiavelli: A three-dimensional model of machiavellianism in the workplace. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40(8), 1868e1896. Kiazad, K., Restubog, S. L. D., Zagenczyk, T. J., Kiewitz, C., & Tang, R. L. (2010). In pursuit of power: The role of authoritarian leadership in the relationship between supervisors’ Machiavellianism and subordinates’ perceptions of abusive supervisory behavior. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(4), 512e519. Landay, K., Harms, P., & Crede´, M. (2019). Shall we serve the dark lords? A meta-analytic review of psychopathy and leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(1), 183. Lapointe, E´., & Vandenberghe, C. (2018). Examination of the relationships between servant leadership, organizational commitment, and voice and antisocial behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 148(1), 99e115. Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., Liao, C., & Meuser, J. D. (2014). Servant leadership and serving culture: Influence on individual and unit performance. Academy of Management Journal, 57(5), 1434e1452. Li, J., Liang, Q. Z., & Zhang, Z. Z. (2016). The effect of humble leader behavior, leader expertise, and organizational identification on employee turnover intention. Journal of Applied Business Research, 32(4), 1145e1156. Lim, B. C., & Ployhart, R. E. (2004). Transformational leadership: relations to the five-factor model and team performance in typical and maximum contexts. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(4), 631e650. Liu, C. C. (2008). The relationship between Machiavellianism and knowledge sharing willingness. Journal of Business and Psychology, 22(3), 233e240. Lynam, D. R., & Widiger, T. A. (2007). Using a general model of personality to identify the basic elements of psychopathy. Journal of Personality Disorders, 21(2), 160e178.
120 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Mathieu, C., & Babiak, P. (2015). Tell me who you are, I’ll tell you how you lead: Beyond the FullRange Leadership Model, the role of corporate psychopathy on employee attitudes. Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 8e12. Mathieu, C., & Babiak, P. (2016). Corporate psychopathy and abusive supervision: Their influence on employees’ job satisfaction and turnover intentions. Personality and Individual Differences, 91, 102e106. Mathieu, C., Neumann, C., Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2015). Corporate psychopathy and the fullrange leadership model. Assessment, 22(3), 267e278. Mathieu, C., Neumann, C. S., Hare, R. D., & Babiak, P. (2014). A dark side of leadership: Corporate psychopathy and its influence on employee well-being and job satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 59, 83e88. McCrae, R. R., Costa, J., Paul, T., & Martin, T. A. (2005). The NEOePIe3: A more readable revised NEO personality inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 84(3), 261e270. Nahrgang, J. D., Morgeson, F. P., & Ilies, R. (2009). The development of leaderemember exchanges: Exploring how personality and performance influence leader and member relationships over time. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 108(2), 256e266. Newman, A., Schwarz, G., Cooper, B., & Sendjaya, S. (2017). How servant leadership influences organizational citizenship behavior: The roles of LMX, empowerment, and proactive personality. Journal of Business Ethics, 145(1), 49e62. Nielsen, R., Marrone, J. A., & Slay, H. S. (2010). A new look at humility: Exploring the humility concept and its role in socialized charismatic leadership. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 17(1), 33e43. Ofori, G. (2009). Ethical leadership: Examining the relationships with full range leadership model, employee outcomes, and organizational culture. Journal of Business Ethics, 90(4), 533. Okanes, M., & Stinson, J. E. (1974). Machiavellianism and emergent leadership in a management simulation. Psychological Reports, 35(1), 255e259. Ong, C. W., Roberts, R., Arthur, C. A., Woodman, T., & Akehurst, S. (2016). The leader ship is sinking: A temporal investigation of narcissistic leadership. Journal of Personality, 84(2), 237e247. Owens, B. P., & Hekman, D. R. (2012). Modeling how to grow: An inductive examination of humble leader behaviors, contingencies, and outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 55(4), 787e818. Owens, B. P., Johnson, M. D., & Mitchell, T. R. (2013). Expressed humility in organizations: Implications for performance, teams, and leadership. Organization Science, 24(5), 1517e1538. Pilch, I., & Turska, E. (2015). Relationships between Machiavellianism, organizational culture, and workplace bullying: Emotional abuse from the target’s and the perpetrator’s perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(1), 83e93. Quick, J. C., Quick, J. D., Nelson, D. L., & Hurrel, J. J., Jr. (1997). Preventive stress management in organizations (p. 368). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Rayburn, J. M., & Rayburn, L. G. (1996). Relationship between Machiavellianism and type A personality and ethical-orientation. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(11), 1209e1219. Rubin, R. S., Munz, D. C., & Bommer, W. H. (2005). Leading from within: The effects of emotion recognition and personality on transformational leadership behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 48(5), 845e858.
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Violence in the workplace: the antipersonnel crime theory Degeneracy follows every autocratic system of violence, for violence inevitably attracts moral inferiors. Time has proven that illustrious tyrants are succeeded by scoundrels. Albert Einstein
During war times, antipersonnel weapons were designed to be used against humans rather than buildings or vehicles. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (1997 Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate) describes landmines (antipersonnel mines) as such: “A key characteristic of the weapon is that it is designed to maim rather than kill an enemy soldier. This follows the ‘logic’ that more resources are taken up caring for an injured soldier on the battlefield than dealing with a soldier who has been killed. Over time, antipersonnel landmines began to be deployed on a wider scale, often in internal conflicts and specifically targeting civilians. They were used to terrorize communities, deny access to farming land, and restrict population movement.” The psychological aspects of these types of weapons are very similar to tactics used by individuals in the workplace, such as denying access to resources or information or frightening employees and coworkers to keep them quiet. In a chapter on corporate crime, I referred to violent workplace behaviors as antipersonnel crime (Mathieu, 2021). There are different forms of violence in the workplace, and researchers studying the subject have used the following labels: workplace harassment, workplace aggression, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, workplace mobbing, and workplace incivility. What I wish to achieve within the present chapter is to inform you that, despite the efforts put into writing and implementing laws, policies, regulations, and programs, violence in the workplace still exists due to the presence of individuals with negative intentions and behaviors and corporate mechanisms that make these behaviors possible. As I was working on my Ph.D., I conducted group therapy for men who perpetrated intimate partner abuse. Although most of the men were in therapy because of physical violence, some were there for threats and verbal/psychological abuse, and I saw firsthand how pernicious and destructive the latter Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00006-5 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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type of violence could be on victims. Violence creates violence. Most of the men in therapy either were victims of or had witnessed violence at some point in their lives. Violence makes more than one victim, as it affects the individual on the receiving end and the individuals witnessing the acts of violence. Like smoking, violence has secondhand victims; when violence occurs within the family, the secondhand victims are usually children. However, when violence occurs within the workplace, the secondhand victims are other employees, colleagues, and team members. What I learned while conducting research and running group therapy for violent perpetrators and inmates is that some forms of violence are visible and easy to identify, for they leave visible traces while other forms are invisible, but the impact on victims is just as powerful. The fact that physical violence leaves traces makes it easier to classify the act as violent and helps with the legal process. I remember having to call child protection services with a client who was physically and psychologically abused by her father. It took the young woman a lot of courage and trust to agree to call social services with me to report the abuse. I will always remember the question the professional on the other end told me to ask the frightened young woman beside me: “Did the violence leave marks?” I was so astounded that I had to ask her to repeat the question. She repeated the question and explained that they were so busy that they needed to know if she had marks on her body to see if, and when, they would intervene. I was a very young therapist, and I will always remember the look on the young woman’s face and her trying to see if she had marks on her body from the physical violence she was a victim of. While I understand that the professional from child services was trying to assess urgency, I kept thinking of all the psychological wounds this young woman would have to heal to lead a happy life. In some instances, child services intervened in homes, assessed urgency, and left with recommendations for the parent in situations where the child was not considered in danger, leaving the victim with a parent who now had an additional reason for being verbally (and, unfortunately, sometimes physically) abusive: retaliation against the child for having lodged a complaint against them. Individuals who have a tendency to react violently usually have minimal capacity for insight. Instead of blaming themselves for the violence that led to the victim lodging a complaint, they will blame the victim for any negative consequences that may be imposed upon them. In cases where the perpetrator does not receive any form of consequences following the official complaint, there is a risk that the rate and intensity of his/her violence toward the victim will increase. The worst result for victims is revictimization by a system that cannot protect them adequately or, worst, makes them feel, implicitly or not, as though they played a part in the violence that took place. As I directed my career toward organizational psychology, I saw the same violence patterns I dealt with in clinical psychology taking place within the workplace.
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I always get laughs when I say that the best preparation I have had to deal with workplace politics and negative behavior was my experience working in prison settings. The thing is, although I mention this with a smile, it is actually true. The manipulation used by inmates to obtain, sometimes little things like cigarettes or other privileges, is very interesting. In fact, the skills that served the inmates on the outside to lure and manipulate their victims and obtain what they want are the same skills that help them gain power over others on the inside. However, I realized that perpetrators who had more resources (education, money, high social status, high-end job) were using different types of violence and more refined manipulation tactics that made it so much more difficult for victims to break free from their control. In fact, their manipulation is so refined that, at first, victims do not see the aggression as violence; they are made to believe that these violent behaviors are their own doing. Of course, the violence or negative behaviors are, at some point, exposed. However, whether the victim will do anything about it depends on the power the perpetrator was able to gain over him/her. There is also the question of fear of retaliation and lack of support for victims in a system that is still biased in favor of the wealthy and powerful. Nevertheless, learning how inmates are able, from the inside, to manipulate the system and run successful crime businesses is very informative and very similar to what I see in business settings. Most adults spend more time at work interacting with others than they spend with their spouse or other loved ones when they are not at work. The relationships that we have at work, thus, have a significant impact on our lives. Since there is no “on/off” switch between our work life and personal life, we carry our emotions from one environment to the other such that what happens in our personal lives affects our work, and what happens at work affects our personal lives. We are one person, one person with different roles but still one person. While the media and society are preoccupied with extreme acts of violence, I believe that other forms of violence are just as important, even if the marks they leave are not visible. These acts of violence are performed on a daily basis, often subtle; they happen in an environment where victims should be protected and feel safe. However, despite research and movements to change mentalities and policies, perpetrators more often than not get away with minimal, if any, consequences. I would say workplace violence has all the makings of a perfect crime.
Violence in the workplace Although extreme forms of violence, including physical assault or even homicide, exist in the workplace, research has found that nonphysical forms of violence are more prevalent in work contexts (Baron & Neuman, 1996). The present chapter will concentrate on the latter forms of violence, although, as will be seen in the section on dark personalities and violence; these individuals are also capable of and responsible for more extreme forms of violence.
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Harassment and bullying Bowling and Beehr (2006, p. 998) define workplace harassment as “interpersonal behavior aimed at intentionally harming another employee in the workplace.” “Harassment can be based on various identity group characteristics (e.g., race, gender, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation) but can also come in the form of vexatious behavior that is not overtly linked to one’s membership in a particular identity group (e.g., bullying, incivility, aggression)” (Raver & Nishii, 2010, p. 236). Workplace bullying has been described as “a situation in which one or more persons systematically and over a long period of time perceive themselves to be on the receiving end of negative treatment on the part of one or more persons, in a situation in which the person(s) exposed to the treatment has difficulty in defending themselves against this treatment” Matthiesen and Einarsen (2007, p. 735). As you can see, harassment and bullying seem to measure similar concepts; in fact, many use them alternatively, and measures of both concepts contain very similar items. Entering an academic debate and analyzing the differences and similarities between these two concepts is beyond the scope of the present chapter. The goal here is to present the relationship between acts of nonphysical violence in the workplace and dark personalities. Therefore, within this chapter, I will use the term that academics who conducted the different studies have used; thus, depending on the study, I will use either bullying or harassment.
Sexual harassment One form of harassment that has received much attention in the past decade is sexual harassment. Willness, Steel, and Lee (2007) report that sexual harassment can be understood not only as a form of sex discrimination in the workplace but also as a form of unwanted sexual behavior toward an individual.
Mobbing “Mobbing is the nonsexual harassment of a coworker by a group of other workers or other members of an organization designed to secure the removal from the organization of the one who is targeted” (Duffy & Sperry, 2007, p. 398). Essentially, mobbing is related to harassment behaviors perpetrated by more than one individual against a victim.
Incivility There is another, more pernicious, form of workplace violence that has only recently received attention: incivility. As Pearson, Andersson, and Porath (2000, p. 125) present “Civility has less to do with formal rules of etiquette than with demonstrating sensibility of concern and regard, treating others with respect. Workplace civility is defined by behaviors that help preserve the
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norms for mutual respect at work; it comprises behaviors that are fundamental to positively connecting with another, building relationships and empathizing. Incivility, in contrast, implies rudeness and disregard toward others. Incivility is mistreatment that may lead to disconnection, breach of relationships and erosion of empathy. Within the work context, incivility entails the violation of workplace norms for mutual respect, such that cooperation and motivation may be hindered broadly.” While incivility may not appear, at first glance, as serious as sexual harassment or psychological harassment, it seems to lay the grounds for other types of workplace violence. When incivility is tolerated in an organizational culture, it opens the door to other unacceptable behaviors, making the work climate unhealthy and unsafe. Violence in the workplace, whether it is harassment perpetrated by a group of individuals or one individual, is meant to gain control and power over another employee by using tactics that affect the employee in his work context and in his or her sense of self. In intimate partner violence, there is a period preceding violence where the aggressor destroys the victim’s self-confidence, isolates the victim from friends and family and makes sure that they are not psychologically strong enough to retaliate (or leave). Workplace violence uses similar tactics: discrediting the victim, attacking the victim’s reputation, making derogatory comments on the victim’s work, looks, and/or life choices, and attacking the victims’ personal values. Aggressors in the workplace also use more “passive-aggressive” tactics such as ignoring the victim when he/she talks, not responding to the victim’s emails or phone calls, not giving the victim important information needed to perform their tasks, not inviting the victim to meetings he/she should be attending, and/or not inviting the victim to workplace-related social gatherings. Once “the table is set,” an escalation in the intensity or severity of violence occurs. In the workplace, more severe violent acts can represent behaviors ranging from implicit threats, yelling at the victim, throwing objects to physical aggression. Depending on the aggressor’s status and the level of power he/she has in the organization and on the victim, the period preceding the violence can vary in length. For example, in a field of work, like the entertainment business, where the aggressor’s expertise is world-renown and acclaimed or where the aggressor has political links to very influential individuals and resources and the power to influence the victim’s career, sexual aggression may occur at first encounter. Most of the time, in these instances, there is a cultural “acceptance” of these types of aggression and overt or covert threats of hurting the victim’s career if he or she ever mentions the abuse is present.
Prevalence of workplace violence In a chapter reviewing research on bullying, Zapf, Einarsen, Hoel, & Vartia (2020) indicate that about 2% of employees report severe weekly cases of bullying, between 8 and 20% of employees report bullying occurring less than
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weekly, and up to 20% of employees report being occasionally exposed to negative behaviors such as being yelled at and being teased or humiliated. A study by Statistics Canada found that of the 9000 workers in their sample, 19% of women and 13% of men reported having experienced harassment in their workplace in the past year (Hango & Moyser, 2018). For their study, workplace harassment included verbal abuse, humiliating behavior, threats to persons, physical violence and unwanted sexual attention or sexual harassment. The latter study found that the most common type of workplace harassment was verbal abuse, followed by humiliating behavior, threats, sexual harassment and, finally, physical violence (Hango & Moyser, 2018). While we know that women report experiencing more harassment in the workplace than men, Hango & Moyser (2018) studied reports of workplace harassment for different occupations and found these results for the presence of harassment behaviors: Health (22.8%), Sales and services(17.8%), Trades and related (16.7%), Management (16.7%), Education, law, social, and related (15.3%), Business, finance and administrative (12.4%), and Nature and applied sciences (9. 2%). Note that these scores include men and women and that, for all of these occupational groups, women reported higher rates of harassment. The most significant gender gaps were found for the Management group (women 23.9% vs. men 11.7%) and Natural and applied sciences (Women 16.5% vs. men 5.8%). Unfortunately, according to the 2017 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, only about 18% of victims formally report harassment (Namie, 2017). This statistic is a clear indication that victims do not trust the system in place. In fact, the same survey asked the question: “What stopped the abusive mistreatment?” and found that 25% mentioned that it has not stopped. Of the remaining employees who mentioned that the mistreatment had stopped, 23% said that the mistreatment stopped because the victims left their position voluntarily, 12% reported that the victim was forced to quit when work conditions were deliberately made worst, 11% reported that victims were transferred to a different job or location with the same employer, and 8% reported that the mistreatment stopped because the victim was terminated. In terms of perpetrator-related responses, 17% reported that the abusive mistreatment stopped because the perpetrator was punished (but kept his or her job), 11% reported that the perpetrator was terminated, and 8% reported that the perpetrator quit. Only 10% of respondents reported that the abusive mistreatment stopped in response to something positive the employer did (investigation, implementation of a new policy).
Impact of workplace harassment on victims A study on mobbing (harassment performed by a group of individuals) in a large sample of workers indicated that victims of this type of harassment were experiencing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms similar to
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individuals exposed to war experiences (Leymann & Gustafsson, 1996). These results take us back to the notion of antipersonnel crime in the workplace introduced earlier. Indeed, the term Posttraumatic Stress Disorder was created in the 1970s to describe the symptoms of U.S. military veterans following the Vietnam War. It made its appearance in the Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorders in 1980. PTSD symptoms include recurring distressing memories or dreams of the event, dissociative reactions (flashbacks) of the event, intense or prolonged psychological distress and/or marked physical reactions at exposure to internal or external cues that resemble an aspect of the traumatic event, avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feeling about the event, or avoidance of external reminders of the event. It also includes changes in mood and thoughts such as the inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event, persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, distorted thoughts about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event, negative emotional state, diminished interest or participation in significant activities, feelings of detachment from others, and inability to experience positive emotions. Changes in reactivity associated with the traumatic event such as irritable behavior and angry outbursts, reckless or self-destructive behavior, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, problems with concentration, and sleep disturbance can also be found in individuals presenting PTSD. Many of these symptoms can also be observed in employees who have been exposed to harassment in the workplace. While PTSD, as described by the DSM-5, is associated with exposure to death or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence, individuals subjected to repeated acts of psychological assaults can develop some of the symptoms related to PTSD. According to a report from Statistics Canada, employees suffering from workplace harassment reported: being more dissatisfied with their current job, higher rates of planning on leaving their current job in the next 12 months, lower motivation to perform their best at the current organization, a weaker sense of belonging to the current organization, experiencing more stress and lower scores of mental health (Hango & Moyser, 2018). These effects were stronger when harassment was perpetrated by a person in a position of power (either a supervisor or manager). Bowling and Beehr (2006) found that workplace harassment was associated with higher scores of generic strains, depression, burnout, frustration, negative emotions at work, and physical symptoms. Furthermore, workplace harassment was associated with lower scores of positive emotions at work, self-esteem, life satisfaction, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and perceptions of organizational justice. They also found that workplace harassment was associated with individual performance outcomes, such as increased counterproductive work behaviors and turnover intentions. All of these outcomes should be monitored in the workplace, as they may indicate the occurrence of workplace harassment. Work climate or employee well-being surveys can be used as indicators of workplace violence or incivility. In fact, surveys may include questions on
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workplace harassment and incivility, which can portray the incidence and prevalence of violence within the organization (see my website for validated measures of workplace violence that can be used within organizations).
Workplace violence perpetrator profile “Regardless of how bullying is manifesteddeither verbal assaults or strategic moves to render the target unproductive and unsuccessfuldit is the aggressor’s desire to control the target that motivates the action” (Namie, 2003, p. 2). The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) found that 61% of the bullying was topdown (perpetrators were at a higher rank position), 33% of perpetrators were peers with the same rank as their targets, and 6% was bottom-up (perpetrators were at a lower rank position) (Namie, 2017). Men are more likely to perpetrate harassment than women (Zapf & Einarsen, 2001). In terms of perpetrator traits, Ashforth (1994) proposes six personal dimensions that explain petty tyranny in the workplace: 1. Arbitrariness and self-aggrandizement; 2. Belittling others; 3. Lack of consideration; 4. A forcing style of conflict resolution (getting their way, forcing others to accept their point of view); 5. Discouraging initiative; 6. Noncontingent punishment (critical of other’s work without apparent reason). Harassment perpetrators have been described as self-confident, impulsive, and generally aggressive (Zapf & Einarsen, 2001). Supervisors low on Conscientiousness and high on Neuroticism with high exposure to stress are more likely to perpetrate workplace bullying as reported by their employees (Mathisen, Einarsen, & Mykletun, 2011). In a meta-analysis on bullying and personality, Mitsopoulou and Giovazolias (2015) found that bullies presented lower levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness and higher levels of Extraversion and Neuroticism. Furthermore, the authors found that cognitive and affective empathy were negatively associated with bullying behavior, which indicates that individuals who feel empathy toward others are less likely to use bullying behaviors (Mitsopoulou & Giovazolias, 2015). The HEXACO’s Honesty/Humility factor has been negatively associated with bullying, meaning that honest and humble individuals are less likely to bully others (Book, Volk, & Hosker, 2012). Farrell, Provenzano, Dane, Marini, and Volk (2017) looked at differences in personality traits and their influence on bullying behaviors and found that low Emotionality significantly predicted racial bullying, while low Conscientiousness significantly predicted physical bullying. Low Honesty-Humility significantly predicted verbal, social, and sexual bullying. Seigne, Coyne, Randall, and Parker (2007) found that workplace bullies are more aggressive, hostile, extraverted, independent, egocentric, selfish, and show little concern for others’ opinions. The similarities between the personality profiles of workplace harassment perpetrators and individuals presenting dark personalities are undeniable.
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In fact, in a study on adult bullying, Baughman et al. (2012) found that psychopathy was most strongly related to bullying, followed by Machiavellianism and narcissism. These differences may be related to different provocation patterns for violence. As we have seen in Chapter 4, Jones and Paulhus (2010) found that narcissistic individuals respond to an ego threat (insult) with aggression. It, thus, seems that narcissistic individuals who have an inflated view of themselves react aggressively when someone threatens that positive self-view. On the other hand, psychopathic individuals had a higher rate of retaliation after a physical provocation and a higher rate of aggression before any type of provocation. There may also be a link between different types of violence and impulsivity in individuals presenting Dark Triad (DT) personalities. In a study on impulsivity and the DT, Jones and Paulhus (2011) found that, while impulsivity was not related to Machiavellianism, it was associated with both narcissism and psychopathy; however, there were differences in the type of impulsivity associated with the latter personalities. Indeed, narcissism was associated with “functional impulsivity” (eager speedy response, fast decision-making, adventurous), while psychopathy was associated with “dysfunctional impulsivity” (erratic disorderliness, inability to inhibit impulses). While both have a negative impact in the workplace, psychopathy is associated with the inability to control impulses, which may, in part, explain why psychopathic individuals are more violent even when unprovoked. There, thus, seem to be differences in triggers and types of violence perpetrated by individuals who present DT personalities. Below is a brief overview of the differences in violence patterns for narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.
Dark personalities and violence Narcissistic violence Bushman and Baumeister (1998) studied the relationship between self-esteem, narcissism, and violence toward someone who had insulted the subjects taking part in their study. While they found no relationship between self-esteem and violence, they found that the combination of narcissism and insult led to exceptionally high levels of aggression toward the individual who had insulted the participants. This is yet another reason why it is important to distinguish individuals who present high self-esteem from individuals who are incapable of humility and probably use overclaiming techniques and impression management tactics during interviews. In a review on violence and self-esteem, Baumeister, Smart, and Boden (1996, p. 8) report that it is the threat to the favorable self-appraisal that leads to aggressive retaliation: “people turn aggressive when they receive feedback that contradicts their favorable views of themselves and implies that they should adopt less favorable views. More to the point, it is mainly the people
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who refuse to lower their self-appraisals who become violent.” In Chapter 4, we saw that narcissistic individuals might become violent after receiving a negative performance appraisal, which is exactly what the authors refer to when they mention receiving feedback that conflicts with an individual’s favorable self-views. However, performance appraisals and formal feedback are not the only instances where a narcissist’s self-views can be challenged. Threats to highly favorable self-views may also include: questioning his or her decisions during a meeting, a coworker rejecting sexual advances, a colleague disagreeing with the narcissist’s opinion. Even an indirect threat to the narcissistic individual’s self-esteem, such as a colleague being praised for his or her work (recall that they are highly competitive), may trigger a violent reaction.
Machiavellian violence In a study on youth violence, Kerig and Stellwagen (2010, p. 349) conclude “Machiavellianism may be particularly important for understanding forms of aggression that involve interpersonal power and manipulation of the social hierarchy, such as proactive and relational aggression.” The authors define proactive aggression as a “cold and calculating form of victimization in which aggression is used to meet an instrumental need on the part of the perpetrator” (Kerig & Stellwagen, 2010, p. 349). Machiavellians were also more likely to use relational aggression, which involves using sophisticated psychological strategies for harming others. In fact, it seems that Machiavellians’ manipulation tactics may even serve as a buffer from receiving negative impact following bullying behavior. In a study on school bullying, Wei and Chen (2012) found that students low on Machiavellianism who engaged in bullying were less accepted by their peers and had a lower academic performance. Meanwhile, students high on Machiavellianism who perpetrated bullying toward others did not receive less acceptance from their peers or lower academic performance; moreover, their teacher did not rate them lower on rule-following behaviors. This means that Machiavellian manipulation may protect the individual from the negative impacts of perpetrating interpersonal aggression. Although these studies were conducted with youth, they may very well apply in a work context where, as we have seen, Machiavellians use impression management tactics to get what and where they want. In a study on bullying in the workplace, Valentine and Fleischman (2018) found that Machiavellianism was associated with bullying and lower perceived importance of ethical decision-making. Furthermore, Valentine and Fleischman (2003) report that Machiavellianism is positively associated with conservative beliefs about gender. Individuals with a conservative gender outlook had a lower tolerance for diversity, which means that Machiavellian individuals may not be very accepting of women’s employment, or other diversity groups, for that matter. This, of course, may lead to unfair treatment
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and harassment behaviors. Managing diversity and building an inclusive workplace not only leads to higher-quality relationships but also leads to employee well-being, employee creativity, higher job satisfaction, job performance, organizational commitment, and intention to stay (Shore et al., 2011). In fact, research indicates that both Machiavellianism and psychopathy predict racism and wanting to join organized racist groups, with psychopathic individuals expressing the desire to join more violent groups (Jones, 2013). Systemic or institutional racism is embedded in the very fabric of organizational cultures and society; therefore, it cannot be attributed solely to individuals with dark personalities. However, the association between dark personalities and racism, combined with the fact that these individuals are more likely to use bullying and violence, presents all the elements for systemic racism. Applied to the workplace, these results may be translated into making racist remarks, blocking individuals from entering the organization based on their ethnic origin or the color of their skin, or blocking them access to resources or promotions. The fact that psychopathic individuals express racism using antisocial and violent tendencies is not surprising since psychopaths are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in society.
Psychopathic violence Psychopathy is the most dangerous of the three personalities composing the Dark Triad; as Hare (1999a, p.185) mentions: “Because they are emotionally unconnected to the rest of humanity, and because they callously view others as little more than objects, it should be relatively easy for psychopaths to victimize the vulnerable and to use violence as a tool to obtain what they want.” As mentioned above, a study on bullying in adults identified psychopathy as the strongest predictor of bullying behaviors, followed by Machiavellianism and narcissism (Baughman et al., 2012). Similar results were found for sexual harassment, whereas authors have found that, of the three DT personalities, psychopathic individuals were more likely to engage in sexual harassment, followed by Machiavellian individuals and narcissists (Zeigler-Hill, Besser, Morag, & Campbell, 2016). These results are not surprising, as psychopathy is associated with violent sexual offenses in society. In fact, psychopathic sex offenders are likely to be more violent and sadistic than non-psychopathic sex offenders (Hare, 1999a). In terms of sexual aggression, psychopaths are motivated by thrill, sensation seeking, and proneness to boredom rather than anger and paraphilia (like other sex offenders), which may explain why they chose different types of victims rather than one type, as is the case for most sex offenders (Porter, Woodworth, Earle, Drugge, & Boer, 2003).
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Furthermore, psychopaths differ from other criminals in that they start their “criminal careers” earlier, they are more likely to recidivate, they are more resistant to treatment, the nature of their violence is different, and the violence they perpetrate is motivated by different factors (Hare, 1999a). Indeed, psychopathy is associated with instrumental violence rather than reactive violence, meaning that psychopathic individuals assault for their personal gain (power, money, status) rather than as an emotional reaction to interpersonal conflict (Cornell et al., 1996). The relationship between psychopathy and instrumental violence can be in part explained by the psychopathic individual’s inability to react to emotional stimuli such as the impact on victims (Blair, 2001) or social threat stimuli, due to his/her inability to experience personal distress (von Borries et al., 2012). Psychopaths are also capable of reactive violence but without the intense emotions typically associated with this type of violence for non-psychopathic criminals (Babiak & Hare, 2019). The instrumental use of violence for psychopathic individuals is associated with their manipulative interpersonal style (Walsh, Swogger, & Kosson, 2009), referring to Factor 1 of Hare’s four psychopathy factors presented in Chapter 1. The fact that corporate psychopaths score higher on that interpersonal/manipulative factor sets them apart from most psychopaths in prison settings, helping them cut their way through organizational systems and obtain power (Mathieu et al., 2020). In his seminal book on psychopathy, Robert Hare, the father of modern psychopathy, makes this statement, which testifies to the extent of psychopathic violence and the presence of these individuals in society: “Viewed in this way, it is not surprising that in spite of their small numbers they make up a significant part of our prison populations and are responsible for a markedly disproportionate amount of the serious crime, violence, and social distress in every society. Furthermore, their depredations affect virtually everyone at one time or another, because they form a significant proportion of persistent criminals, drug dealers, spouse and child abusers, swindlers and con men, mercenaries, corrupt politicians, unethical lawyers, terrorists, cult leaders, black marketeers, gang members, and radical political activists. They are well represented in the business and corporate world, particularly during chaotic restructuring, where the rules and their enforcement are lax and accountability is difficult to determine” (Hare, 1999b, p. 26). Robert Hare’s last sentence is crucial to the understanding of what organizations need to do to reduce the likelihood of psychopathic individuals entering and prospering within their walls and reduce the rates of antipersonnel crimes associated with violence in the workplace. In the next section, we will look at how organizations are allowing perpetrators of workplace violence to remain in position; in other words, we will look at organizational causes of workplace violence.
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Organizational causes of workplace violence Leadership and culture Capozzoli (2003) proposes the following organizational factors that may be conducive to violence in the workplace: autocratic management, disciplinary action by the manager, a negative appraisal, lack of support from an employee’s superior or workgroup, change in the workplace if not managed well, and downsizing. Studying causes of workplace violence, Baron and Neuman (1996) found that the extent of workplace changes increased the risks of workplace aggression. Note that it may not be the changes per se that cause a rise in workplace violence but the inability to manage change effectively at the management and/or organizational level. Indeed, if change is not managed effectively, procedures will not be followed, rules will not be applied adequately, performance will not be monitored, and accountability will be impossible to measure. In other words, ineffective change management will create and/or allow chaos. Research has established that an interplay of relational power and chaos gives rise to bullying behaviors in the workplace (Hodson, Roscigno, & Lopez, 2006). Recall Robert Hare’s statement that psychopathic individuals thrive during chaotic restructuring when rules and regulations are not effectively applied, and accountability is difficult to determine. Change can create chaos, and chaotic environments are the perfect hiding place for individuals with dark traits and intentions. The link between organizational change and harassment is worrisome as, more than ever, organizations are confronted with a multitude of changes, which places the workplace at risk for constant chaos. A report from Statistics Canada indicates that employees were more likely to report workplace harassment if they had fewer opportunities to provide input into decision-making, less support from their supervisor, unmanageable workloads, limited choice in the sequencing of tasks, more competition among colleagues, more frequent conflicts with managers or supervisors, and fewer good friends at work (Hango & Moyser, 2018). Many of these causes are related to autocratic or transactional types of leadership and cultures. Organizations that do not offer employees the opportunity to voice their concerns, make suggestions to improve the workplace, or consider employees’ needs when making decisions will also be oblivious to any type of violence occurring within their walls. Trust is a key element allowing employees to have the courage to step up and expose harassment behavior in the workplace. Trust is based on actions. If organizations do not listen to or involve employees in decision-making or organizational change, employees will not trust that the organization has their best interest at heart and will hesitate to bring forward any act of violence they may either witness or be a victim of.
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In a meta-analysis on causes and consequences of workplace harassment, Bowling and Beehr (2006) found that harassment occurs in work environments where other stressors can be found. The stressors identified were: role conflict, role ambiguity, role overload, work constraints, and low autonomy. In other words, leadership and culture matter when it comes to reducing the risk of violence in the workplace. It is not just about creating workplace harassment policies and programs; it is about having a work culture that values respect, and having leaders who listen to employees, give them a good sense of direction, and support them through change. Bass & Avolio (1993) present a model of transformational culture, including a moderate amount of transactional elements as a good balanced organizational culture model to apply. This model includes clear rules linked to organizational values, leaders acting as role models, mentoring, more agreement, as well as an adaptive, dynamic, and creative organization that puts an emphasis on the potential of its individual employees. Needless to say, transformational cultures are created and maintained by transformational leaders. In line with the notion of culture when dealing with harassment, Namie (2003) presents seven characteristics of a bullying-prone workplace: 1. “Making the numbers” and an obsession with outcomes is uncritically adopted; 2. Recruitment, promotion, and reward systems focus on individuals’ “strength of personality” or interpersonal aggressiveness while ignoring emotional intelligence; 3. Short-term planning governs operations, e.g. to meet quarterly investor projections; 4. Internal conduct codes limit prohibitions to narrowly defined illegal incidents; 5. Executives give higher priority to personal friendships than to legitimate business interests; 6. Fear is a dominant and desired workplace emotion, whether deliberately engineered or inadvertently created; and 7. Misuse of performance appraisal processes occurs with impunity. (Namie, 2003, p. 4). In an organizational context like the one just described, it is easy to see how harassment can occur and be tolerated. This leads us to another organizational cause of violence in the workplace: ineffective management of workplace harassment and tolerance of workplace violence.
Ineffective management of harassment and tolerance of workplace violence Salin (2009) surveyed how organizations intervene in workplace harassment cases and found that most organizations rely on reconciliatory measures instead of punitive measures. In a national study on bullying in the United States, the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) has explored employers’ responses to reports of abusive conduct in the workplace. 23% reported positive changes for the victim following employer investigation, while 6% reported postinvestigation negative outcome for the perpetrator, and finally, 71% of respondents reported that employers took steps that did not benefit the victim.
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Among the negative reactions from employers, they found the following: 1. the employer investigated the complaint inadequately; 2. nothing changed; and 3. the employer did nothing following the complaint (Namie, 2017). The WBI reports that “Doing nothing or showing indifference to filed complaints or discovering a procedural technicality to justify not responding to the complaints is an act of complicity with the aggressor. By enabling bullying with impunity, the institution takes the side of perpetrators and provides shelter from the accountability they seek” (Namie, 2017, p. 15). Let us look at their results: In 71% of cases, nothing had changed either for the victim or the perpetrator since the complaints were either ignored or not investigated appropriately, which means that for 71% of complaints, perpetrators did not suffer negative outcomes. Of the respondents who mentioned that there was an effective investigation, only 6% report a negative outcome for perpetrators. This type of protectionism of perpetrators is very similar to what was addressed in Chapter 5 in the section presenting why bad leaders are rarely held accountable for their negative actions. It also explains why, as we will see in Chapter 7, corporate fraud perpetrators rarely suffer from adverse outcomes. As I mentioned before, it seems like antipersonnel workplace violence is the perfect type of crime, as it allows individuals to operate covertly and even overtly with minimal, if any, repercussion. Organizational inaction in harassment cases sends a message that violent behavior in the workplace is tolerated. It also sends a message to current and future victims that they will not be heard and protected should they decide to come forward with a harassment complaint. In Chapter 5, we discussed how leader behaviors give a direction in terms of what is expected of employees; this refers to the notion of “leading by example.” Unfortunately, while some leaders exemplify positive behaviors, others incite employees to act negatively by exemplifying violent or negative interpersonal behavior. When leaders use bullying or other negative behaviors openly, it has an impact on what employees perceive in terms of culture and organizational values, and it not only makes these behaviors acceptable but also makes them an integral part of what is expected in order to succeed within the organization. As I mentioned earlier, social movements have forced companies to put harassment rules and regulations forward; however, words without actions cannot make a difference. Perhaps more importantly, giving employees training on harassment and saying that it will not be tolerated while not adequately managing harassment complaints sends a message that the organization lacks integrity and cannot be trusted. In doing so, an organization does not just fail victims; it gives more power to bullies. When it comes to organizational management of workplace violence, I believe that “Actions speak louder than words.” This is one of my favorite quotes, and it applies so well to the subject of violence in the workplace. I have seen many situations where, following a harassment complaint, HR has tried to deal with the problem using mediation and treating it as a conflict.
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There are situations where mediation is necessary; however, in the case of harassment, putting the perpetrator with the victim in a room and asking them both to explain how their actions may have contributed to the situation and what they will do to remediate this situation can only lead to a negative impact for the victim. Only in a workplace setting would someone suggest putting a victim of violence in a room with the perpetrator and asking the victim to explain what they may have done to contribute to the problem. Would anyone suggest mediation for victims of street violence, sexual violence, or intimate partner abuse? No. In fact, intervention with couples where violence is involved necessitates individual interventions since couple therapy increases risks of violence after the couple leaves the therapist’s office. Moreover, the victim may be afraid to talk when in the presence of the perpetrator. In instances where workplace harassment was handled as interpersonal conflict, I have seen victims leave on long-term sick leave, and I have witnessed perpetrators go back to work without consequences, telling other employees that the victim was the problem and continuing to harass the victim and other employees. I have also seen managers who have spent months or years building a harassment case against a supervisor or employee only to send it to HR or another entity who, after conducting a less than thorough investigation, returned the perpetrator to his or her position after a few weeks or months of paid leave for the duration of the investigation. I have heard of perpetrators saying to employees, as they returned: “They gave me a paid vacation, and now I know exactly who has been talking behind my back.” Recall the cases of child abuse I mentioned at the beginning of the chapter where child protection agencies come into the house to investigate and intervene and leave the child with the parent who perpetrated the abuse. Organizations who conduct investigations must also have a plan for the “after investigation,” including the victims, accused employee or manager, and their team members who may have suffered secondhand harassment or pressure to support either the victim or the accused employee during the investigation.
Practice: creating a secure workplace Prevention of workplace violence Before presenting the section on intervention for workplace harassment, which implies that violent behaviors have occurred, I believe that there is a need to discuss workplace violence prevention.
Zero-tolerance harassment policy The Canadian Human Rights Commission issued a guide for organizations wanting to write and implement an anti-harassment policy. One crucial issue that most organizations are not aware of is that, at least in Canada, employers are responsible for workplace harassment taking place within a work context either by their employees or by collaborators (clients or customers). Here is an
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extract from the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Anti-harassment policies for the workplace: An Employer’s Guide “Ultimately, employers are responsible for acts of work-related harassment. The Supreme Court has said that the goal of human rights law is to identify and eliminate discrimination. Employers control the organization and are therefore the only ones who can actually reverse the negative effects of harassment and ensure a healthy work environment. So no matter what kind of workplace you own or business you operate, you have a responsibility to make sure your employees do not experience harassment. If harassment does occur, you must show that you did everything you could to prevent it, or to alleviate its effects (Robichaud v. Treasury Board, 1987). Employers are responsible for harassment by employees or non-employees, such as potential employees, clients and customers. Employers must also take action to address the situation if non-employees such as clients, customers, couriers, etc. harass employees” (Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2006, p. 3). The Canadian Human Rights Commission has created an Anti-harassment Policy Template which can be used by any type of organization (for more information, see their website at www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca). Even if you are not in Canada, the guidelines are very clear and helpful for organizations of any type and size. As mentioned above, having a clear zero-tolerance workplace harassment policy is a great start, but it is not enough on its own to prevent workplace harassment.
The preventive management model Bell, Quick, and Cycyota (2002) propose using preventive management to reduce the occurrence of sexual harassment in the workplace. The authors explain that preventive management, traditionally used for health issues such as cardiovascular disease, can be applied to workplace misbehavior as the latter, like many physical health problems, has multiple identifiable causes and develops through a progression of stages (Bell et al., 2002). They propose five preventive actions to shape organizational culture and reduce the risks of sexual harassment: 1. Top management commitment; 2. Zero tolerance sexual harassment policy; 3. Harassment-free notification; 4. Organizational-level assessments; and 5. Regular, directed training. I believe that this sexual harassment preventive management model can be applied to other types of workplace violence. Therefore, I have adapted their recommendations to include other forms of violence in the workplace, and I have added applicable recommendations: 1. Top management commitment to creating a healthy culture - Managers act as role models to influence and shape others’ behaviors and attitudes. - Managers make their position known and clear on acceptable and unacceptable interpersonal behaviors. - Managers take a stance on violent behaviors in the workplace and clearly present repercussions if these behaviors are taking place.
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2. The zero-tolerance harassment policy in action - Making the zero-tolerance harassment policy known: Post it on walls, give employees cards with contact information in case they are a victim of or witness inappropriate behaviors (employees’ assistance programs, anonymous harassment tip line, or formal report procedures). - Mentioning the policy during selection interviews. - Giving each new employee training on workplace harassment and the company’s zero-tolerance policy. - Making sure that there are different informal, anonymous reporting channels for harassment and/or inappropriate behaviors taking place in the workplace or on online work-related platforms. These channels are not just for victims but also for employees witnessing inappropriate behaviors regardless of the severity of these behaviors. These anonymous reports will not necessarily all lead to thorough investigations, but they can certainly act as signals or risk factors for harassment behaviors. Depending on the behaviors reported, the use of well-being surveys for the sectors where inappropriate behaviors are reported can contribute to gaining a better understanding of what is happening. 3. Harassment-free notification for employees, customers, and collaborators - Since employees can suffer from violent behaviors perpetrated by customers, suppliers, or others outside the organization, making the policy and regulations known not only inside but also outside of the organization is critical. Individuals interacting with employees in a work context should be aware that the rules and regulations stated in the policy apply to them as well. 4. Organizational assessments (Surveys) - Prevention: Using anonymous well-being surveys that include factors associated with workplace violence such as employee job satisfaction, perception of leadership style, satisfaction with leadership, trust in leadership, trust in the organization, psychological well-being, turnover intention, work climate, and change management may help identify the occurrence of workplace violence. I suggest short surveys (maximum of 15-20 min). While anonymous, surveys should include information on gender, age, minority group, position, department, and workgroup (e.g. employee, supervisor, manager, executive). Employees may ask: “If I indicate my position, age, etc., the organization will be able to recognize me, and it will not be anonymous.” Let employees know that these sociodemographic questions will not be used to identify them; they will be used to analyze data. Give them examples of how data will be analyzed, such as: are women more satisfied with work than men? Do younger workers want to leave the company more than older workers? Are managers more at risk of suffering from psychological distress than employees? Needless to say, data should be gathered, analyzed, and kept in a safe location, and ethical norms should apply to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. Only authorized personnel should have access to
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raw data; others will only have access to the report, which will preserve confidentiality. I have added surveys that can be used to measure wellbeing indicators and workplace harassment and incivility on my website. - Workplace violence survey: Organizations can also send out a survey that is specific to workplace violence. In this survey, which could be called interpersonal relationships or work climate survey (to give it a less negative title than “workplace violence” or “harassment” survey), organizations can measure conflict, incivility, and different forms of harassment. Along with these measures, I suggest adding measures of psychological distress, turnover intentions, organizational trust, perception of leadership support, and employee perception of the organization’s effectiveness in dealing with violence in the workplace. Organizations may also add specific questions about “who has perpetrated” the negative behaviors (superior, colleague, employee), without naming the individual, of course. While keeping the anonymity and confidentiality of the information, it will give the organizations a better idea of where problems may lie in order to plan interventions tailored to what is going on in different divisions or teams within the organization. Again, sociodemographic questions should include gender, age, being a part of a visible minority group, job title (if possible), department, and workgroup (e.g. employee, supervisor, manager, executive). As I mentioned above, I have added free survey examples on my website to help organizations. It is important to add a note in the survey to the effect that reporting harassment in this anonymous survey does not replace lodging a formal complaint. The survey’s goal is to measure the presence of negative interpersonal behavior in the workplace and may lead to interventions at a macro level; however, employees who are victims of violence in the workplace should both indicate it in the survey and come forward using formal mechanisms for their complaint. In other words, responding to the survey should not replace lodging a formal complaint. 5. Regular workplace violence training - Every new employee should receive workplace violence training addressing the zero-tolerance policy, defining inappropriate behaviors that constitute harassment, presenting consequences for perpetrators, and steps to take for victims or employees witnessing harassment behaviors. - Regular training should also take place. To avoid redundancy, training does not have to focus exclusively on harassment; it can cover subjects including incivility, interpersonal relationships, work climate, well-being in the workplace, healthy workplaces, inclusivity, systemic racism, change management, etc. All of these topics address concepts very close to workplace harassment and target specific risk factors. The person in charge
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of training should present the policy, consequences for perpetrators, the anonymous tip line for victims and witnesses, and the formal steps to lodge a harassment complaint within each training session. These presentations can have a positive approach, for instance, developing positive interpersonal competencies, building a good work climate within a team, being inclusive, celebrating differences, and being aware of the impact of one’s actions on work climate and on teammates’ well-being.
Intervention All harassment complaints need to be investigated, and I strongly suggest using an expert outside of the organization. This will increase the credibility of the investigation, and it will help reduce bias. In other words, the use of an independent investigative expert protects the victim’s and the accused perpetrator’s rights and protects the organization. Many organizations have a very short-term vision and see hiring an expert as an unnecessary expense; I, on the other hand, see it as a necessary investment. In cases where a formal complaint has been lodged, organizations may not have a choice and therefore will have to work with an investigator. Both the victim and the accused will receive a letter indicating that there will be an investigation into possible workplace harassment. Of course, both employees’ direct supervisors should meet with them and talk about the rules of the investigation, one of them being confidentiality. In some instances, the accused will be suspended, with pay, until the investigation is over. I will not get into investigation details as it varies from case to case, from one type of organization to another, and from one country to another. Following the investigation, the expert will establish if the complaint does represent harassment and will issue recommendations as to how the situation should be addressed.
How to intervene during a harassment investigation with other team members Although harassment investigations are confidential, the investigator will likely question team members; this may increase employee stress levels and affect team productivity. It is stressful for anyone to be a part of an investigation, even if it is simply to answer questions as a bystander. Some employees may become emotional; others may become angry or anxious. As mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, some team members may have been emotionally impacted by witnessing harassment behaviors. Some employees are close to the victim; others may be close to the employee or manager accused of harassment. Nevertheless, without getting into the confidential details of the investigation, it is crucial to support team members by giving them access to
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resources such as employee assistance program, peer support program, or simply by being present and listening to them. Keep in mind that, if it is harassment, there may be other (silent) victims within the team or the organization.
Dealing with the aftermath of harassment After the investigation is over and the verdict is in, it is crucial to keep team members informed as much as possible without breaking any confidentiality agreement. It will be important for the team leader to be present for his/her team. Practicing active listening to acquire a better understanding of what employees need in terms of support will be essential. Leaders will need to accept that, for a short period of time, employees may not perform as they did before. Positivity, flexibility, and support will help to get the team back on track. Sometimes, simply taking them to another location outside of the company walls for a day of training, lunch, and strategic planning can be a good idea. Setting new positive team goals and projects can also help. Employees will need to feel safe and feel that they can trust their leader and each other to effectively deal with the impact of the investigation. The worst possible scenario would be to simply ignore the impact an investigation can have on team members and continue with “business as usual,” thinking that, by ignoring the situation, employees will be able to concentrate on their job. In most cases, as we have seen above, the perpetrator will not get any type of punishment and return to his or her position. The amount of damage this individual can do to others and the organization after returning to his or her position goes beyond harassment. In fact, as we will see in the next chapter, harassment is not the only form of counterproductive work behavior that individuals with dark personalities perpetrate to gain power and access to resources.
Practice section: anti-harassment policy and anti-harassment programs Write an anti-harassment policy and an anti-harassment program that includes general workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and incivility in the workplace. You will find samples of workplace harassment policies and samples of workplace harassment programs online; however, as mentioned above, you can use the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Anti-harassment Policy Template which can be used by any type of organization (see their website at www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca). You can adapt it to your organization. I suggest adding incivility to the policy and program.
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References Ashforth, B. (1994). Petty tyranny in organizations. Human Relations, 47(7), 755e778. https:// doi.org/10.1177/001872679404700701. Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2019). Snakes in suits: Understanding and surviving the psychopaths in your office. New York: Harper Collins. Baron, R. A., & Neuman, J. H. (1996). Workplace violence and workplace aggression: Evidence on their relative frequency and potential causes. Aggressive Behavior, 22(3), 161e173. Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1993). Transformational leadership and organizational culture. Public Administration Quarterly, 17(1), 112e121. Baughman, H. M., Dearing, S., Giammarco, E., & Vernon, P. A. (2012). Relationships between bullying behaviours and the dark Triad: A study with adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(5), 571e575. Baumeister, R. F., Smart, L., & Boden, J. M. (1996). Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self-esteem. Psychological Review, 103(1), 5. Bell, M. P., Quick, J. C., & Cycyota, C. S. (2002). Assessment and prevention of sexual harassment of employees: An applied guide to creating healthy organizations. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 10(1-2), 160e167. Blair, R. J. R. (2001). Neurocognitive models of aggression, the antisocial personality disorders, and psychopathy. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 71(6), 727e731. Book, A. S., Volk, A. A., & Hosker, A. (2012). Adolescent bullying and personality: An adaptive approach. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(2), 218e223. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.paid.2011.10.028. von Borries, A. K. L., Volman, I., de Bruijn, E. R. A., Bulten, B. H., Verkes, R. J., & Roelofs, K. (2012). Psychopaths lack the automatic avoidance of social threat: Relation to instrumental aggression. Psychiatry Research, 200(2e3), 761e766. Bowling, N. A., & Beehr, T. A. (2006). Workplace harassment from the victim’s perspective: A theoretical model and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(5), 998. Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 219. Capozzoli, T. K. (2003). The organizational model for workplace security. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 36, 781. Canadian Human Rights Commission. (2006). Anti-Harassment Policies for the Workplace: An Employer’s Guide. (pp. 1e42). Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Cornell, D. G., Warren, J., Hawk, G., Stafford, E., Oram, G., & Pine, D. (1996). Psychopathy in instrumental and reactive violent offenders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(4), 783. Duffy, M., & Sperry, L. (2007). Workplace mobbing: Individual and family health consequences. The Family Journal, 15(4), 398e404. Farrell, A. H., Provenzano, D. A., Dane, A. V., Marini, Z. A., & Volk, A. A. (2017). Maternal knowledge, adolescent personality, and bullying. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 413e416. Hango, D., & Moyser, M. (2018). Harassment in Canadian workplaces. (pp. 1e22). Ottawa, Canada: Statistics Canada. Hare, R. D. (1999a). Psychopathy as a risk factor for violence. Psychiatric Quarterly, 70(3), 181e197.
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Hare, R. D. (1999b). Without conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us. Guilford Press. Hodson, R., Roscigno, V. J., & Lopez, S. H. (2006). Chaos and the abuse of power: Workplace bullying in organizational and interactional context. Work and Occupations, 33(4), 382e416. Jones, D. N. (2013). Psychopathy and Machiavellianism predict differences in racially motivated attitudes and their affiliations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, E367eE378. Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2010). Different provocations trigger aggression in narcissists and psychopaths. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(1), 12e18. Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2011). The role of impulsivity in the Dark Triad of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(5), 679e682. Kerig, P. K., & Stellwagen, K. K. (2010). Roles of callous-unemotional traits, narcissism, and Machiavellianism in childhood aggression. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 32(3), 343e352. Leymann, H., & Gustafsson, A. (1996). Mobbing at work and the development of post-traumatic stress disorders. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 5(2), 251e275. Mathieu, C. (2021). Psychopathy and corporate crime. In P. B. Marques, P. Mauro, & L. Alho (Eds.), Psychopathy and criminal behavior (1st ed., p. 250). New York: Elsevier. Mathieu, C., Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2020). Psychopathy in the workplace. In F. Alan, & S. Henning (Eds.), The wiley international handbook on psychopathic disorders and the law: Volume I diagnosis and treatment (2nd ed., pp. 607e644). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Mathisen, G. E., Einarsen, S., & Mykletun, R. (2011). The relationship between supervisor personality, supervisors’ perceived stress and workplace bullying. Journal of Business Ethics, 99(4), 637e651. Matthiesen, S. B., & Einarsen, S. (2007). Perpetrators and targets of bullying at work: Role stress and individual differences. Violence and Victims, 22(6), 735e753. Mitsopoulou, E., & Giovazolias, T. (2015). Personality traits, empathy and bullying behavior: A meta-analytic approach. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 21, 61e72. Namie, G. (2003). Workplace bullying: Escalated incivility. Ivey Business Journal, 68(2), 1e6. Namie, G. (2017). 2017 Workplace Bullying Institute U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey. (pp. 1e28). San Francisco, California: Workplace Bullying Institute. Pearson, C. M., Andersson, L. M., & Porath, C. L. (2000). Assessing and attacking workplace incivility. Organizational Dynamics, 29(2), 123e137. Porter, S., Woodworth, M., Earle, J., Drugge, J., & Boer, D. (2003). Characteristics of sexual homicides committed by psychopathic and non psychopathic offenders. Law and Human Behavior, 27(5), 459e470. Raver, J. L., & Nishii, L. H. (2010). Once, twice, or three times as harmful? Ethnic harassment, gender harassment, and generalized workplace harassment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 236e254. Robichaud v. Treasury Board. (1987). (Accessed 18 September 2020). Salin, D. (2009). Organisational responses to workplace harassment: An exploratory study. Personnel Review, 38(1), 26e44. Seigne, E., Coyne, I., Randall, P., & Parker, J. (2007). Personality traits of bullies as a contributory factor in workplace bullying: An exploratory study. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, 10(1), 118. Shore, L. M., Randel, A. E., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., Holcombe Ehrhart, K., & Singh, G. (2011). Inclusion and diversity in work groups: A review and model for future research. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1262e1289.
146 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Valentine, S., & Fleischman, G. (2003). The impact of self-esteem, Machiavellianism, and social capital on attorneys’ traditional gender outlook. Journal of Business Ethics, 43(4), 323e335. Valentine, S., & Fleischman, G. (2018). From schoolyard to workplace: The impact of bullying on sales and business employees’ machiavellianism, job satisfaction, and perceived importance of an ethical issue. Human Resource Management, 57(1), 293e305. Walsh, Z., Swogger, M. T., & Kosson, D. S. (2009). Psychopathy and instrumental violence: Facet level relationships. Journal of Personality Disorders, 23(4), 416e424. Wei, H.-S., & Chen, J.-K. (2012). The moderating effect of Machiavellianism on the relationships between bullying, peer acceptance, and school adjustment in adolescents. School Psychology International, 33(3), 345e363. Willness, C. R., Steel, P., & Lee, K. (2007). A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of workplace sexual harassment. Personnel Psychology, 60(1), 127e162. Zapf, D., & Einarsen, S. (2001). Bullying in the workplace: Recent trends in research and practice an introduction. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 10(4), 369e373. Zapf, D., Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., & Vartia, M. (2020). Empirical findings on bullying in the workplace. In Stale Einarsen, Helge Hoel, Dieter Zapf, & Cary Cooper (Eds.), Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace. (pp. 103e126). London and New York: Taylor and Francis. Zeigler-Hill, V., Besser, A., Morag, J., & Campbell, W. K. (2016). The Dark Triad and sexual harassment proclivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 89, 47e54.
Negative attitudes, counterproductive work behavior, and corporate fraud Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. Maya Angelou
As we will see in this chapter, it takes courage to stand up to individuals who are dishonest and who, by their actions, hurt others and the organization. There are many ways in which employees and managers can affect an organization and its employees. In the previous chapter, we have seen how dark personality traits are associated with violence in the workplace. However, while harassment has received a lot of attention from researchers in the past decades, other organizational misbehaviors, such as corporate fraud, have received very little attention. Considering the cost of corporate fraud (USD 7.1 billion in 2018, according to the Association of Fraud Examiners), it may seem surprising that research on the topic is so scarce. Nevertheless, as we will see, the mechanisms protecting perpetrators of workplace harassment are very similar to the ones protecting fraudsters. Since most organizations do not come forward and declare corporate fraud for fear of bad publicity, it is not an easy subject to study. In this chapter, I will address how dark personalities are associated with corporate fraud and other workplace misbehavior. I will also present how individuals with dark personalities can damage work climate and team productivity by using counterproductive work behaviors (CWB) and harboring negative workplace attitudes. This chapter addresses three categories of dark tendencies in the workplace: negative employee attitudes, CWB, and corporate fraud. I will discuss how dark personalities are at the root of each of these dark tendencies.
Dark personalities and employee attitudes Job satisfaction Locke (1976, p. 1300) has defined job satisfaction as the “positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences.” Job Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00007-7 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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satisfaction has been extensively studied in business literature as it is one of the best predictors of employee performance (Judge, Thoresen, Bono, & Patton, 2001) and employee turnover (Hellman, 1997). More importantly, job satisfaction predicts organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) (helpful behaviors performed without being required) (Williams & Anderson, 1991). In a study on narcissism and job satisfaction, I found that employees scoring high on narcissism were less satisfied with their job and that narcissism predicted job satisfaction above and beyond the traits included in the FiveFactor Model (FFM) of personality (Mathieu, 2013). Interestingly, another study found that narcissistic employees were less satisfied and felt overqualified for their job (Maynard, Brondolo, Connelly, & Sauer, 2015). Similar associations have been found between Machiavellianism and job satisfaction (Gable & Topol, 1987; Gemmill & Heisler, 1972). In my organizational samples, I have found that all three DT personalities are associated with lower job satisfaction scores and lower levels of satisfaction with one’s leader. In a study on psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and satisfaction with life, authors have found that both dark personalities scored significantly lower on life satisfaction (Ali & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2010). In a study on psychopathy and well-being, research has found that psychopathy was associated with low levels of life satisfaction, happiness, and positive affect (Love & Holder, 2014). Companies invest a lot of money and resources into increasing employees’ levels of job satisfaction, employee retention, and productivity. However, there may be a subset of employees for whom job satisfaction initiatives will not have the desired impact as low satisfaction is ingrained within their personality.
Organizational commitment, turnover intention, and loyalty Machiavellianism and psychopathy have been negatively associated with relationship commitment (Ali & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2010). Narcissism is also linked to low relationship commitment, in part, because narcissistic individuals perceive the quality of alternative partners to be higher than do less narcissistic individuals (Campbell & Foster, 2002). I believe that the same is true for organizational commitment. Indeed, employees with dark personalities would likely score low on organizational commitment as they would evaluate possibilities of obtaining better positions in other organizations higher than employees who do not present dark personalities. Furthermore, as presented in previous chapters, individuals with dark personalities have an inflated view of themselves. They may thinking that they can do better than the organization they are presently working for. Finally, as we have discussed earlier, individuals with dark personalities are motivated by agentic goals rather than communal goals, meaning that their motivation is associated with positive rewards for themselves and has nothing to do with the wellness of others or the organization they work for. In fact, Zettler, Friedrich, and Hilbig (2011) found that Machiavellianism is positively
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associated with self-related career commitment and negatively associated with organizational, supervisor, and team commitment. Meyer and Allen (1991) presented a three-component model of organizational commitment: 1. Affective commitment (emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organization); 2. Continuance commitment (perceived costs associated with leaving the organization); 3. Normative commitment (perceived obligation to remain in the organization). Of the three forms of organizational commitment, affective commitment has the strongest and most favorable correlations with organizational and employee outcomes such as higher levels of employee attendance, performance, organizational citizenship behaviors, and lower levels of stress and workefamily conflict (Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch, & Topolnytsky, 2002). Researchers have found that individuals high on Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Extraversion report higher affective commitment levels (Panaccio & Vandenberghe, 2012). Considering that dark personality traits have been linked to lower levels of relationship commitment and that all three Dark Triad (DT) personalities are associated with low levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, there is reason to believe that they would score low on organizational commitment. Low job satisfaction and low organizational commitment have been known to increase the risk of turnover intentions (thinking about quitting one’s job) (Mathieu, Fabi, Lacoursie`re, & Raymond, 2016). In fact, in my studies, I have found that all three dark personalities present higher scores of turnover intentions.
Work motivation In a study on the motivational foundations of the DT, Jonason and Ferrell (2016) found that all three DT personalities were associated with motivations toward dominance and power. In a study on motivation/work values and personality, Furnham, Eracleous, and Chamorro-Premuzic (2009) found that high Agreeableness predicted security and job conditions motivation while high Conscientiousness predicted personal development and stimulation motivation; they found that none of the FFM traits significantly predicted status and rewards. These motivational concepts are similar to the concepts of autonomous and controlled motivation defined by Deci, Olafsen, and Ryan (2017, p. 20) as such: “Autonomous motivation is characterized by people being engaged in an activity with a full sense of willingness, volition, and choice. Often, autonomously regulated activities are intrinsically motivated. In contrast, when motivation is controlled, either through contingent rewards or power dynamics, the extrinsic focus that results can narrow the range of employees’ efforts, produce short-term gains on targeted outcomes and have negative spillover effects on subsequent performance and work engagement.” In the workplace, autonomous motivation has been, so far, associated with higher levels of work engagement (van Beek, Taris, & Schaufeli, 2011), higher
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levels of job satisfaction (Gillet, Fouquereau, Lafrenie`re, & Huyghebaert, 2016), and higher levels of work performance (Kuvass & Dysvik, 2009). Olesen, Thomsen, Schnieber, and Tønnesvang (2010) found that autonomy orientation was positively predicted by Extraversion, Openness, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness. The fact that DT personalities are low on both Agreeableness and Conscientiousness and that their motivation for action is mostly based on extrinsic focus such as obtaining money, status, and power leads me to believe that employees presenting DT traits would score low on autonomous motivation. In my organizational samples, I have found psychopathy to be negatively associated with autonomous motivation.
Organizational citizenship behaviors Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) represent behaviors that go beyond what is asked of the employee or formally recognized by the reward system (i.e., performance appraisal system). Smith, Organ, and Near (1983) have created a measure of OCB that is composed of two factors: altruism (helping others, volunteering for tasks that are not required) and compliance to rules (punctuality, attendance, does not spend extra time on breaks). Authors found that employees’ tendency to lie was the strongest predictor of low levels of rule compliance, meaning that employees who tend to lie also have a tendency not to comply with organizational rules (Smith et al., 1983). Furthermore, some researchers have divided OCB by target (individuals vs. the organization). Results indicate that high Agreeableness is more strongly associated with OCB directed at individuals, while high levels of Conscientiousness are more strongly associated with OCB directed at the organization (Ilies, Fulmer, Spitzmuller, & Johnson, 2009). Research has identified that, while the concepts of OCB and social loafing (withholding efforts and performing at suboptimal level) differ, two factors were significant predictors of both OCB and social loafing: Conscientiousness and felt Responsibility (both were positively associated with OCB and negatively associated with social loafing) (Hoon & Tan, 2008). Individuals presenting dark personalities score low on both Conscientiousness and Responsibility, indicating that they may be more inclined to perform social loafing and less inclined to perform OCB. Not surprisingly, research has found that narcissistic individuals score ¨ ncer, 2012). Szabo´, Czibor, Resta´s, and Bereczkei lower on OCB (Yildiz & O (2018) conducted a study on DT personalities and OCB and have found that, while all three DT personalities score lower on OCB directed at the organization, only Machiavellianism and psychopathy were significantly associated with lower scores on OCB directed at individuals. The authors also found that psychopathy was the only DT personality to present significantly lower scores for OCB associated with in-role behavior (behavior expected of the employees) (Szabo´ et al., 2018). This last result is in-line with Babiak and colleagues’ results, showing that psychopathic individuals do not live up to expectations in terms of work performance (Babiak, Neumann, & Hare, 2010).
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Research on employee attitudes has been very prolific in the past three decades, in part due to the impact these behaviors are known to have on employee and organizational performance. Through their HR division or consultants, organizations invest a lot of resources to increase employee motivation, satisfaction, commitment, and retention. As we have seen in the previous section, hiring individuals presenting dark personalities will dampen the results of any effort put into improving employee attitudes as their attitudes are rooted in their personality structure, which is rather stable over time. Nevertheless, efforts to change organizational culture and improve the workplace to increase employee satisfaction and retention have a positive impact on most employees and should definitely be pursued. As we have seen in the section on work motivation, individuals presenting dark personalities are motivated by power and personal gain and may find satisfaction in conducting behaviors that are detrimental to the team and the organization but beneficial to themselves. Most employees who are dissatisfied with their job, unmotivated, and think about leaving their company may not work at optimal performance, yet they would not purposefully hurt the organization they work for. However, there is a subset of employees who think they deserve more than what they are offered and who are willing to perpetrate hurtful and damaging actions to the company or others to get what they want. Employee attitudes are mostly unintentional; however, in the next section, I will present intentional acts perpetrated against individuals and the organization to obtain personal gain.
Counterproductive work behaviors Spector et al. (2006, p. 448) define CWB as “intentional behavior that harms or intends to harm organizations and its members.” In the research literature, these behaviors include workplace violence, loafing, deviance, and corporate fraud. Miles, Borman, Spector, and Fox (2002) have compared predictors of CWB with predictors of OCB (see the section above) and found that, OCB is predicted by positive emotions, while negative emotions and trait anger predict CWB. Having studied the relationship between trait anger and intimate partner abuse, I am not surprised to see that this trait is associated with CWB, especially since the authors of the study mentioned that the items used to measure CWB included: “Insulted someone about their job performance”; “Made fun of someone’s personal life”; “Refused to help a coworker”; “Started an argument with a coworker” (Miles et al., 2002, p. 54). These items are very similar to the items included in the intimate partner violence measure we used; only these behaviors are applied to the workplace, of course (Genest & Mathieu, 2014). While all three DT personalities are associated with intimate
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partner abuse, psychopathy is the strongest predictor of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, economic violence, and stalking (Kiire, 2017). There is, thus, reason to believe that psychopathic individuals are responsible for numerous and diverse forms of violence and misbehavior in the workplace. Individuals presenting DT personalities are not only responsible for interpersonal violent crimes. In fact, a study showed that all three DT personalities were also associated with the propensity to lie, antiauthority behaviors, bullying/harassment, driving misbehavior, soft drug abuse, minor criminality, and serious criminality (Azizli et al., 2016). The authors also found that psychopathy was the best predictor of soft and hard drug abuse, minor criminality, and serious criminality, while Machiavellianism was the best predictor of the propensity to lie (Azizli et al., 2016). This indicates that employees presenting dark personalities may have the capacity and propensity to use a wide array of misbehavior in the workplace. This information may prove helpful when building a case against these individuals in the workplace (see Chapter 8 for more details on how to deal with dark personalities in the workplace). In fact, Gruys and Sackett (2003) found that an employee engaging in one type of CWB is more likely to engage in other types of CWB. Berry, Ones, and Sackett (2007) found low Agreeableness to be associated with interpersonal deviance while low Conscientiousness was associated with organizational deviance. As we have seen, DT personalities are low on both Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, which, along with other traits, makes them susceptible to commit both interpersonal and organizational deviant behaviors. Furthermore, Lee, Ashton, and Shin (2005) have found a relationship between low scores of Honesty-Humility, a trait on which all DT personalities score low, and interpersonal and organizational CWB. Robinson and Bennett (1995) add to the interpersonal versus organizational categorization of CWB by considering the seriousness of the behavior. They, thus, built a quadrant in which: 1. Minor organizational CWB refers to production deviance (leaving early, taking excessive breaks, intentionally working slow, wasting resources), 2. Serious organizational CWB refers to property deviance (sabotaging equipment, accepting kickbacks, lying about hours worked, stealing from the company), 3. Minor interpersonal CWB refers to political deviance (showing favoritism, gossiping about coworkers, blaming coworkers, competing nonbeneficially), and 4. Serious interpersonal CWB refers to personal aggression (sexual harassment, verbal abuse, stealing from coworkers, endangering coworkers). Before choosing their two dimensions for the quadrant (interpersonal vs. organizational and minor vs. serious), the authors looked at other labels such as unintentional/intentional, unethical vs. ethical, and covert vs. overt (Robinson & Bennett, 1995). I believe that all of these labels are useful when trying to understand CWB.
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Spector et al. (2006) have classified CWB along five dimensions: 1. Abuse against others In Chapter 6, I have discussed the aspects of abuse against others in the workplace (workplace violence), its factors, and its consequences extensively. I will, thus, not expand on the subject in this chapter. However, as noted above, research has established that individuals who commit one type of CWB are more likely to commit other types of CWB. Spector et al. (2006) have found abuse against others to be associated with higher rates of theft, withdrawal, as well as general counterproductive behavior against others and the organization. Thus, it seems that individuals who commit interpersonal abuse in the workplace are more likely to commit theft and to be absent or late for work. Indeed, as we will see in the section on theft and corporate fraud, it seems that individuals who commit corporate fraud are more likely to commit interpersonal violence in the workplace. Understanding that some negative workplace behaviors can be an indication of other forms of CWB could prove to be very helpful when investigating perpetrators. 2. Production deviance “Production deviance is the purposeful failure to perform job tasks effectively the way they are supposed to be performed” (Spector et al., 2006, p. 449). A meta-analysis on FFM and job performance indicated that the best predictor of job performance is employees’ high levels of Conscientiousness (Salgado, 2003). While research has typically not found Agreeableness to be associated with job performance, Witt, Burke, Barrick, and Mount (2002) report that employees high on Conscientiousness but low on Agreeableness were not as effective as employees high on both traits. Since, as mentioned above, all DT personalities are low on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, it is safe to think that employees high on DT traits would rate lower on job performance. Indeed, O’Boyle Jr., Forsyth, Banks, and McDaniel (2012) found reductions in quality of job performance to be associated with increases in Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Furthermore, Judge, Lepine, and Rich (2006) have found a link between high levels of narcissism and unsatisfactory task performance. Guo (2012) studied the influence of Confucian values on production deviance. Confucianism is an Asian teaching anchored in the following values: unity and harmony, self-discipline and diligence, and obedience to authority. The author found that Confucian values were positively associated with job satisfaction and negatively associated with production deviance (work sabotage, slackness, and withdrawal) (Guo, 2012). Although production deviance and sabotage may seem related, Spector et al. (2006) did not find a significant relationship between the two. I believe that one possible explanation for this is
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that production deviance is a more passive form of CWB, and while it may be perpetrated by individuals with dark personalities, it may also be associated with employee psychological distress caused by organizational or personal factors. To differentiate the two, we need to look at the underlying reasons employees underperform and look at employees’ work history. As I teach my students, it is crucial, when managing performance, to differentiate between employees who are experiencing difficulties and difficult employees (see Chapter 8 for information on how to intervene with both types of employees). While I believe that dark individuals are likely to perform both production deviance and sabotage, I believe that employees suffering from psychological distress who do not display high levels of DT traits would only score higher on production deviance. Indeed, production deviance can be seen as a form of passive violence or be associated with the psychological inability to perform a task. In contrast, sabotage is a voluntary act of violence against objects or property belonging to the organization, and I believe that individuals who commit sabotage present a unique profile, a dark profile. 3. Sabotage “Sabotage is defacing or destroying physical property belonging to the employer” (Spector et al., 2006, p. 449). In terms of individual differences, sabotage has been associated with low internalization of moral identity (associated with moral reasoning) (Skarlicki, Van Jaarsveld, & Walker, 2008) and high risk-taking proclivity (Harris & Ogbonna, 2006). As seen in previous chapters, DT personalities score high on risk-taking and low on moral reasoning. 4. Withdrawal “Withdrawal consists of behaviors that restrict the amount of time working to less than is required by the organization. It includes absence, arriving late or leaving early, and taking longer breaks than authorized” (Spector et al., 2006, p. 450). The authors have found that withdrawal is the only CWB associated with boredom (Spector et al., 2006). While DT personalities would perform withdrawal when the job is not “exciting enough,” I believe that withdrawal can also be caused by stress factors, an unhealthy work climate, and/or employee psychological distress symptoms. 5. Theft Spector et al. (2006) mention that theft has more instrumental than hostile motives. Interestingly, in their study of the five different CWB, Spector et al. (2006) found that theft was significantly related to all of the other CWB. In a ¨ zsoy (2018) found that psychopathy study on CWB and DT personalities, O and Machiavellianism were related to employee theft. The CWB theft measure used by Spector et al. (2006) includes infractions such as: taking supplies home, taking something belonging to someone at work, taking money from the employer without permission, stealing something belonging to the employer, and putting in to be paid for more hours than the hours worked. Although these
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behaviors represent high costs for organizations, I believe that more severe forms of theft need to be addressed in this chapter, even though they are not traditionally included in CWB literature. The next section will, thus, address corporate fraud and its association with dark personalities.
Corporate fraud Corporate fraud or occupational fraud is perpetrated by employees or managers within their own organizations. According to the Association of Fraud Examiners (2018), organizations lose about 5% of annual revenues to occupational fraud (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018). In a 2018 study, the Association of Fraud Examiners found a total loss due to occupational fraud of USD 7.1 billion for companies worldwide (median loss was USD 130 000; 55% of occupational frauds cost less than USD 200 000, 22% cost more than USD 1 million) (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018). Despite these numbers, research on corporate fraud is extremely scarce. The fact that corporate fraud may appear to be a victimless crime compared to other crimes may explain the dearth of research on the topic. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2018), corporate fraud can be classified into three broad categories:
Conflicts of interest; Bribery; Illegal gratuities; Economic extortion.
Asset misappropriation - Cash (theft of cash on hand, theft of cash receipts, fraudulent disbursement); - Inventory and all other assets (misuse or larceny).
Financial statement fraud - Net worth/net income overstatements; - Net worth/net income understatements. The most common fraud scheme used across the world within different types of organizations is corruption. 70% of corruption is perpetrated by someone in a position of authority, and men commit 82% of corruption (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018). Higher-level employees commit the most costly frauds. This is probably due to the fact that managers and executives have access to organizational resources that lower-level employees don’t have access to and that, as the fraudster’s level of authority
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increases, it takes longer to detect fraud. In fact, in their 2018 report, the Association of Fraud examiners explain that it takes about 12 months to detect fraud committed by employees, 18 months to detect fraud committed by managers, and 24 months to detect fraud committed by owners/executives (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018). In Chapter 4 of the present book, I presented models explaining how employees with dark personalities operated in the workplace (the Psychopathic Process Model; Babiak, 2016) and how difficult it is to hold managers accountable for their actions (Why bad bosses stay in good places; Shapiro & Von Glinow, 2007). These models are not just applicable to abusive leadership; they also apply to misbehavior in the workplace, including corporate fraud. In fact, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2018) reports that, after being found guilty of occupational fraud, 26% of perpetrators will never receive any kind of punishment for their actions, which means that a significant number of fraudsters will have no record of having perpetrated a fraud. These statistics explain why most individuals convicted of corporate fraud were never prosecuted before, which perpetuates the idea that corporate fraud may be a situational problem and a one-time crime, perpetrated by employees or managers going through difficult situations rather than a premeditated crime committed by dark individuals who not only commit these types of crimes but other corporate misbehavior. In fact, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2018) found that 62% of owners/executives fraudsters also engaged in other types of misconduct; bullying and intimidation was the most common type of non-fraud-related misconduct they perpetrated. This leads us to analyze the profile of employees and managers who engage in corporate fraud.
Fraudster profile Profile statistics (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018) - 70% of corporate fraud is committed by men. - Losses caused by men are four times larger than the losses caused by women. - Fraudsters who had been working for their company longer stole twice as much. - Higher-level employees are responsible for higher fraud loss. - 30% of fraudsters were 35 and younger, 52% were between the ages of 36 and 50, and 18% were 51 and up. However, the highest median loss was for fraudsters between the ages of 56 and 60. - 64% of fraudsters had a university degree. - 89% of fraudsters were never charged or convicted of a prior fraud.
Behavioral signs of corporate fraud The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has identified six behavioral red flags for corporate fraud (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018):
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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Living beyond means; Financial difficulties; Unusually close association with vendor/customer; Control issues, unwillingness to share duties; Irritability, suspiciousness, or defensiveness; “Wheeler-dealer” attitude. Similarly, Campbell (1993) presents the following fraud warning signs:
Significant changes in behavior, including unexplained mood swings; Reluctance to take vacations or be away from the office; Suggestions of heavy personal debt; Extravagant purchases or lifestyle; Unusually close ties to vendors or a sudden switch in long-term vendors; Tendency to manage by crisis; a disregard for structure, controls, or procedures; - A desire to control operations and safeguard assets; a disregard for the segregation of duties; - Continual adversarial relationships with groups within and outside the organizationdparticularly auditors; - Chronic job frustration, a known malcontent. Other signs to look for are the perpetration of other types of misconduct. Indeed, as we have seen, most perpetrators engage in more than one form of CWB; looking at HR files and past performance appraisal results may indeed help identify fraudsters. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2018) have found that 45% of fraud offenders had committed some form of nonfraud workplace violation. The most common nonfraud violation was bullying or intimidation, which was observed in 20% of all cases. In Table 7.1, I have
TABLE 7.1 Corporate fraudsters’ non-fraud-related misconduct (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018) and CWB. Counterproductive work behaviors
Fraudsters’ non-fraud-related misconduct
Abuse against others
Bullying or intimidation Sexual harassment
Excessive absenteeism Excessive tardiness
Excessive internet browsing Poor performance evaluations
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included the non-fraud-related misconduct identified in the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2018) report and associated each misconduct with a category of CWB. These results indicate that there is a relationship between occupational fraud and other misbehaviors. Keep in mind that the percentage reported by the ACFE represents cases in which these behaviors had been flagged to HR; in other words, these numbers represent cases in which the perpetrator was “caught.” However, a large number of CWB, including harassment, is never declared. Interestingly, poor performance evaluations are one of the red flags for corporate fraud. This further provides evidence for the importance of conducting thorough and valid performance appraisals, even at the organization’s higher levels.
Personality correlates of corporate fraudsters A study on corporate fraud and personality indicated that fraudsters are more likely to be high on narcissism, low on Conscientiousness, high on hedonism, and low on behavioral self-control (Blickle, Schlegel, Fassbender, & Klein, 2006). Low self-control and low empathy are also predictive of intentions to engage in corporate fraud (embezzlement, credit card fraud, and shoplifting) (Craig, 2016). These results are interesting because low levels of empathy are, as discussed in Chapter 5, associated with dark leadership. Within the FFM of personality, as seen in Chapter 5 (Table 7.1), empathy (tender-mindedness) is a subscale of Agreeableness. Therefore, in terms of the FFM model of personality, propensity to commit a corporate crime has been associated with lower levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness (Turner, 2014). Collins and Schmidt (1993) have found corporate crime to be associated with irresponsibility, lack of dependability, and disregard for rules and social norms. The authors indicated that the best way to measure the difference between corporate criminals and managers who did not commit a corporate crime was an integrity test (Collins & Schmidt, 1993). A meta-analysis on the validity of integrity tests for employee selection purposes found that individuals high on integrity also scored high on FFM’s Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability. Marcus, Lee, and Ashton (2007) also found that HEXACO’s Honesty-Humility factor accounts for significantly more variance than FFM traits in explaining overt integrity tests. Integrity is often defined and/or overlaps with concepts such as honesty, trustworthiness, justice and compassion (Palanski & Yammarino, 2009); all three DT personalities score low on these traits. In fact, not surprisingly, research has found a significant link between psychopathy and corporate fraud (Ragatz, Fremouw, & Baker, 2012; Ray, 2007). Furthermore, the three DT personalities have been positively associated with the risk of committing insurance fraud (Modic, Paloma¨ki, Drosinou, & Laakasuo, 2018). A study on the relationship between Machiavellianism and fraud intention not only found that high Machiavellianism predicted intention
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to commit fraud but also showed that fraud intentions decreased when organizations had a whistleblowing system (Triantoro, Utami, & Joseph, 2020). It, thus, seems that organizational structures may act as a deterrent for corporate fraud. Before addressing organizational structures that decrease the risk of corporate fraud, let us first consider organizational structures that increase fraud risks.
Organizational structures that allow fraud and CWB Over the past ten years, referrals to prosecution for corporate fraud declined 16% and the top reason was the fear of bad publicity (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2018). We have seen similar scenarios for workplace harassment in Chapter 6. The presence of social media and the movements it can create has no doubt helped victims; however, it has also made organizations afraid of the scale of damage to the organization, should they decide to deal publicly with cases of internal fraud or harassment. Therefore, many organizations deal with these situations internally or simply ignore the problem. By wanting to protect their reputation, organizations protect perpetrators, and worse, they often either transfer them to another division within the organization or give them severance pay and a letter of recommendation allowing these individuals to recidivate elsewhere. Benson and Madensen (2007) discuss the importance of perceived criminal opportunities in white-collar crime. These perceived opportunities emanate from organizational culture and values. I would add that when an organization works to protect its reputation by “hiding” any type of misbehavior, it, in fact, sends out the message that there is an opportunity to commit a crime with very low probabilities of negative consequences even when caught. Perpetrators assess the risk vs. benefit ratio before carrying out any CWB or corporate fraud behaviors. This risk vs. benefit ratio is highly dependent upon environmental/ organizational factors. In fact, Benson and Madensen (2007) consider the applicability of a “Situation Crime Prevention Model” (used to reduce criminal recidivism rates in different types of criminal facilities) for white-collar crime. Situational crime prevention deals less with offenders’ individual characteristics than with the manipulation of environmental/organizational factors that can reduce the occurrence of crime. The authors present five ways of reducing the attractiveness of crime for potential offenders: 1. Increase the degree of effort necessary to carry out the offense, 2. Increase the risk of detection before, during, or after the completion of the criminal act, 3. Reduce the rewards that can be obtained by engaging in the offense, 4. Reduce situational conditions that may provoke an unplanned criminal action, 5. Remove the offender’s ability to make excuses that justify criminal actions or absolve the offender from responsibility (Benson & Madensen, 2007).
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Here is how I think these five actions can be applied to antipersonnel crime, CWB and corporate fraud: 1. Increase the degree of effort necessary to carry out the offense In the case of misbehavior or corporate fraud, access to organizational resources should be given through traceable mechanisms. Direct access to resources, even for management, should be reduced as much as possible. Conflicts of interest should be openly addressed, and any type of relationship between employees or managers and vendors or collaborators should be examined before granting contracts. Direct dealings with outside sources should be verified prior to being accepted. Cressey (1950) introduced a model explaining the motives for fraud, commonly called the fraud triangle, for it includes three components that increase the risk of fraud: 1. Opportunity (perceived feasibility of the crime with minimal risk), 2. Pressure (maintenance of lifestyle, debts), 3. Rationalization (justifying the crime). Increasing the efforts needed to carry out the offense reduces the Opportunity component of the fraud triangle. In the case of abusive behavior or harassment, prevention is the best method to keep perpetrators from committing these actions. Identifying what constitutes harassment behaviors, presenting it on posters and newsletters, and giving training on what constitutes harassment as well as presenting consequences awaiting perpetrators will reduce the perception of feasibility or opportunity. One factor that facilitates harassment behaviors is being outside the office (lunches, overnight training, or conferences), especially if there is alcohol involved. I am by no means implying that organizations should eliminate social gatherings or celebrations. However, it is essential to let employees and managers know that the same rules and regulations apply to behavioral interactions, whether these interactions occur inside or outside the office, on social media, or any other virtual platform. 2. Increase the risk of detection before, during, or after the completion of the criminal act According to the ACFE, anonymous tips are the most effective way to identify corporate fraud (followed by internal audit and management review). I believe that it plays a key role in the prevention of other types of CWB. Having a hotline in place for tips on misbehavior, including harassment, while ensuring informant confidentiality not only helps identify problematic employees and managers but may also serve as a deterrent for them to perpetrate CWB. Organizations should create a list of unacceptable behaviors that employees and managers should report. This list should include inappropriate interpersonal behavior, abusive behavior, suspicious transactions, and any other workplace misbehavior. Furthermore, organizations should have clear, unbiased procedures for investigations when a complaint is lodged or when tips or information warrant an investigation.
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The regular use of surveys on work climate within the entire organization is important. It should include both psychometric questions using scales (e.g., 1 ¼ strongly disagree to 5 ¼ strongly agree) and open-ended questions through which employees and managers can anonymously express themselves. Surveys including vendors, clients, and other collaborators are also essential to get a clear picture of what is going on. HR and managers should be alert when they receive tips concerning harassment, abusive behavior toward employees or colleagues, and poor performance reviews. Since individuals who commit one form of CWB are likely to commit other forms of CWB, tips on one misbehavior can lead to discovering numerous other behaviors that negatively impact the organization and its employees. Investigations into teams or individuals for one type of misbehavior following a tip or a formal complaint should also look into other possible forms of misbehaviors. 3. Reduce the rewards that can be obtained by engaging in the offense Act quickly when you detect fraud or other CWB. The longer a fraud or CWB lasts, the greater the financial and interpersonal damages. When it comes to workplace misbehavior, action is the best prevention. Showing that the organization takes misbehavior seriously and is ready to take action sends perpetrators the message that success in their wrongful endeavors will be short-lived and that the consequences will outweigh the gains. 4. Reduce situational conditions that may provoke an unplanned criminal action Build a positive organizational culture based on transparency and have clear rules on occupational fraud and other CWB. As we have seen in previous chapters, organizational culture is transmitted through leadership. Leaders, thus, play a crucial role in identifying and modeling acceptable vs. unacceptable behaviors and implementing organizational values. Positive values have been associated with a reduction in CWB. Individuals who score high on principled and caring values and have an accurate perception of ethical conduct are less likely to perpetrate CWB (Deshpande & Joseph, 2010). Fox, Spector, and Miles (2001) report that job stressors such as organizational constraints, interpersonal conflict, and perceived injustice are conducive to CWB. Leadership does not simply play a central role in identifying, transmitting, and implementing organizational values; leaders who are present for their team, who listen to employees, and give them the support they need during stressful times can reduce the impact of job stressors on employees. In order to be able to have an impact on employee’s well-being, leaders have to be there for their employees, listen to them, and understand their reality. Of the three leadership styles included in the Full Range Leadership Model, Laissez-Faire leadership has the most negative impact on employees. The absence of real leadership means that employees are not
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receiving the benefits of having a great leader; they are not getting the support they need and the recognition for the work they do. More importantly, an absent leader cannot transmit organizational values and, therefore, leaves the door open for ill-intentioned individuals to take advantage of the team’s resources, human and material. 5. Remove the offender’s ability to make excuses that justify criminal actions or that absolve the offender from responsibility This fith action refers to the “Rationalization” aspect of the Fraud Triangle presented above. As I have mentioned at the beginning of this chapter and in the chapter on workplace harassment, organizations need to have the courage to deal with corporate misbehavior. Ignoring the situation, conducting ineffective or biased investigations, or transferring the perpetrator to another division of the company sends a message to the perpetrator and employees that individuals who commit CWB or corporate fraud will not be punished. Not making perpetrators accountable for their actions will increase the risks of seeing these types of behaviors in the future since victims or bystanders will not be likely to report misbehavior, therefore increasing perceived opportunity for future perpetrators. The first step here is to have clear rules and regulations and make each employee and manager aware of what constitutes CWB and fraud and indicate how individuals will be held accountable for these misbehaviors, and present organizational actions that will be taken against perpetrators. These should be introduced to every new employee entering the organization, when a new manager is hired (whether through an internal promotion process or for candidates from outside the organization), and regularly presented in pamphlets, emails, training, posters, etc. Taking action against perpetrators will send a clear message that the company is taking its ethical values seriously and will not tolerate an unhealthy workplace regardless of the perpetrator’s rank or position.
The best prevention is to have a hiring process that allows screening out unethical employees The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (2018) reports that, of the victim organizations included in their study, only 52% ran background checks on employees as part of the hiring process. Of the organizations that did run a background check as part of the selection process, 10% received a red flag concerning the perpetrator but decided to hire the individual regardless. Using background checks, a behavioral interview, and psychometric testing focusing on traits associated with CWB and fraud (in addition to the competencies needed for the job) should help reduce the probability of hiring individuals who are at risk of committing workplace misbehavior. By gaining a better understanding of the perpetrator profile for workplace misconduct, professionals in charge of hiring and promotion can prevent them from entering
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TABLE 7.2 Relationship between DT personalities, personality traits, counterproductive work behaviors, and corporate fraud. Misconduct
DT personalities and personality traits
Low versus high scores
Note: The traits that were left unchecked do not indicate that there is no relationship between these traits and CWB or corporate fraud; rather, it simply indicates that the relationship was not presented in the chapter or not yet measured in research.
the organization and/or obtaining a management position, thus reducing the risks of workplace violence and corporate fraud. To help readers identify traits associated with CWB and corporate fraud, I have created Table 7.2 including all of the traits presented in this chapter that are associated with CWB and corporate fraud. Note that these traits were also listed in the table presented in Chapter 1, where I put in relation workplace competencies and DT personalities. Putting the two tables side by side, you will see clearly how dark personalities are associated with misbehavior in the workplace. In the next chapter, I will offer recommendations on how to deal with employees and managers presenting dark personalities when they have managed to enter the organization.
Practice section: writing a counterproductive work behavior policy and program For this practice section, 1. Write a policy and program that will address CWB based on the elements we have seen above.
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2. Make adjustments to the three competency frameworks you have created in Chapter 3, taking into account the elements presented in Table 7.2 and the information introduced in this chapter. Make sure that you add to your competency framework the competencies associated with the different types of CWB and corporate fraud.
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166 Dark Personalities in the Workplace Love, A. B., & Holder, M. D. (2014). Psychopathy and subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 66, 112e117. Marcus, B., Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2007). Personality dimensions explaining relationships between integrity tests and counterproductive behavior: Big Five, or one in addition? Personnel Psychology, 60(1), 1e34. Mathieu, C. (2013). Personality and job satisfaction: The role of narcissism. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(6), 650e654. Mathieu, C., Fabi, B., Lacoursie`re, R., & Raymond, L. (2016). The role of supervisory behavior, job satisfaction and organizational commitment on employee turnover. Journal of Management and Organization, 22(1), 113e129. Maynard, D. C., Brondolo, E. M., Connelly, C. E., & Sauer, C. E. (2015). I’m too good for this job: Narcissism’s role in the experience of overqualification. Applied Psychology, 64(1), 208e232. Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1991). A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment. Human Resources Management Review, 1(1), 61e89. Meyer, J. P., Stanley, D. J., Herscovitch, L., & Topolnytsky, L. (2002). Affective, continuance, and normative commitment to the organization: A meta-analysis of antecedents, correlates, and consequences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 61(1), 20e52. Miles, D. E., Borman, W. E., Spector, P. E., & Fox, S. (2002). Building an integrative model of extra role work behaviors: A comparison of counterproductive work behavior with organizational citizenship behavior. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 10(1e2), 51e57. Modic, D., Paloma¨ki, J., Drosinou, M., & Laakasuo, M. (2018). The dark triad and willingness to commit insurance fraud. Cogent Psychology, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/23311908.2018. 1469579, 1-1. O’Boyle Jr., E. H., Forsyth, D. R., Banks, G. C., & McDaniel, M. A. (2012). A Meta-Analysis of the Dark Triad and Work Behavior: A Social Exchange Perspective. Journal of Aplied Psychology, 97(3), 557e579. Olesen, M. H., Thomsen, D. K., Schnieber, A., & Tønnesvang, J. (2010). Distinguishing general causality orientations from personality traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(5), 538e543. ¨ zsoy, E. (2018). Dark triad and counterproductive work behaviors: Which of the dark triad traits O _ ¸letme Aras¸tırmaları Dergisi, 10(4), 742e756. is more Malevolent? Is Palanski, M. E., & Yammarino, F. J. (2009). Integrity and leadership: A multi-level conceptual framework. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(3), 405e420. Panaccio, A., & Vandenberghe, C. (2012). Five-factor model of personality and organizational commitment: The mediating role of positive and negative affective states. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(3), 647e658. Ragatz, L. L., Fremouw, W., & Baker, E. (2012). The psychological profile of white-collar offenders: Demographics, criminal thinking, psychopathic traits, and psychopathology. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39(7), 978e997. Ray, J. V. (2007). Psychopathy, attitudinal beliefs, and white collar crime. Robinson, S. L., & Bennett, R. J. (1995). A typology of deviant workplace behaviors: A multidimensional scaling study. Academy of Management Journal, 38(2), 555e572. Salgado, J. F. (2003). Predicting job performance using FFM and non-FFM personality measures. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 76(3), 323e346. Shapiro, D. L., & Von Glinow, M. A. (2007). Why bad leaders stay in good places. In Research companion to the dysfunctional workplace (pp. 90e109).
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Skarlicki, D. P., Van Jaarsveld, D. D., & Walker, D. D. (2008). Getting even for customer mistreatment: The role of moral identity in the relationship between customer interpersonal injustice and employee sabotage. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(6), 1335. Smith, C., Organ, D. W., & Near, J. P. (1983). Organizational citizenship behavior: Its nature and antecedents. Journal of Applied Psychology, 68(4), 653. Spector, P. E., Fox, S., Penney, L. M., Bruursema, K., Goh, A., & Kessler, S. (2006). The dimensionality of counterproductivity: Are all counterproductive behaviors created equal? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68(3), 446e460. Szabo´, Z. P., Czibor, A., Resta´s, P., & Bereczkei, T. (2018). “The Darkest of all” the relationship between the Dark Triad traits and organizational citizenship behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 134, 352e356. Triantoro, H. D., Utami, I., & Joseph, C. (2020). Whistleblowing system, Machiavellian personality, fraud intention: An experimental study. Journal of Financial Crime, 27(1), 202e216. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-01-2019-0003. Turner, M. J. (2014). An investigation of big five personality and propensity to commit whitecollar crime. Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research, 17, 57e94. van Beek, I., Taris, T. W., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2011). Workaholic and work engaged employees: Dead ringers or worlds apart? Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 116(4), 468e482. Williams, L. J., & Anderson, S. E. (1991). Job satisfaction and organizational commitment as predictors of organizational citizenship and in-role behaviors. Journal of Management, 17(3), 601e617. Witt, L., Burke, L. A., Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (2002). The interactive effects of conscientiousness and agreeableness on job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(1), 164. ¨ ncer, A. Z. (2012). Narcissism as a moderator of the relationship between Yildiz, M. L., & O organizational trust and organizational citizenship behaviour. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(21). Zettler, I., Friedrich, N., & Hilbig, B. E. (2011). Dissecting work commitment: The role of Machiavellianism. Career Development International, 16(1), 20e35.
Don’t be afraid of the dark: how to manage dark employees The time is always right to do what is right. Martin Luther King
Now what? It is probably the question you are asking yourself at this point in the book. So far, I have explained who these individuals are, how they manage to get in and up the corporate ladder, and what damages they can do on the inside. I believe that dedicating a chapter to offering advice on dealing with employees and managers who present dark personalities is crucial. The truth is that the effectiveness of any selection process depends on the individuals using it. Indeed, selection, performance appraisal, and promotion processes are only valid when used properly, following ethical guidelines. Therein lies the problem. Candidates are not the only ones who introduce biases into these processes; evaluators in charge may also introduce favorable biases toward a candidate for personal or political reasons. In many cases, evaluators have preferences for a candidate before the process even begins. Therefore, although I have presented best practices to avoid dark individuals from entering the organization and being promoted, there is still a risk that some may “fall through the cracks” and manage to enter. Dealing with individuals presenting dark personalities in a work context is a challenge and can become exhausting. As we have seen, these individuals are master manipulators who will stop at nothing to get what they want with very little regard for the impact they may have on others. First, I will give advice on how to deal with individuals with dark personalities on a daily basis, and second, I will offer advice on how to deal with them in the event that they commit wrongful behavior (building a case against them).
Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00008-9 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Dealing with dark personalities in the workplace In this section, I will present advice on how to deal with colleagues, superiors, and employees presenting dark personalities in the workplace on an everyday basis.
If he or she is your colleague What to expect? -
May have a negative attitude. Can be very competitive. Can use you to get what he/she wants. Can pass your work and ideas as his/her own. Will not care about your well-being. Will occasionally create chaos and conflict within your team. Will criticize your supervisor when he/she is not around. May make inappropriate sexual comments or jokes. May act in a flirty, seductive way or use his/her physical attributes to charm others to seduce superiors, get contracts, or attract business.
What should you do? 1. Keep a safe distance As we have seen in Chapter 5 of this book, one way for individuals with dark personalities to gain power within organizations is to manipulate others into thinking that they share a special bond. By creating close personal relationships with people who can be beneficial to them, they gain other people’s trust and personal information, both of which give them an undeniable advantage and allow them to operate under the radar. My first piece of advice would be to keep a safe distance with these individuals; do not share too much personal information, and do not accept social invitations. Keep your relationship as professional as possible. As mentioned earlier, they tend to have closer than usual relationships with others in the workplace and tend to form intimate bonds very rapidly. I am not suggesting that the workplace is not a place to form friendships. However, keep in mind that what you say or do to coworkers can be disclosed in the workplace or, in the case of very competitive or ill-intentioned individuals, it can be used against you. One thing to remember about relationships with individuals presenting dark personalities is that they are never reciprocal. They are utilitarian. Although flattery and gifts may seem like generosity at first, they are actually investments that will allow them to make a “better profit” out of you. Keep your relationship with these individuals strictly professional.
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2. Keep an eye open and stay away from their schemes As we have seen in Chapter 7, employees and managers presenting dark personality traits are at higher risk of committing different types of workplace misbehavior, including harassment and corporate fraud. To achieve their schemes, fraudsters often collude with others (66% of owners/executives and 45% of nonowners/executives colluded with others to commit fraud; ACFE, 2018). If a colleague presents dark personality traits and you suspect that he or she may be acting unethically, keep an eye open on what they are doing and make sure that they do not involve you in their schemes. Again, if you have serious doubts or reasons to believe that this colleague is acting unethically, use the anonymous hotline to report his/her wrongdoing. Anonymous tips are the most common detection method for corporate fraud. Perhaps you will not be the only colleague to report the risk of unethical behavior on the part of this individual. As I mentioned in Chapter 7, anonymous hotlines should not be limited to behaviors related to fraud; they should also include other forms of unethical behaviors, including all forms of workplace violence. If the company you work for does not have an anonymous hotline, you could still send an anonymous letter or phone call to HR or a superior about the misbehavior. 3. Set clear limits to restrict the amount of damage Protect yourself, your well-being, reputation, and job by setting clear limits and respecting them. You may have to work with an individual presenting dark personality traits; however, you do not have to go above and beyond what should be expected of you as a colleague. You will find that what you give is never enough when working with individuals with dark personalities. They will exploit your weaknesses, abuse your generosity, and take that all for granted. It is, however, not easy to say no to them; they come up with excellent reasons and excuses that appeal to your compassion in order to explain their lack of productivity or to ask you to do their work. Expect manipulation and learn to say no. 4. Do not boast your successes Individuals with dark personalities are highly competitive and may see you as an adversary if you talk too much about your successes. This does not mean that you should not be proud of your accomplishments and share them with other team members. However, you should be careful with whom you share your personal accomplishments to make sure that you do not become a “target” or an “obstacle” to a colleague with dark personality traits.
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If he or she is your employee What to expect? -
Will not follow the rules. Will criticize your leadership when you are not there. Will try to hurt your reputation. Will lie to you. Will try to manipulate you and use impression management tactics. Will feel entitled to favors and special treatment. Will manipulate you to get what he/she wants. Will not be a good team member. Will not take criticism well. May commit counterproductive work behaviors (CWB). May have inappropriate conduct with coworkers and/or collaborators. May lodge a harassment complaint against you after receiving negative performance feedback or feedback on misconduct.
What should you do? Before you intervene, know the difference between an employee going through difficulties and a difficult employee (the portrait may look the same but examine the history). If you take an instant picture of the two employees (an employee going through difficult times and a difficult employee), you will most likely see the same types of behaviors: absenteeism, lateness, suboptimal performance, irritability, or interpersonal difficulties. However, if you take the time (which you absolutely should) as a manager to analyze the history of these two employees, you will see different pictures emerging. The difficult employee has a long history of being late, taking longer lunches, not getting along with others, and unethical behaviors; these may all result from dark personality traits. On the other hand, for an employee going through a difficult time, these behaviors are not usual; they appeared at a point in time and are symptoms of personal or professional problems the employee is experiencing. In fact, negative behaviors may be symptoms of psychological distress. As I mentioned earlier in this book, employees experiencing depression and/or anxiety may be distracted, have difficulty concentrating at work, take more sick days, take longer lunches or breaks, become more recluse, or, for some, more irritable with colleagues. The key here is change. One of the first things I say when I give training on how to detect mental health problems in the workplace is to look for a change in behaviors. Behavior change allows managers to differentiate between an employee who is going through difficulties and a difficult employee. Managers need to know the difference and adapt their interventions accordingly.
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Here are steps that managers can follow to meet and manage both types of employees: 1. Look at the history Talk to previous managers and colleagues, look at past performance appraisals, talk with HR, collect facts to determine if the employee has always shown signs of misbehavior or if he/she may be going through a difficult situation. 2. Set up a first meeting At first, for both types of employees, a meeting should be set. The manager should mention facts related to misbehavior (lateness, not returning emails or calls to clients, longer lunches, and interpersonal difficulties). Something along the lines of “I noticed that you are not returning certain calls, you missed more than one deadline, and you seem to be distracted at work, I want to understand what is going on, I want to try to help.” Listen openly to what the employee has to say. If these behaviors are new for the employee, the manager should also add that he/she is worried about him/her. The manager should go to the meeting prepared and make sure to bring numbers for the employee assistance program or other resources that can be given to the employee if they mention that they are not feeling well or going through a difficult time. The approach may be different for the employee who has a long history of misbehavior in the workplace. After presenting the negative behaviors and facts and listening to the employee, the manager should explain why these behaviors cannot continue and offer training or tools to ensure these behaviors stop. Clear expectations regarding problematic behaviors should be presented. 3. Set up a follow-up meeting Set up a follow-up meeting with the employee who is going through difficulties no later than a month after this first meeting to assess how he/she is doing. At the follow-up meeting, if the employee is still not well, showing signs of distress, or if the behaviors have not improved, contact HR to assist you and get support for the employee. For the employee who has a history of misbehavior, set a follow-up meeting about one month after the first meeting to assess if he/she has made progress in changing the problematic behaviors. At the follow-up meeting, if the goals have not been met, despite training and/or supplementary tools, contact HR and follow organizational procedures for employee misbehavior; you may eventually have to initiate disciplinary actions. Fig. 8.1 is a “cheat sheet” to help managers recall the steps when dealing with either an employee going through difficulties or a difficult employee.
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FIGURE 8.1 Intervention steps when dealing with employee misbehavior.
Additional recommendations 1. Spoken words fly away; written words remain As we have seen in previous chapters, it is important to be extremely careful when dealing with employees with dark personalities. They know the ins and outs of organizational policies, rules, and regulations and will stop at nothing to gain power and hide their negative behaviors. If they feel that they might be exposed or that their ascension may be threatened in any way, they may discredit or intimidate others. Since they will not hesitate to lie to keep their reputation intact, I suggest putting everything in writing as much as possible. Keep track of everything, write who told you what, when, where it happened, and who was there as a witness for different situations. Avoid phone conversations or informal communications. Use email for meeting invitations and most of the communication. Make sure other people (HR, a colleague of yours, or your superior) know when and where you are having meetings with the employee if you think it will be a difficult meeting or if you are planning to address his or her negative behavior. Furthermore, at the end of each meeting, write down the elements addressed during the meeting, sign the document, and have the employee sign the document. That way, it makes it difficult for an employee to say that he/she
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was never informed of the negative behaviors. Keep a record of everything, everyone you contact to obtain information on how to deal with the employee, their suggestions and solutions, and write down details of every meeting, formal or informal. I know that this may seem time-consuming, and, in fact, it is. However, if it comes down to being his/her word against yours or if the individual threatens your reputation or accuses you of wrongdoing, these documents and notes will be the only proof of what was really going on and, perhaps, your only defense against a master manipulator. 2. Do not deal with this on your own Make sure that you reach out to get advice on how to deal with difficult or delicate situations that may involve individuals with dark personalities. Find a mentor or colleague who can advise you on how to deal with these difficult management situations. HR can oftentimes be a good ally, providing that the individual who presents a dark personality did not befriend senior HR managers (which seems to happen VERY often). Make sure that you can trust the people you confide in. In fact, sometimes, it is better to seek help outside of the organization to ensure that the individual you confide in has no ties with the employee you are dealing with. Another option is coaching. Everything you mention to a coach is kept confidential; you can choose a professional business coach or an industrial/organizational psychologist. The important thing to remember here is not to be alone in this endeavor and to protect yourself and your career while dealing with employees with dark personalities. 3. As a leader, make your presence felt Be present as a manager for your employees; get to know who they are, what they do, and how they work. Set clear objectives, boundaries, and show that you have the courage to follow through when a team member’s actions are not aligned with organizational and team values. Remember that a manager is the voice of the organization and the transmitter of its values. If you want your employees to feel safe, happy, and to trust you, you need to walk the organizational talk and lead by example when it comes to tolerance toward unethical or improper workplace behavior. 4. Intervene rapidly to limit damages When a situation arises, as a manager, it is always better to act as quickly as possible (after taking the time to plan the best course of action). Many managers make the mistake of thinking that problems will get solved with time and then realize that the situation has provoked substantial damage that could have been avoided if it had been addressed sooner. I remember having been called into a “conflict situation” as a mediator. I went in thinking that it would be a relatively mild case of conflict resolution to find that both employees were on long-term sick leave, one employee had supposedly done damage to the other employee’s car, and the remaining employees were at a loss.
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The manager had thought that the conflict would resolve on its own, but instead, employees were forced to take sides in the conflict, and other problems arose between the two groups. The entire team, including the manager, was suffering in this situation. Employee turnover was high, so were levels of psychological distress, and productivity was low. As a manager, keep in mind that misbehavior is like throwing a pebble in a calm lake. It has a ripple effect on everyone on the team and beyond; it can also affect collaborators, vendors, clients as well as your employees’ families. Many managers tell me that they feel like they have to deal with quarrels or issues that seem trivial to them, and some managers make the mistake of ignoring the problem. When it comes to managing teams, a conflict over what may seem like a trivial and unimportant subject can cause substantial problems. This is when empathy becomes an essential asset. Something that seems trivial to the manager may, in fact, be significant for the employee and may be hiding problems that are more important. Compassion and empathy are crucial when dealing with misbehavior. Problems arising in a team always have a cause, and they inevitably have a negative effect. Acting promptly will not only reduce the impact on the team; it will also allow the manager to get a clear picture of the underlying causes of the problem. Taking the time to get to the core of the problem and assess the situation before taking action will increase intervention effectiveness. 5. Micromanaging Micromanagement is the act of controlling every aspect and detail of an employee’s work. Under normal circumstances, micromanagement is not the best approach as it impedes employees’ creativity and freedom. Moreover, micromanagement takes time. While managers are spending time overlooking every detail of their employees’ work, they are not spending that time supporting employees, coaching them, or working on strategic planning. However, in the case of employees presenting dark personalities, I believe that if a manager has strong suspicions of an employee’s wrongdoing, overseeing an employee’s work, and observing their behaviors can limit the damages they could do to the team or the organization. Overseeing contracts and legal paperwork as well as expenses, and being on the lookout for signs of unethical interpersonal behaviors such as harassment are essential when a manager suspects corporate misbehavior. As you will have guessed, employees presenting dark personalities do not like to be micromanaged; in fact, they prefer bad bosses who are not around to see what they are doing. When I mention that micromanagement might be good when dealing with employees presenting dark personalities, I mean paying more attention to details, not harassing employees. When a manager
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suspects illegal or harmful behavior, it is crucial to look more closely at the company’s policies concerning these behaviors. Furthermore, being proactive in implementing new procedures and regulations will make it harder for employees to perpetrate CWB and fraud (for recommendations on preventing fraud and other counterproductive work behavior, see Chapter 7). Ideally, these preventive actions should be implemented before the occurrence of CWB; however, they should be implemented promptly or made more visible whenever there is suspicion of these behaviors occurring. 6. The challenges of negative feedback As we have seen in a previous chapter, individuals with dark personalities can take negative feedback, criticism, or managerial intervention negatively and react aggressively either directly (by showing signs of anger or threatening the individual who is issuing the criticism), or indirectly (by hurting the individual’s reputation or career). Individuals with dark personalities may retaliate against coworkers following a negative review or a meeting in which their behaviors were questioned or condemned. If the employee being reprehended is a manager, their anger and aggression could be transferred to their employees. It is, thus, important to make sure that negative feedback is given in a factual manner showing the gap between the behaviors and/or performance and expected behaviors. As we have seen in previous chapters, employees with dark personalities may react more positively to negative feedback if the negative performance or behavior is compared with the employees’ previous performance or expectations of him/her instead of comparing his/her behavior or performance to organizational norms or other employees. So, instead of saying that the employee’s performance is lower than that of his/her colleagues or organizational goals, the manager could say that the employee’s performance is not as high as it was in the past years or mention that it is lower than what the manager expected from him/her based on their skills. The goal is to let the employee know that his/her performance is not as expected while minimizing negative impacts. As for misbehavior, managers should address them by explaining company values and policies and should be clear on the consequences should these behaviors continue. The possibility of receiving negative consequences could help reduce the occurrence of negative behaviors. If it does not, at least the manager will have proof that he/she has met the employee to address the wrongful behavior, which is the first step in dealing with misconduct in the workplace. If another employee has reported negative behavior, it is important to protect the employee’s identity, even if asked to reveal the source. This is another reason why anonymous tips are useful; they allow managers to learn about negative behaviors without risking revealing the informant’s identity.
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7. A note on employees’ inappropriate use of social media More and more managers deal with very delicate situations involving the improper or inappropriate use of social media by their employees. Many examples of inappropriate use of social media have made headline news: employees posting derogatory/hateful comments, videos of inappropriate behaviors, or suggestive pictures of themselves on social media. There is a fine line between private life and work life now with social media. Many teams create social media groups that are very useful and productive. However, social media outlets are communication platforms, and, as such, they are not exempt from violent or inappropriate content. Some of that negative content is posted during work hours with visible and recognizable company information (uniform, cars, logos, buildings), while other content is posted outside employees’ work hours, from their home. For instance, employees making negative comments about their company or their boss on social media or employees posting derogatory comments on their personal social media account. Should managers intervene, and, more importantly, how should they intervene? First, I believe that every organization should have a social media policy. Samples of social media policies can be found online. I have added a sample document on my website that you can modify and adapt for your organization. Again, I believe that managers need to assess the situation and know the employee’s history to conduct an effective intervention. Not all employees are ill-intended. As was the case for CWB and employees (employees going through difficulties vs. difficult employees), in some cases, employees do not know better and, for instance, may post suggestive pictures of themselves mentioning what they do for a living or naming the organization they work for. However, some employees use social media platforms to hurt other employees, their supervisor, and/or the organization. There is an increasing number of cases in North America where employees have been terminated for posting on social media discriminatory and hateful comments or negative comments toward clients, colleagues, their supervisor, or their organization. Limits between private and work life seem very permeable when it comes to social media. Comments once said in the anonymity of one’s house to friends and family are now posted to social media instead. While some employees are perfectly aware that many will see their comments, others are under the impression that the information they put forward on a personal social media account cannot affect their work lives. In Canada and the United States, judges have ruled that information posted on social media cannot be considered private. In some cases, employees have been terminated for racist comments, harassment, and posting information that contradicts the employees’ duty of loyalty and discretion, which stipulates that employees have an obligation to act loyally and not divulge confidential information obtained in the course of their employment. Dark personalities have been associated with different types of misbehavior on social media.
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While advancements in cyber technology and social media have given most of us tools to connect with others in a positive way, it has also given new means for dark individuals to connect with victims. It has given fraudsters, sexual offenders, and other types of criminals access to an exponentially increased number of victims. Better, they can have access to their victims anywhere in the world without having to leave their home or office. Cybercrime also affects the workplace, with employees leaking information, cyber fraud, and cyberbullying. It is essential for organizations to have a social media policy and include social media in their harassment policy and employee confidentiality agreement. Without a policy, it becomes challenging for managers to deal with CWB on social media platforms.
If he or she is your manager What to expect? -
Will Will Will Will Will Will Will Will Will Will
give unfair/preferential treatment. not be understanding if you are going through difficulties. use harsh criticism. ask more of you than he/she normally should. show low work ethic. exhibit unpredictable behavior and attitude. not provide support, encouragement, or recognition. be absent when his/her team needs him/her. not be people-oriented. blame his/her team for his/her mistakes and poor performance.
What should you do? 1. Set limits and keep your distance If your direct supervisor presents dark personality traits, it is important to set clear limits as they will likely always ask for more. Make sure that you keep careful notes of the work you do in case he or she wants to pass your work as their own or criticize what you have done. Do not confide in him or her, keep your relationship strictly professional, and give as little personal information as you can. Do not expect him/her to be empathetic or understanding if you are feeling sick or going through personal difficulties. Be aware that he/she may try to manipulate you, stay alert, and make sure that you stick to the rules and regulations when you do your work. Consult with others if you suspect that some of the work you are doing for your manager may not be ethical. Set limits with your manager if he/she asks you to participate in projects that go against your ethical or moral standards and refer to the
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company’s ethical guideline to explain to your manager why you will not perform the task that he or she is asking you to do. 2. Report wrongdoing If your direct manager presents dark personality traits, you may already have witnessed wrongful behaviors or been a victim of these behaviors on his or her part. The first step in this situation is to let your supervisor know if they have made you feel uncomfortable in situations or have made comments that you did not care for. If the behaviors continue or become more serious, the next step would be to contact human resources. Your company probably already has a step-by-step guide on how to deal with harassment or inappropriate behaviors. If you witness or strongly suspect other types of CWB, you will probably be encouraged to contact HR directly. However, before informing others of your direct manager’s possible wrongdoing, make sure that you have all your facts written down and protect yourself. Furthermore, if your manager presents a dark personality, reporting wrongdoing may put you at risk for retaliation. There are a few things to consider before deciding to report your superior’s wrongdoing: assess risk for yourself and your career and assess organizational culture and support. 3. Protect yourself and your career If your direct supervisor presents a dark personality, you are inevitably in a vulnerable position. Not only does he/she have power over you as your superior, but your supervisor also has power over your career as he/she may be contacted as a reference when you apply for other positions in the future. In fact, some managers actually threaten employees by saying that they will make sure that the employee will never find a job in their field of work again should the employee go forward with a complaint or “make any noise” about the manager’s wrongful behavior. Implicit or explicit threats can also be made toward employees looking to move up the corporate ladder or move on to another division within the company they are working for. Before bringing forward your supervisor’s negative behaviors, take some time to assess whether you will be getting the appropriate support and protection from your organization. Your assessment should rely on rules and regulations, organizational culture, and past dealings with management misbehavior. Chances are, you already know if your organization will support you and the impact that bringing forward your manager’s misbehavior would have on your career within the company. Before taking action against your supervisor, make sure that you have all the facts written down and are physically and mentally prepared to fight this battle. More importantly, make sure that you will not fight alone.
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4. If you are not getting organizational support, leave Leave while you are at your job. This will explain why you cannot provide a reference from your supervisor (since you are still at the job and do not want your company to know that you are leaving). Keep your intentions hidden from colleagues and from your supervisor to ensure that he/she does not hurt your chances of getting a position elsewhere. Similar to what an aggressor would do within an intimate relationship, oftentimes, a supervisor will mistreat an employee but become jealous when he/she hears that others might be interested in hiring the employee. They might want to hurt the employee’s chances of getting a position elsewhere either because they want to keep them on their team or because they simply want to hurt the employee. If your best option is to leave your position either for another position within or outside the organization, keep your intentions hidden until you have signed your new contract to minimize the risk of your supervisor hurting your chances at getting a new position. If your company conducts departure interviews, you could explain the reasons why you are leaving at that moment (abusive supervisor, manager’s corporate misbehavior, unhealthy work climate, harassment, etc.). This may help the company understand the problem, and it may prevent other employees from suffering in the future because of that manager. Again, make sure that you are in a place in your life and career where you are ready to deal with potential repercussions should the manager hear of your comments about him/her.
Building a case for corporate misbehavior So far, I have addressed how to deal with individuals presenting dark personalities in the workplace in general; however, what happens if you witness or are a victim of more serious CWB and/or fraud and need to build a case against the perpetrator? From the first chapter of this book, I have presented what individuals with dark personalities are capable of, both inside organizations as well as in society in general. Therefore, before I present recommendations on building a case against an employee, colleague, or manager presenting dark personalities, I want to stress the importance of assessing if you are in a place where you can take action. I also want to present the potential personal impacts of dealing with these individuals and how you can minimize these impacts. This is not meant to deter you from building a case against an individual who commits corporate misbehavior; it is meant to help you better understand what is at stake when someone does decide to pursue this route and help you prepare for the battle ahead, should you choose to fight this battle.
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1. Fight or Flight: Analyze if you are ready to embark on this endeavor Faced with an immediate threat, whether it is a physical or emotional threat, there are two possible reactions: fight (defending ourselves from the source of danger) or flight (move away from the source of danger). When danger is threatening but not immediate, there is a third option: status quo. This last option can be used temporarily to assess the situation and put everything in place to either fight or flight. Within the workplace, these three options would manifest in the form of either: 1. Taking on the responsibility of dealing with the situation and the perpetrator; 2. Leaving the job, the department, or the organization; 3. Taking some time to assess the situation, preparing to find another job, or preparing an action plan to deal with and change the situation. 2. How are you doing? Take some time to assess how you are doing and what you have going on in your life before deciding to take action on corporate misbehavior with individuals presenting dark personalities. I am not saying that employees should wait before reporting harassment or giving an anonymous tip if something looks suspicious. In this section, I am giving recommendations to individuals who will have to personally deal with dark individuals, to investigate and rectify situations. Before engaging in such an endeavor, it is important to evaluate if you have the strength and energy to do so. What are your current work and personal situations? How are you doing healthwise? Are you in a position to take this on now, on top of your work responsibilities? If you are taking care of a sick parent or in the middle of a divorce and already have too much on your plate, you may decide to take on a supporting role in the process that will take place, instead of taking the lead. If, after assessing your personal and professional situation and your level of psychological and physical health, you find that you are ready to take this on, here are some recommendations to take into consideration while you are dealing with situations involving misbehavior and individuals with dark personalities. 3. Take care of yourself Building a case or dealing with cases of corporate misbehavior can easily become a 24/7 job. Each case is different, and the extent of damages and the manipulation used by the individual accused of misbehavior can vary. Because individuals with dark personalities do not have the same moral compass that most people have, it can be difficult to deal with them and predict their reactions. Some investigations will, thus, be covert initially, and efforts to keep the individual from learning about the investigation may be very energyconsuming (meetings outside of the workplace, confidential conversations, gathering information, and paperwork). If a formal complaint has been lodged, or formal accusations have been filed, investigations will be overt and often
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dealt with by experts (HR, consultants, accounting firms, law enforcement, lawyers). 4. Do not go it alone Make sure that you are not dealing with this situation alone. First, because you need others to support you, to help you deal with your emotions, and guide you toward the best solutions and behaviors. Second, as we now know, individuals with dark personalities are expert manipulators, and sometimes, even trained professionals can get trapped in their web of lies. Third, if the individual becomes threatening, you will have others vouch for you and protect your reputation, career, and sometimes even your personal safety. 5. Make sure your organization is supportive Do not go it alone also means that you have to make sure that you are supported by your organization. Since these individuals are likely to come after you, make sure that your organization will be ready to protect you and that someone will step in if need be. You will need organizational support, which is why you need to inform your superior, HR, a mentor, a coach, a lawyer, or other organizational entities of your actions. They need to know who they are up against and prepare for what might be coming their way. Without support from your organization, you will be like Don Quixote fighting windmills, and, chances are, you will lose. You will lose not because you are not right but because you are not fighting with the same weapons and for the same reasons. Individuals presenting dark personalities are expert manipulators with very little empathy for others. They fight for themselves, and sometimes they do it for fun or as a distraction. For them, winning an argument or getting themselves out of trouble is as natural as breathing. You may have been preparing to take action against them for a few months, but keep in mind that they have been preparing for this since day 1. They have been building their “safety net” from the very beginning, and they often have far-reaching connections that will shield them from any harm. For them, winning is imperative. There is no code of honor, and nothing is off-limits. That is why you need to be extremely well prepared before taking on such an endeavor, but more importantly, you need to be supported by your organization; otherwise, the odds will not be in your favor, and you may lose. When I say lose, I am not just referring to the case; I also mean that these individuals will be at “war” with you, and they will keep fighting until there is nothing left to fight. They will try to destroy your career, your well-being, and your personal life; as I said, nothing to them is off-limits. 6. Buying them out of your organization After reading the previous section, you may be tempted to avoid a confrontation with them and try to buy them out. This avenue may be the only one you can consider if you do not have the resources necessary to address the
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situation and if you wish to protect your employees and the organization. However, it may not be as easy as you think. For some individuals with dark personalities, it is about money; however, for others, it is about power and image. To successfully buy them out, you will need to build a strong case showing them that the only way for them to win is to take the money and leave. You will need to show them that you have a bulletproof case against them and that, by leaving, they are actually winning. If you want them to leave, you will need to show them that they are gaining something or avoiding consequences and that it is the only way they will be able to come out of the situation with their reputation unharmed. I know it seems awful to think that you would have to pay them to leave, and I know that fighting injustice and unethical behavior is the right thing to do. However, the reality is that some organizations just could not survive having to go to war against an individual with a dark personality, especially if he or she is in a position of power. Some organizations do not have the resources to deal with these individuals. Handling a case against these types of employees or managers would mean using and depleting their valuable human, legal, and financial resources. Moreover, social media’s power to make or break a reputation is not easy to deal with for businesses, and individuals with dark personalities know that. They will use whatever means possible to destroy their opponent and clear their reputation and their image. Using the media and social media is an easy and cost-effective way to hurt the company. Buying these individuals out is better than ignoring the situation and keeping them within your company. Of course, firing them is another option, but that would entail having to build a case against them, which could lead to a legal battle as the individual will most likely accuse the employer of wrongful termination. I have seen many instances where companies were forced to reinstate an individual presenting dark personality traits who terrorized and brought chaos in the workplace. Even when they are up against company lawyers, some individuals with dark personalities are such great manipulators and strategists that they can convince a judge that they are, in fact, the victim. In a fight or flight situation, if buying these individuals out of the company is the chosen way to deal with the situation, you will still need to be strategic, some of these individuals have money; what they want is the thrill of the fight. The buy-out conditions will have to be carefully overseen by lawyers to ensure that the individual cannot hurt the organization or its members in the future. In many ways, individuals with dark personalities who are accused of misbehavior have much less to lose than the company has. Indeed, even when terminated for wrongful behavior, these individuals are able to bounce back and find an equal and often better position elsewhere. Never underestimate the power of lies and manipulation. These individuals can easily start over at another company, using the same manipulation tactics they used to enter
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your organization. The sad thing is that they will be able to continue remarkably unscathed while leaving behind a damaged workplace. In the chapters on workplace violence and corporate misbehavior, I have addressed the fact that ignoring any type of corporate misbehavior gives perpetrators power. It takes courage and resources, both financial and personal, to deal with negative behaviors in the workplace and build a case against an individual with dark personality traits. I have seen managers who damaged their health and personal lives by trying to deal with these dark individuals. I believe that the fight against institutional racism, sexual harassment, violence in the workplace, and corporate fraud must be fought at the organizational and cultural level. Organizations need to step up, not only by changing or adding policies, but also by taking action against individuals who perpetrate these acts. While it is true that individual actions count in the fight against systemic racism, harassment, and other types of misbehaviors that can occur in the workplace, organizations are responsible for the conducts that take place within their walls. They should step up and invest resources to address and eliminate these behaviors and, more importantly, support employees and managers who have the courage to lead a battle against individuals who perpetrate corporate misbehavior.
Practice: how to build a case for corporate misbehavior perpetrated by individuals presenting dark personalities It is not easy to give advice on how to build a case against individuals presenting dark personalities because each case and situation is different. Nevertheless, in this practice section, I offer a short guide to handle corporate misbehavior perpetrated by employees and managers presenting dark personalities.
Building a case 1. Take your time Even though you will want to act as promptly as possible to limit the damages to the workforce and the organization, this will take time, and hurrying up the process or acting hastily would probably result in failure. In this case, failure would mean being stuck with the employee (they win in court and continue to manage teams or be a part of the team). Not to mention the losses in collaborators, clients, employee well-being, productivity, team morale, and perhaps even business reputation. Being discrete in your endeavor and taking as much time as needed to have a strong case with evidence, outside support, and, if possible, internal support is crucial to your success in dealing with these individuals.
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2. Gather as much information as you can Remember when, in Chapters 3 and 4, I mentioned the importance of collecting collateral information from various sources for employee selection and performance reviews? I believe that this applies here, as well. Although individuals presenting dark personalities are able to create a persona in different situations, inevitably, there are places where they are unable to keep up with the image that they have created and where their dark traits are expressed in the form of negative, unethical, and often abusive behaviors. Gather as much information as you can on the individual; however, make sure you keep this investigation as low key as possible. You will want to avoid a confrontation with the individual at a stage in your investigation where you do not have a strong enough case to defend your position. Time, patience, and discretion are essential, it is difficult to know how far the individual’s “web of connections” reaches and whom the individual has in his/her back pocket. 3. Organizational surveys I have mentioned it above; in addition to contacting HR to get information on previous interpersonal misbehavior or performance issues, having an expert run a work climate survey could prove very useful to support your findings on corporate misbehavior. The survey may include questions on interpersonal relationships, civility, harassment, psychological distress, perception of supervisor, and higher management. Keeping the survey confidential is crucial; however, you can have sociodemographic questions such as workgroup (employee, manager, executive), sector, or division where they work. This will provide you with information on the impact that the individual you are investigating has on the workforce and give you information that will allow you to compare results with those of other managers’ sectors and teams. 4. Remember that sometimes, the devil is not in the details As we have mentioned earlier in this book, Conscientiousness, ethical behavior, and attention to detail are not strong points for individuals with dark personalities. Therefore, looking into the documents they have produced could give you additional information and elements for your case. For instance, looking into dealings with vendors, relationships with collaborators, expense accounts and reports, as well as other work documents and contracts could give you important information on the individual’s misbehavior. In particular, try to contact employees, collaborators, suppliers, and clients who have stopped collaborating with the individual. Hiring an accounting firm to conduct an audit reviewing financial transactions, accounting books, and inventory is a good idea at this stage if you think that the individual may have tampered with documents or made illegal financial transactions.
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5. Keep written traces of everything, avoid phone calls, chose emails Try using communication methods that leave traces; emails are probably the best medium to use. Know that everything you write could be used against you, so keep communications with the individual concise and factual. Keep in mind that employees who present dark personalities are experts at using communication channels to their advantage. Individuals with dark personalities will use non written communication to manipulate and even threaten others, as they are well aware that spoken words are untraceable. For your case, you will need written proof and witnesses. 6. Do not meet with them alone When possible, avoid one-on-one meetings with individuals presenting dark personalities, especially when building a case against them. Otherwise, it will be his or her word against yours if the investigation goes further. If, as I have often seen, the individual decides to lodge a harassment complaint against you, or complains that you are targeting him/her in some way by making it a “personal vendetta,” you will want to have witnesses and facts to back up your position. You may be accompanied by your superior or a colleague from HR, depending on the nature of the meeting and the elements you plan to discuss. Remember that they are master manipulators, and they will convince others that you are the one at fault. They know the company’s policies better than anyone does, and they will not hesitate to use them to their advantage. They will stop at nothing to discredit you and push your limits if they perceive that you may expose them for what they have done.
Cheat sheet: meeting with an employee presenting a dark personality I have prepared a cheat sheet that may help before you plan to meet with an employee or manager presenting dark personality traits. 1. Preparing for the meeting U Make sure you are extremely well-prepared. U Make a list of the topics you want to cover that will serve as proof of what was discussed during the meeting (you will ask him or her to sign the document to prove that you have addressed these topics at the end of the meeting). U Make sure your superior, HR, and/or other organizational entities know about this meeting and are on board with the objectives. U If possible, be accompanied so that you have a witness. U Write down facts that you wish to present. U Select the right physical setting for the meeting. U Plan enough time for the meeting. U The email invitation for the meeting should be brief and to the point.
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2. The meeting U U U U U
Stay calm and in control of the meeting. Do not allow yourself to be influenced by their manipulation tactics. Stay factual. Boosting their ego to get info is risky business. Expect the unexpected (i.e., they may be recording the meeting, seem extremely cooperative, appeal to your empathetic nature by giving you reasons that explain their behavior (sick family member, etc.), and become aggressive and intimidating). U Set a date for a follow-up meeting to assess and deal with what was brought up at the present meeting. U Ask the employee to sign with you a document presenting the elements that were discussed during the meeting. 3. The after-meeting U Expect retaliation. U They may lodge a complaint against you for harassment and/or wrongful termination. U They may seek support with higher management and/or HR. U They may go to the media or contact collaborators, clients, buyers. U They may contact a competitor. U They may start recording conversations or even filming you during meetings or different functions without your knowledge. U They may try to find fault in your work and use it to discredit you and the investigation. U Consult with a lawyer or law enforcement to protect yourself and the company. This chapter focused on addressing negative workplace behaviors. However, the absence of bad things does not mean that things are good. We need to work as hard on adding good as we work on dealing with or avoiding the bad. In the last chapter of this book, I will present general reflections on dark personalities in the workplace and draw upon these reflections to offer suggestions and recommendations on how to create a healthy and safe workplace.
Practice: Case studies For this practice section, you will find two case studies presented in Appendix 5. 1. Identify the wrongful behaviors present in each case. You can use the CWB classification presented in Chapter 7 to help you identify CWB.
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2. Based on what was presented in the present chapter, if you were a coach or an industrial-organizational psychologist and the person telling the story in each case study came to you for advice on how to deal with the situation, what advice would you give them? Write an intervention plan that each individual should follow in dealing effectively with the situation they are facing.
Reference Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. (2018). Report to the nations: 2018 Global study on occupational fraud and abuse, Austin, Texas, pp. 80.
Final thoughts Each one of us has to start out with developing his or her own definition of success; and when we have these specific expectations of ourselves, we’re more likely to live up to them. Ultimately, it’s not what you get or even what you give; it’s what you become. Mary Gates
Albert Einstein said, “Don’t be a man of success, be a man of value.” These words could not resonate more with the message that I wish to convey throughout this book. I believe that, as a society, we need to honor and promote values more than success. Only then will we be able to see dark individuals for who they really are. In this last chapter, I share broad ideas, personal thoughts, and philosophy that may help our understanding of dark individuals and the damage they cause. Furthermore, I reflect on why these individuals have been given so much power by society and organizations. Finally, because I think that fighting to expand the bright side is as important as fighting to reduce the dark side, I offer key components that need to be implemented to create a positive and healthy workplace, therefore reducing the chances of hiring and promoting dark individuals.
Success and happiness In some ways, I believe that we are responsible for the rise and presence of individuals with dark personalities in our organizations and society in general. Our definition of success is closely linked to our values. When someone tells us that an individual is very successful, what do we immediately think they mean? We assume that they have a great career, that they make a lot of money, that they have an expensive car and a big house. It’s a given. Absolutely no one will understand from “he is very successful” that the person grows his/her own organic vegetables, that he/she is in a loving relationship, takes good care of his/her family, and works at minimum wage but doesn’t need more. This says a lot about how society defines success and the values and behaviors associated with success. Indeed, if success is associated with having power, money, and possessions, individuals who have these things (or pretend to have them) will be admired. Dark Personalities in the Workplace. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815827-2.00009-0 Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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While some will achieve power and wealth through ethical means and hard work, others will achieve it by taking advantage of people around them and using unethical behaviors. The problem lies in the fact that we do not question how individuals achieve “success,” we only care about the end result. This thought process leads to the assumption that all individuals who have reached certain success-associated goals in the past possess competencies that will guarantee continued success in the future. Indeed, not only do we ignore how these individuals got there, but we also assume that they possess “superpowers” to be great leaders. Furthermore, we believe that associating with them, voting for them, or hiring them will bring us success as well. This last observation may be due, in part, to the fact that some of these “successful” individuals project an image of almighty strength and position themselves as saviors to get admiration and obtain more power. In the workplace, these individuals who exude power and success have a greater chance of being hired and promoted, regardless of how their previous successes were attained.
Redefining leadership and success: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey There are many roads leading to the same destination; to me, leadership or success are not about where you go; they are about how you get there. Success is not attained in a day; it is the result of many actions, and these actions not only define success, but they also define the individual. When I assess candidates for leadership positions, I am always more interested in the “how” than in the “where.” I tell my students that leaders are not defined by a title; they are defined by their actions. A colleague of mine once told me that she didn’t get a management position because, during the interview, she used the term “we” more than she used the term “I” when she talked about realizations she had done in her career. The selection committee found that she may lack self-confidence and the leadership skills needed for a management position. I don’t agree with the committee’s vision. Absolutely no one achieves anything alone in the workplace. People who never credit others for their success are not more confident; they are less humble. How individuals achieve success defines who they are and what their future actions will be, which brings me to the next element I want to address: intentions.
Differentiating the good from the bad: intentions Now that I have talked about how people get to where they want to be, another important question and this one is particularly significant to assess future leaders, is why they want to get there, or, put in other words, why they want power. Intention is the key to differentiating good leaders from bad leaders because intentions govern actions. However, when we only look at where the
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individual was able to get in terms of social and organizational ranking or achievement, we miss important information on why they wanted to achieve these goals in the first place. Why is it important to look at intentions? Because intentions will dictate future behavior. People often make the mistake of thinking that if an individual was able to achieve success in the past, he or she would bring success to their new venture or company in the future. This is true only if the individual’s intentions to start the new venture or obtain a new position are to help the company achieve success. If the intentions underlying the desire to obtain a new position or start a new venture is to gain more personal power, money and to further one’s career, then the employee or manager’s actions will be driven by these individualistic intentions and will not guarantee more success for the company. In this situation, if the company gains success, it will be a byproduct of the individual’s work to gain personal success, not a direct product of the individual’s efforts to help the company. In other words, past success is only an indicator that, under certain circumstances, the individual can achieve certain goals. Whether or not he or she will be willing to help the company achieve its goals in the future depends more on the individual’s intentions and motivations than on his or her ability to do so. Individuals with dark personalities are not loyal to anyone or anything other than themselves. They will join the ranks of different types of social organizations or groups, as long as it serves a personal purpose. Oftentimes, what seems to be a good deed is, in fact, a means to an end for these individuals. For example, joining community groups or supporting causes is used to help them gain their victims’ trust, increase their visibility, or embellish the persona they are creating, which serves to hide dark intentions and behaviors. Looks can be deceiving. While some people volunteer or join causes to help the community, others do it to profit their image; the difference lies, again, in the intentions underlying the behavior. In sum, rather than looking exclusively at where candidates are in their career, in terms of social and organizational status and achievement, we should focus more on how candidates achieved past successes and why they are interested in the position they are applying for. As I mentioned in other chapters, when it comes to hiring a candidate, we need to stop examining exclusively the where and what and start focusing on the how and why.
The power of humility There is a difference between high self-confidence and lack of humility. As I mentioned, in many organizations, leadership is associated, among other things, with individuals who show confidence. I agree that to get his or her message across, to persuade people to follow, a leader needs to exude confidence. However, the problem with confidence is that it may look a lot like a lack of humility, even though these two concepts are different. An individual who is high on confidence and high on humility presents a very different
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profile from an individual who is confident and low on humility. A leader high on confidence and high on humility will be open to others’ ideas and opinions and will talk about his or her successes while making sure to talk about others’ contributions and not take credit for someone else’s work. In this case, confidence is based on facts and achievements. On the other hand, a leader high on confidence and low on humility will not consult with others, will not hesitate to make other people’s successes his/her own, and will have a positive view of his/her actions and achievements, despite facts that may contradict these assumptions. Humility is the ability to accept that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, that we have a lot to learn and that the answers sometimes come from unsuspected sources outside of ourselves. Humility allows us to open up to other people’s differences and realize that we can learn from these differences. Humility allows us to admit when we are wrong, stop what we are doing, and ask for help on how to make it right. Brene Brown, professor and renowned author, talks about the importance of vulnerability. I believe that, while some individuals are unable to allow themselves to be vulnerable because of fear or shame, other individuals are unable to feel vulnerability because they lack the humility to do so and are driven by pride and ego. Individuals who are incapable of being humble will never second-guess themselves or their decisions; they will always believe that others are below them in every way. These individuals believe that they are more deserving than others, and they are unable to admit their faults. Unfortunately, in most organizational cultures, humility is not considered a strength; in fact, it is considered a weakness for leadership positions. I believe that without humility, it is impossible to evolve not just as leaders, but as human beings. Humility allows us to take criticism, admit that we are wrong, and try to do better; without it, we lose our ability to grow as human beings and as leaders.
Greed and growth Enough. A word we don’t hear very often in the work context. You have done enough work, thank you, or we have enough revenue, a large enough customer base, enough growth. Companies and society alike seem to never have enough and are always looking for more, pushing for more. More profit, more productivity; the principle of doing more with less is omnipresent. Companies hire experts to come in and implement systems that will increase employee productivity and customer reach in order to ensure growth. However, this business model of growth and profit at all costs is taking a toll on employees, dictating organizational culture, and influencing employee and leader selection. Rather than being customer-oriented, companies are business or profit-oriented, despite their advertising the contrary. Even service companies seem to be in it for the profit more than for clients. For example, financial institutions, while
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they may say that they are customer-oriented organizations, their employees receive bonuses for selling a number of products, putting them in the ethical dilemma of pushing a product that may not be the right one for their client. I believe that the same can be said for other service organizations. Growth and profit do not always align with doing what is best for the customer. Moreover, these settings and values give room for dark individuals to enter, rise, and operate under the radar. I recently read a book by Paul Jarvis entitled “Company of One” in which he questions business growth at all costs. In his book, the author discusses that, when the focus is on growth at all costs, workelife balance, the relationship with existing customers, and the quality of the product offered may be affected, to name a few examples. He mentions that growth at all costs takes time, energy, and resources. This time and energy are often spent trying to find new customers instead of making existing customers happy. I believe that, when the focus is on profitability and productivity, employees (and clients) are seen as a means to an end, a necessary component to achieve a goal. In this type of culture, employees are perceived and evaluated strictly based on what they bring to the profit-oriented goals. A model that focuses on growth at all costs entails that whatever the company has is not enough; there is always more that can be done, more that can be achieved. The problem with this model is that it keeps employees in a perpetual state of feeling as though what they are doing is not enough, and it affects their satisfaction with work; it puts much strain on them and may also affect their well-being. Favoring quantity over quality, always asking employees to do more with less, focusing on productivity at the expense of well-being, where is the limit in all of this, when will companies have enough? I am not saying that growth and profit should not be a priority. I am saying that they should not be the only priority. Until organizations decide to reexamine profit and growth as their defining purpose and values, we will continue to see dark leaders.
How to create a positive workplace Have you ever heard the saying “Happy wife, happy life”? I believe that the same is true for organizations: “Happy employee, successful company.” The basis of this saying is that when you act kindly toward others and take care of them, you will make them happy and, in return, it will make you happy. Furthermore, within any type of relationship, there is the principle of reciprocity, which refers to a balance between what we invest in relationships and what we receive in return. Transposed to the workplace, the concept of reciprocal relationships may be explained as such: taking care of employees and making them happy will lead to employees wanting to give back to the organization, and, as a result, it will allow the organization to prosper. What are the key elements needed to increase employee happiness?
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1. Respect An organizational culture based on respect is crucial for employee wellbeing. Respect entails embracing diversity, seeing differences as an advantage in creating stronger teams. Homogeneous teams in which members share many similarities, whether in age, gender, ethnic background, education, and expertise, show less potential for innovation and performance. Each individual brings a unique set of talent. If celebrated and managed well, this diversity can allow teams to generate new ideas, create new products, find innovative solutions to problems the way that a homogeneous team could not. Furthermore, if you want individuals to think outside the box, you must allow them to step outside the box. In a highly controlled work environment, ideas are rarely challenged, and employees quickly learn that they need to accept the status quo and try to fit in or leave. Respect is more than accepting the presence of others who are different from us; it is about curiosity, wanting to understand who the other person is, and how these differences can contribute to the team. Respect does not guarantee the absence of conflict; rather, it ensures that the conflict will be resolved effectively. In fact, conflict related to ideas rather than individuals can be beneficial and help the creative process. Brainstorming is a good example where conflicting ideas may arise but are received and treated with openness and respect, which allows these ideas to grow and solutions to be found. Differing ideas and opinions can lead to innovation if it does not fall into personal attacks and disrespectful comments and behavior. In a highly diversified team, conflicts are more likely to arise than in a highly homogeneous team; managers need to instill a culture of respect and openness to others to ensure that conflicts do not become interpersonal. Celebrating differences and allowing employees to express their thoughts safely without judgment is essential to spark creativity and develop new products and ideas. Respect is the key element differentiating brainstorming and healthy discussions based on differences in opinions from interpersonal conflict. Employees need to feel respected and appreciated not in spite of but in recognition of their differences. 2. Security Feeling safe is one of the basic human needs. Most people spend at least 40 h a week at work and expect to feel safe while they are there. Safety in the workplace is not only associated with physical aspects but also with psychological well-being. What does that entail exactly? Workers need to feel that the organization and its leaders are putting forward everything possible to protect them against any type of harm. Whether it is physical assault from a customer, physical harm caused by machinery, or inherent risks associated with their daily functions, employees need to know and see that their leader and company have their safety at heart. As I mentioned, safety is not solely related to physical well-being; it is also associated with psychological well-being.
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Employees need to work in a psychologically safe environment in order to thrive. A psychologically safe environment is one in which incivility, harassment, or any other type of abuse is not tolerated. Furthermore, it is an environment where it is safe to share ideas and feelings without risking judgment or discrimination. It is an environment where openness and acceptance are a part of every interaction and where well-being is not just promoted; it is exemplified by leaders and ingrained in the culture. 3. Empathy Empathy is essential to feel connected to others, to their emotions. Empathy is a pivotal element of emotional intelligence; someone who cannot connect to others’ emotions will not be able to understand them and adapt his/ her communication and behavior. It is also an essential component of good leadership. Having empathy does not mean that we never hurt people around us; however, it helps us connect with others, realize when we make mistakes, and pushes us to do better. Empathy allows us to understand that we are all connected and that the impact we have on others does not just affect their wellbeing; it also affects our own well-being. Acting with empathy means taking into account the impact of our actions on others; it pushes us to use kindness and be open to others’ reality. A leader who acts with empathy puts his/her employees’ well-being first and understands that employee consideration and recognition go a long way in managing effective and innovative work teams. 4. Integrity “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Integrity is one of the most important traits employees look for in a leader. In fact, research has indicated that integrity in leaders is associated with employee well-being. This can be explained by the fact that having a leader who lacks integrity is destabilizing, making it impossible to predict his/her reactions. Indeed, individuals who lack integrity will often change their mind because they make decisions based on what seems to be more profitable for them at a given moment. They may say one thing to a group to please them and then turn around and have a completely different discourse with others. Moreover, their actions are often not aligned with their message, creating insecurity and stress among their employees. Employees need a leader who is trustworthy. Integrity plays a major role in trust, as it is difficult to trust someone who keeps changing his/her mind and whose actions are not aligned with his/her message. In addition, individuals who lack integrity have difficulty with truthfulness since their actions are regulated by what seems beneficial for them at the moment. They will, thus, change their position on different issues without warning and send out contradicting messages to employees who will not know where to stand. If managers act with integrity, communicate the reasons for their decisions or for
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implementing changes, and listen to employees’ concerns, they will see a decrease in employee resistance and employee psychological distress. 5. Communication (keeping them informed) Communication is the key to human interaction and essential for employee effectiveness and well-being. Within organizations and in society in general, information is power. While sharing knowledge is a component of great leadership, retaining knowledge and distorting information are components of dark leadership. Employees need to be informed in order to prepare to face whatever lies ahead. Communicating information clearly and effectively to employees can empower them and help them better understand and face organizational challenges. When a leader fails to communicate essential information or distorts information to achieve personal goals, he or she is putting employees in a vulnerable position. Fear is a powerful emotion. Some leaders keep their employees in a state of constant stress and fear by failing to communicate clearly their expectations, withholding or distorting information, or using a negative or aggressive tone to communicate messages. Keeping employees in a state of stress and fear allows leaders to gain power by appearing as a savior and diminishing employees’ capacity to question their decisions and behaviors. Good leaders will base the information they give on facts, communicate the information effectively, take the necessary time to meet with employees, adapt their communication style to each employee’s needs, and make sure that their message is understood. Emotional intelligence is a fundamental component of good communication as it allows the communicator to assess his/her own emotions as well as others’ emotional reactions to his/her message. Good managers will know their employees enough to know how to present information to facilitate understanding and reduce stress on employees. Communication skills include being able to deliver a message clearly and effectively; however, delivering the message is only half of the communication process. Indeed, once the message has been rendered, the communicator needs to listen to the receiver’s reactions, thoughts, and emotions. When it comes to communication, listening is as important as delivering the message. 6. Active Listening Active listening means giving the other person our undivided attention; it means making sure that we understand what they want to communicate by asking questions if we need clarification. Active listening requires a certain amount of empathy. Empathy allows us to connect to others and to invest in understanding them without judgment. Employees need to be heard to feel engaged in the work they do and engaged toward their manager and organization.
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Oftentimes within organizations, communication plans are based on a top-down approach, rarely do they include bottom-up communication. Listening to employees is crucial, particularly when implementing changes, but also when trying to build a positive organizational culture. By listening to employees, managers will be able to intervene more rapidly and more effectively in cases involving harassment, incivility, and other counterproductive work behaviors. Listening is a form of respect; moreover, it is a form of recognition and validation of employees’ importance for the organization. Communication needs to be a two-way street in order for trust to grow. 7. Trust Trust is an important component of leadership and a healthy workplace. Trust in leadership is associated with positive outcomes for both the workforce and the organization. Lack of trust in management and executives (organizational trust) is associated with psychological distress, lower levels of job satisfaction, and higher rates of employee turnover. Trust requires a willingness to be vulnerable as it involves putting part of our well-being in the hands of others and believing that they want what is best for us. Some individuals have the courage to trust from the start and then evaluate if this trust is deserved. Other individuals have a graduate approach to trust and believe that others should slowly acquire their trust based on their actions and interactions. Both approaches imply that, at any given time, a manager or a company may lose employees’ trust by, perhaps, behaving without integrity, not listening to them, or not creating a safe culture based on respect. Companies should work on earning and deserving employees’ trust every day and see it as a true gift. 8. Autonomy and support Trust is not just important for employees. Managers need to trust their employees as well in order to give them autonomy in accomplishing their tasks. Employees do not like to feel controlled; in fact, autonomy is associated with higher satisfaction with one’s job. Trusting employees enough to give them latitude and freedom will increase their sense of self-confidence and allow them to achieve their goals. Autonomy is also associated with work motivation. Note that autonomy does not mean giving employees tasks, letting them work independently without support, and expecting them to perform well. It is essential for managers to communicate clear and realistic goals and provide means and resources to allow employees to succeed. Furthermore, providing constant support for employees will allow them to feel safe while developing their autonomy and new skills. Autonomy without support is associated with “Laissez-Faire” leadership style, characterized by an absent leader. Leaders who fail to be present for their employees and who do not listen to them or support them will see a rise in psychological distress and a decrease in motivation and job satisfaction in their employees. I have heard leaders say, “I don’t need to be there; my team is
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autonomous.” Being autonomous does not mean that clear objectives, guidance, and support are not needed. Support helps employees acquire a feeling of self-efficacy toward their ability to complete tasks and face organizational changes and challenges. In a recent study on organizational change management I conducted with colleagues, we found that the strongest factor predicting employees’ psychological distress following organizational change was their perception of self-efficacy toward managing change (whether they felt that they were able to manage change effectively). One of the factors predicting employees’ self-efficacy was obtaining support from their direct supervisor during change. Offering employees support and giving them autonomy allows employees to acquire the self-confidence needed to succeed at their job and come up with new innovative ideas. 9. Creativity Few organizations can survive in today’s global market without creativity and innovation. However, in a “do more with less” culture and in a productivity-oriented profit-driven culture, it is impossible to cultivate creativity. More and more businesses rely on consulting firms to implement systems that increase employee productivity, reducing time employees spend “not on task.” Creativity takes time and resources. By giving employees heavy workloads, not providing support and resources, and measuring productivity only in terms of deliverables, businesses are killing creativity and innovation. Creativity flourishes in environments where there is trust, respect, and support of one’s ideas and initiatives. Creativity and innovation can only exist in an environment that allows employees to freely express their ideas without fear of ridicule or fear that someone may take their ideas and present them as their own. Furthermore, managers who want their employees to be creative need to give them the right to be wrong. Managers who understand and accept that making mistakes is part of the learning process will have teams who will be able to innovate. Asking someone to be creative while micromanaging them or letting them know that there is no place for error is a practical form of oxymoron; it is like asking individuals with a dark personality to be competitive and aggressive toward competitors while being loyal and generous with their own organization. To support creativity, organizations need to trust their employees enough to give them time to work on innovative projects, be open to new ideas, accept that they may make mistakes along the way, offer them the support and resources they need from start to finish, and celebrate their achievements. 10. Recognition There was a time when companies had a “you’re lucky you have a job here” mentality. However, I think that this mentality cannot coexist with a
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positive workplace culture. Human beings need to be recognized in every relationship they have, not praised but recognized for who they are and what they do. Think about it: if you were in a relationship where the other person had a “you are lucky to be with me” attitude, would you be able to thrive, to be happy in that relationship? It is not simply the mindset that is the problem; it is the behaviors associated with this mentality. In an organizational culture in which employees are considered lucky to be working with the organization, managers may be more autocratic, expecting employees to comply with rules, regulations, and directives without having much to say about it. In this culture, there is no place for employees to express their views or concerns. It is a culture where employees’ talents are not celebrated, are not developed, and where initiatives cannot be supported. I have seen such cultures where employees have been told by management, “you are not paid to think.” Employing people to execute tasks without listening to their ideas and promoting and allowing them to use their talent is a waster of both financial and human resources. Employees at every level of the organization contribute to its success and, as such, they should be recognized, and their contributions should be celebrated. There needs to be a mentality shift from “you are lucky to work for us” to “we are lucky that you are working with us.” The behaviors and attitudes associated with this shift in mentality would create a positive organizational culture that puts people first and allows companies and their employees to grow. Recognizing and celebrating employees’ successes increases motivation not just for employees who receive recognition but also for their colleagues. One key concept that I teach my students is to celebrate small victories as well as bigger ones. I mean that if you are working, as a manager, on a large project, break the project into smaller objectives and make sure to celebrate with the team when you reach every small objective together. Recognition can come in many forms; it can be a simple “thank you for the great work you did,” written notes, or awards. It can include paying lunch for employees, bringing pizza or baked goods and coffee, or it can be monetary, such as bonuses. In social psychology, Burrhus Frederic Skinner introduced the concept of Operant Conditioning, which referred to a method of learning based on positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement refers to giving individuals something they desire, something they like, something positive. Negative reinforcement refers to removing something individuals dislike, something they perceive as negative. In essence, there are two ways managers can use to reward employees: giving them something they like or taking away something they dislike. I gave examples of positive reinforcement above; as for negative reinforcement, letting employees leave earlier on Fridays to avoid traffic or allowing employees to wear casual clothes instead of their usual formal attire (casual Fridays) could be appreciated. The first rule in reinforcement is making sure that you are giving something that employees
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actually like, or removing something that employees actually dislike. In order to know employees’ preferences, managers can ask team members what positive rewards they would enjoy or, knowing each member, make sure that rewards are tailored to employees’ preferences. Another element that is often forgotten is identifying the behavior one wishes to reward. If you are building a culture based on teamwork, individual rewards might not be the way to go. For instance, many organizations offer individual bonuses based on performance or sales; if this is the only form of reward instated in the organization, it can create a climate of competition between employees instead of a climate of collaboration that promotes positive team behaviors. Furthermore, oftentimes, when organizations rely solely on individual rewards, they forget important team members who put effort and time into supporting others, therefore contributing to the team’s overall performance. A combination of team-based and individual rewards is the best practice to adopt. More importantly, rewards should not be solely based on financial performance. In a culture that puts people first, interpersonal behavior should also be rewarded. Whom you reward, how you reward, and what you reward are all indicators of your organizational culture and influence employee behavior, motivation, well-being, productivity, and intention to stay with the organization. 11. Developing interpersonal skills Diplomas and task-oriented skills predict if you can perform the tasks associated with a job, and interpersonal or people skills predict how you will accomplish these tasks. As I ask my students: “Every student in this class will graduate with the same diploma. Does that mean that you all possess the same competency profile?” The answer is obviously no. There is only so much you can learn by getting a college or a university degree. Obviously, they allow you to acquire knowledge and a number of skills; however, most degrees will not specifically develop interpersonal skills. This means that most employees develop their interpersonal skills in their personal lives or in the workplace through modeling and formal training. Social Modeling or Social Learning Theory was introduced by Albert Bandura and refers to the learning of behaviors by observing others’ behaviors and their consequences. Since the model observed for most employees is their manager, it is essential to ensure that leaders model positive behaviors that are aligned with the company’s values and mission. Interpersonal skills are a significant part of ensuring success in managing organizational change and conflict resolution. Managers’ interpersonal skills have a larger impact on employee well-being and job satisfaction than task-related skills. In Chapter 5, we have discussed the importance of leader interpersonal skills and their impact on employees and organizational performance in detail. Regular training on interpersonal skills such as respect, empathy, humility,
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open-mindedness, active listening, communication, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, integrity, supporting others, and reliability is crucial if an organization wishes to have a people-first culture. While theory might be important, training should be geared toward developing competencies with hands-on tips and exercises. It is important to keep in mind that employees and managers participating in these training sessions will not be at the same level for each competency. As mentioned in Chapter 1, competencies and traits are part nature (we are born with them) and part nurture (our environment shapes us and helps us develop many skills and traits). Holding regular training sessions for the development of interpersonal skills sends a message that these skills and the behaviors associated with them are expected and valued within the workplace and that the company is serious about building and maintaining a positive culture. However, while group training and individual coaching may help employees and managers develop interpersonal competencies, for a number of individuals, no amount of training will increase their level of positive interpersonal skills. These individuals do not show great improvement in therapy, and they certainly don’t show any improvement following training or coaching; part of the reason is that they don’t believe they need to improve in these areas (lack of humility), and part is due to the fact that they are incapable of empathy toward others and uninterested in investing time and energy on anything that doesn’t benefit them personally. It goes without saying that if you want employees and leaders to develop interpersonal skills, these skills should be included in their performance review. If leaders’ performance reviews were assessed by evaluating how they treat their employees instead of how their employees perform, it would be a game-changer. Furthermore, if the organization had a fair and unbiased promotion process to management positions that included scores on interpersonal competencies, employees and managers would make efforts to develop these competencies. Until organizations are ready to walk the talk and evaluate leadership by including interpersonal skills, leaders will continue putting their focus and efforts on developing their task-oriented skills and pushing employees to perform regardless of the impact it may have on their teams’ wellbeing. 12. Hiring the right leaders Organizational culture is transmitted by its leaders; period. Choose your leaders wisely. I know I have addressed this in previous chapters, but if this is the only information that readers retain from the book, I will be happy. Leaders embody the organizational culture; they are the messengers and the physical representation of the organization. Their actions and words have the power to encourage, motivate, inspire, and empower employees. Unfortunately, their actions and words can also discourage, thwart, harm, diminish, and tear down employees.
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Beyond their previous work experience and their task-oriented skills, leaders’ values, competencies, and behaviors should be assessed and aligned with the organization’s values and culture. While leaders can benefit from training and coaching for interpersonal skills, it is unquestionably easier to hire leaders who already possess the skills needed, especially when it comes to interpersonal skills. Indeed, task-related skills can be learned more easily than interpersonal skills as the latter are associated with personality traits, which tend to be rather stable. A good leader will possess, display, and encourage the development of all the elements of a positive organizational culture presented above: respect, security, integrity, empathy, keeping employees informed, active listening, trust, autonomy, support, encouraging creativity, and recognition.
Conclusion One key element in preventing misbehavior in the workplace is preventing individuals with dark personalities from entering the organization or obtaining management positions. In the different chapters of this book, I presented tools to conduct effective selection and promotion processes and performance appraisals to reduce the risk of hiring employees and managers presenting dark personalities. In fact, I have created a Dark Personality Prevention Checklist that you will find in Appendix 6 and free material that you will find on my website (cynthiamathieu.com). However, none of the recommendations I gave in this book will be effective if, as a society, we do not change our definition of success and leadership. In an article in the Harvard Business Review (2019), the Dalaı¨ Lama states: “What might a better world look like? I believe the answer is straightforward: A better world is one where people are happier. Why? Because all human beings want to be happy, and no one wants to suffer. Our desire for happiness is something we all have in common. But today, the world seems to be facing an emotional crisis. Rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are higher than ever. The gap between rich and poor and between CEOs and employees is at a historic high. And the focus on turning a profit often overrules a commitment to people, the environment, or society.” Dark individuals have always existed and will continue to exist; however, we, as a society, need to decide whether we want to continue giving them power or not. In this book, I presented who these individuals are, how they manage to enter organizations, how they operate within organizations, the impact of their presence, and how to deal with them. We can create selection mechanisms to reduce the probability of hiring them, performance appraisal systems that prevent promoting them to a leadership role, we can implement rules and regulations within organizations to minimize the damages that they cause; but until we change organizational cultures from profit first to people
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first, we will continue to see them rise and use their power to wreak havoc within organizational settings and society. Albert Einstein said “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” This book and my research are my contributions to doing something about it.
Reference Dalai Lama, Hougaard, R. (2019). The Dalai Lama on Why Leaders Should Be Mindful, Selfless, and Compassionate. Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business School Publishing. U.S.
Appendix 1 TABLE 1 Red flags dark personality profile and culture profile.
Factor 1 Innovation and risk-taking
Match/ Red flags
Being innovative (þ)
A willingness to experiment (þ) Risk-taking (þ)
Being careful (-)
Being rule-oriented (-)
Security of employment (-) Being highly organized (-) Factor 2 Attention to details
Being analytical (þ)
Paying attention to detail (þ) Being precise (þ)
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TABLE 1 Red flags dark personality profile and culture profile.dcont’d
Factor 3 Orientation toward outcomes or results
Being calm (-)
Achievement oriented (þ) Being demanding (þ)
Having high expectations for performance (þ) Being result-oriented (þ)
Factor 4 Aggressiveness and competitiveness
Being quick to take advantage of opportunities (þ) Being aggressive (þ)
Being socially responsible (-) Being competitive (þ)
Factor 5 Supportiveness
Sharing information freely (þ) Being supportive (þ)
Offers praise for good performance (þ) Working long hours (-)
Match/ Red flags
TABLE 1 Red flags dark personality profile and culture profile.dcont’d
Factor 6 Emphasis on growth and rewards
Opportunities for professional growth (þ) High pay for good performance (þ) Fitting in (þ)
Factor 7 Team orientation
Being team-oriented (þ) Working in collaboration with others (þ) Factor 8 Quality decision-making
Quality decision-making (þ) Low level of conflict (þ)
Match/ Red flags
Case study #1 The interview You are in charge of interviews for a sales representative position for your company. You read the next candidate’s resume, and you are impressed by the variety of work experiences the candidate has had in the past. Indeed, he has worked for many of your competitors and has a wide range of expertise. When you walk into the waiting room, you find the candidate in deep conversation with the receptionist, and they seem to be having a good time. At first glance, he is looking sharp; he is harboring the latest hairstyle, wearing what appears to be an expensive tailored suit with shoes to match. When you call his name, he turns around and walks toward you with a casual yet confident stride. Looking you straight in the eyes with a certain intensity, he gives you a big smile and firm handshake. He seems very at ease in your office; in fact, he doesn’t seem to be nervous at all. He takes a good look around. When he sees a picture of you at a company golf tournament, he asks if you have ever played golf at Augusta National, one of the most exclusive golf courses in the United States. When you reply that you haven’t, he explains that it is a fabulous course, unlike any other he has played. When you ask him if he has any questions before you start the interview, he asks how long you have been working with the company. When you ask him questions, he seems at ease and all smiles. He is very talkative and gives many examples. He has a strong presence and speaks in a confident tone. However, oftentimes, he transgresses to other subjects, and you find it hard to keep him “on track.” He sometimes answers questions with information and examples that, although interesting, are not related to the question you asked, and you find it hard to get back to the subject or question you want him to address. He is funny and witty and makes the interview seem like a social meeting, which you find refreshing. When asked what he knows about the company, he mentions that he is just back from a business trip and did not have time to research the company
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thoroughly. Regardless, when asked what he thinks he could contribute to the company, he offers many examples. When questioned about specifics of the position he is being interviewed for, he says that he feels confident that his work experience amply covers all of the tasks. When you ask him to tell you about a situation where an employee or coworker was having a difficult time, he starts by telling you that he thinks personal problems should be handled at home, not in the workplace in order to keep the team effective. Then, he proceeds to give you an example of a coworker having financial difficulties following his divorce. He answered adequately, but somehow, there was a discrepancy between what he was saying (a sad story) and his facial expression and body language. He seemed to be unaffected by the story while saying it was very unfortunate; he even smiled at one point while talking about something that was quite sad. When asked about experiences and successes, he provides many examples in which he succeeded in achieving organizational goals. He has outstanding oral communication skills, and he uses technical language that impresses you. He is very passionate when he talks about his achievements, and he is very interesting. He doesn’t mention his specific role in each of these achievements and projects, and he never seems to mention others’ contributions. He makes a point of explaining everything he could do for your company and seems to have many creative ideas on how to make the company more profitable. He says that he has an extensive business network and can use his contacts to expand your business. He names a few very influential people in your company’s line of business and calls them good friends. When asked why he has changed jobs so often, he mentions that he needs challenges that these companies or jobs could not provide. He notes that some of his former managers felt threatened by him and did not give him the promotions he deserved. He says that he is convinced that your company is the right fit for him as he shares the same values and preoccupations. He assures you that, with his help, you will be able to bring the company “to the next level.”
Impression Management Tactics Verbal impression management tactics Self-Focused tactics
Nonverbal impression management tactics Expensive or flashy clothes Nice hairstyle Expressive voice
Making eye contact
Confident walk Absence of stress or anxiety
Opinion conformity (agreeing with interviewer)
Clear style of speech
Other enhancement (complimenting interviewer or organization)
Longer speaking time
Based on classifications by Ellis et al. (2002); Murphy (2007); Stevens and Kristof (1995) and Hosoda et al. (2003).
Understanding selfeother rating agreement Selfeother rating agreement Selfeother rating agreement (SOA) refers to the degree of agreement between self-ratings and the ratings of others (superiors, peers, subordinates). While some might think that SOA represents a flaw in 360-degree assessment, research has found discrepancies between self and other ratings to be of significant interest in itself (Atwater & Yammarino, 1997). As Fleenor, Smither, Atwater, Braddy, and Sturm (2010, p. 1005) report: “Much of the current interest in SOA research derives from two primary factors: (a) it is posited to be an indicator of self-awareness, and (b) it appears to be related to several outcomes of interest, including leader effectiveness and derailment.” The authors mention that there are valid elements to both self-ratings and other-ratings and that neither should be presumed to be more accurate. In a study of 360-degree performance appraisals, Beehr, Ivanitskaya, Hansen, Erofeev, and Gudanowski (2001) found that self-report performance scores were consistently higher than peer or supervisor reports. The authors also found that peer and supervisor performance appraisals were positively correlated with selection and past performance appraisal data while selfreports were not (Beehr et al., 2001). One reason for the discrepancy in self-rating versus peer and supervisor ratings may be that employees have a lot to gain by assessing themselves positively. Nevertheless, studies report that, while some individuals do offer self-ratings that are higher than others’ ratings (overestimators), some provide self-ratings that are in agreement with others’ ratings (in-agreement raters), and some provide self-ratings that are lower than others’ ratings (underestimators) (Atwater & Yammarino, 1992; Fleenor, McCauley, & Brutus, 1996).
216 Appendix 3
Outcomes of selfeother rating agreement Individuals who rate themselves higher than others rate them (overestimators) tend to have lower performance ratings than individuals who rate themselves lower than others rate them (Atwater, Ostroff, Yammarino, & Fleenor, 1998). In a study of mentorementee dyads, Sosik and Godshalk (2004) found that mentees who were a part of an in-agreement/good performance dyad reported higher levels of psychosocial support than mentees who were a part of in-agreement/poor performance and overestimator dyads. Sosik (2001) found that managers high in self/employee rating agreement had higher trust and commitment toward their own managers and had employees who scored higher on commitment. The author also found that underestimators outperformed overestimators and in-agreement leaders in building employee trust and organizational commitment, despite reporting the lowest levels of organizational commitment themselves (Sosik, 2001). This last result is interesting as it indicates that leaders who assess their own performance lower than they are evaluated by their employees probably score high on humility. I present the importance of humility in leadership and the concept of humble leadership in chapter 5. In terms of age, older managers tend to overestimate their abilities more than younger managers (Brutus, Fleenor, & McCauley, 1999; Vecchio & Anderson, 2009). As for gender differences, women tend to underestimate their abilities as leaders (Brutus et al., 1999). Women also tend to anticipate lower ratings from others. Taylor and Hood (2011) found that, although women’s self-rated scores on socio-emotional competence were similar to men’s, they anticipated that others would rate them significantly lower despite the fact that they were actually rated more favorably than men. Sturm, Taylor, Atwater, and Braddy (2014) report that the reasons why women expect lower evaluations from others include a lack of self-confidence, learned gender roles, and self-sexism. These elements can probably explain why women tend to underrate their abilities during performance appraisals compared to men. Conversely, research indicates that, compared to women, men are more likely to overestimate their abilities during a selection process (Jones & Fletcher, 2002; Lindeman, Sundvik, & Rouhiainen, 1995), during a performance appraisal process (Patiar & Mia, 2009), and on leadership effectiveness (Brutus et al., 1999; Vecchio & Anderson, 2009). We know that individuals with dark personalities tend to overestimate their abilities and overclaim their knowledge of people or concepts that do not exist. Thus, it is not surprising to learn that men tend to overestimate their abilities given that, as we have seen in chapter 1, men score higher than women on all three Dark Triad personalities.
In fact, Sosik and Jung (2003) found that managers who overestimated their charismatic leadership used more intimidation as impression management (IM) tactics. Furthermore, in-agreement/good performance managers outperformed both overestimators and in-agreement/poor performance managers (Sosik & Godshalk, 2004). Vecchio and Anderson (2009) found that, the more managers overestimated their own leadership effectiveness relative to their immediate superior’s assessment of their effectiveness, the more they received negative scores from their superior on job performance. This means that managers who overestimate their leadership abilities may not perform as well as managers who do not overestimate their leadership skills. As we have seen in previous chapters of this book, employees and leaders presenting dark personalities tend to overestimate their skills, knowledge, and effectiveness. This leads to the hypothesis that, perhaps, dark personality traits may constitute underlying factors explaining overestimation of one’s own abilities and achievements.
The role of personality in selfeother agreement Testing the role of individual differences in SOA following multisource feedback, Fletcher and Baldry (2000, p. 315) report: “managers who do not see themselves in the same way as their bosses are more outgoing, impulsive, forthright and artless, conservative, and expedientdthough very good at identifying assumptions.” Similarly, Roush and Atwater (1992) found that leaders who were introverts and sensing types (on the MyerseBriggs Type Indicator [MBTI] measure) had the most accurate self-perceptions. Sensing on the MBTI refers to individuals who like to base their decisions on facts and are pragmatic. In terms of leadership style, the authors found that leaders who were evaluated as sensing and feeling types (on the MBTI) were the most transformational and used the most positive reinforcement with their employees. Feeling on the MBTI is associated with people skills and compassion for others. As we will see in the next chapter, transformational leadership is associated with very positive outcomes for employees; transformational leaders are inspiring and people-oriented. Not surprisingly, my research on corporate psychopathy and that of others indicate that managers presenting high levels of psychopathy traits score low on transformational leadership. Brutus et al. (1999) tested the influence of supervisor personality traits on SOA in assessing managerial skills. Supervisors’ self-rating of empathy predicted higher scores of managerial skills for self, subordinate, peer, and supervisor ratings. Empathy, thus, seems to be an essential trait to possess for
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leaders; in fact, the authors state that “The effect of this personality dimension is powerful because it represents the only variable that predicts leadership effectiveness ratings across the board. Those managers not only perceive themselves as better leaders, but the behaviors that they exhibit are also valued by others around them. This personality characteristic stands out as being a very valuable quality in managers” (Brutus et al., 1999, p. 430). The authors also found only one personality trait that predicted significant discrepancies between self and all others (subordinates, peers, and supervisors). That trait was dominance. In other words, managers high on dominance viewed themselves differently than others view them (Brutus et al., 1999). Semenyna and Honey (2015) found that all three Dark Triad personalities score higher on dominance, dominant leadership, and ruthless self-advancement, providing more evidence for the relationship between dark personalities and discrepancies in selfeother ratings.
Dark personalities and selfeother rating agreement Campbell et al. (2011) report that narcissism is not just related to inflated views of self but also related to inflated confidence in one’s abilities. For example, narcissists tend to overevaluate their contribution in a group setting (John & Robins, 1994). Furthermore, even when faced with opposing facts, individuals high on narcissism still consider that they do better than others and predict that they would do better than others in similar tasks in the future (Campbell, Goodie, & Foster, 2004). Paulhus, Harms, Bruce, and Lysy (2003) studied the relationship between overclaiming (claiming knowledge of concepts that do not exist and are fabricated by experimenters) and narcissism. They have found that narcissistic individuals overclaim more than non-narcissistic individuals, even when they are warned that some questionnaire items are madeup or “fake.” In fact, Bing, Kluemper, Davison, Taylor, and Novicevic (2011) found that overclaiming is a better measure of faking than social desirability. Paulhus (1998) has found a link between self-enhancement and narcissism and argues that self-enhancement is a trait (part of one’s character). In a study measuring the reactions of others to trait self-enhancers, Paulhus has found that, at the first group meeting, self-enhancers made a positive impression (they were seen as agreeable, well adjusted, and competent), but with time (7 weeks), they were rated negatively by others and offered self-evaluations that were higher than peer evaluations (Paulhus, 1998). Paulhus (1998, p. 1205) concluded that “narcissists are not exaggerating their talent merely to manipulate public impressions in a conscious waydthey really believe they are superior.”
As mentioned earlier, narcissistic individuals seem to base their predictions of future performance on performance expectations instead of on actual performance at the task (Campbell, Goodie & Foster, 2004). A study by John and Robins (1994) showed that narcissism is associated with higher self-report scores of performance compared to staff evaluation of the individual’s performance in a managerial group discussion task. On a computer task, narcissism predicted confidence in response to knowledge questions despite inaccuracy in their answers (Campbell, Goodie, & Foster, 2004), indicating that overconfidence is a trait in narcissistic individuals that is independent of actual performance. Since they seem to believe that they are superior, their performance expectations are probably higher than for non-narcissistic individuals. This finding is in line with Raskin, Novacek, and Hogan’s (1991) report that narcissists exhibit defensive self-esteem, which means that they seek admiration but not acceptance. In Paulhus’s study, all self-enhancement measures were positively related to self-esteem (Paulhus, 1998). A question we may ask is: are all individuals high on self-esteem also high on narcissism? Campbell, Rudich, and Sedikides (2002) have conducted a study differentiating narcissistic individuals from high self-esteem individuals. According to the authors, it seems that the differences lie in domains of the self; Narcissists perceive themselves as superior to others on agentic traits (e.g., intellectual skills, extraversion) but not on communal traits (e.g., agreeableness, morality). High-self-esteem individuals perceived themselves as superior on both agentic and communal traits (Campbell, Rudich and Sedikides, 2002). The authors conclude: “There are different ways to love oneself... Seeing the self as extremely outgoing and clever (but not as moral and nice) portrays a very different individual than seeing the self as nice and moral as well as somewhat clever and intelligent. Those who adopt the former view are narcissists, whereas those who adopt the latter view have high selfesteem.” Campbell and colleagues (2002) add “The domain in which society may admire narcissists is achievement. Individuals may not mind a narcissist on the team if he or she is focused on gaining praise by performing well. Unfortunately, narcissism is problematic even in this domain because the narcissist may view success where there is non or even steal success from his or her colleagues.” The problem lies in the fact that, if selection processes and performance appraisals are based only on task-oriented skills, individuals with dark personalities will be able to manipulate their way into making others believe that they are very effective on these skills, despite facts that may not corroborate their self-assessment. In fact, they are convincing at making others believe in their effectiveness because they, themselves, believe that they are effective. As mentioned above, they think that they are superior to others, making their arguments much more convincing.
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Testing the relationship between self-enhancement and Dark Triad personalities, Paulhus and Williams (2002) found that, on two objective measures, narcissists exhibited the most self-enhancement, followed by psychopaths; Machiavellians showed no sign of self-enhancement (Paulhus, & Williams, 2002). The fact that narcissistic and psychopathic individuals are more likely to self-enhance leads to the assumption that they may be overestimators, which means that there will inevitably be discrepancies between their selfevaluation and their superior’s evaluation of their performance. Introducing favorable biases through IM tactics may help these individuals decrease the discrepancy between self and other evaluations. However, in cases where self and other evaluations are inconsistent, feedback is essential.
References Atwater, L. E., Ostroff, C., Yammarino, F. J., & Fleenor, J. W. (1998). Self-other agreement: Does it really matter? Personnel Psychology, 51(3), 577e598. Atwater, L. E., & Yammarino, F. J. (1992). Does self-other agreement on leadership perceptions moderate the validity of leadership and performance predictions? Personnel Psychology, 45(1), 141e164. Atwater, L. E., & Yammarino, F. J. (1997). Self-other rating agreement: A review and model. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 15, 121e174. Beehr, T. A., Ivanitskaya, L., Hansen, C. P., Erofeev, D., & Gudanowski, D. M. (2001). Evaluation of 360 degree feedback ratings: Relationships with each other and with performance and selection predictors. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 22(7), 775e788. Bing, M. N., Kluemper, D., Davison, H. K., Taylor, S., & Novicevic, M. (2011). Overclaiming as a measure of faking. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 116(1), 148e162. Brutus, S., Fleenor, J. W., & McCauley, C. D. (1999). Demographic and personality predictors of congruence in multi-source ratings. Journal of Management Development, 18(5), 417e435. Campbell, W. K., Goodie, A. S., & Foster, J. D. (2004). Narcissism, confidence, and risk attitude. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 17(4), 297e311. Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Campbell, S. M., & Marchisio, G. (2011). Narcissism in organizational contexts. Human Resource Management Review, 21(4), 268e284. Campbell, W. K., Rudich, E. A., & Sedikides, C. (2002). Narcissism, self-esteem, and the positivity of self-views: Two portraits of self-love. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(3), 358e368. Fleenor, J. W., McCauley, C. D., & Brutus, S. (1996). Self-other rating agreement and leader effectiveness. The Leadership Quarterly, 7(4), 487e506. Fleenor, J. W., Smither, J. W., Atwater, L. E., Braddy, P. W., & Sturm, R. E. (2010). Selfeother rating agreement in leadership: A review. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(6), 1005e1034. Fletcher, C., & Baldry, C. (2000). A study of individual differences and self-awareness in the context of multi-source feedback. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73(3), 303e319.
John, O. P., & Robins, R. W. (1994). Accuracy and bias in self-perception: Individual differences in self-enhancement and the role of narcissism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66(1), 206. Jones, L., & Fletcher, C. (2002). Self-assessment in a selection situation: An evaluation of different measurement approaches. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 75(2), 145e161. Lindeman, M., Sundvik, L., & Rouhiainen, P. (1995). Under-or Overestimation of self?: Person variables and self-assessment accuracy in work settings. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 10(1), 123. Patiar, A., & Mia, L. (2009). Transformational leadership style, market competition and departmental performance: Evidence from luxury hotels in Australia. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 28(2), 254e262. Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Interpersonal and intrapsychic adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: A mixed blessing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(5), 1197. Paulhus, D. L., Harms, P. D., Bruce, M. N., & Lysy, D. C. (2003). The over-claiming technique: Measuring self-enhancement independent of ability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 890. Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The dark triad of personality: Narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36(6), 556e563. Raskin, R., Novacek, J., & Hogan, R. (1991). Narcissism, self-esteem, and defensive selfenhancement. Journal of Personality, 59(1), 19e38. Roush, P. E., & Atwater, L. (1992). Using MBTI to understand transformational leadership and self-perception accuracy. Military Psychology, 4(1), 17e34. Semenyna, S. W., & Honey, P. L. (2015). Dominance styles mediate sex differences in Dark Triad traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 37e43. Sosik, J. J. (2001). Self-other agreement on charismatic leadership: Relationships with work attitudes and managerial performance. Group and Organization Management, 26(4), 484e511. Sosik, J. J., & Godshalk, V. M. (2004). Self-other rating agreement in mentoring: Meeting prote´ge´ expectations for development and career advancement. Group and Organization Management, 29(4), 442e469. Sosik, J. J., & Jung, D. I. (2003). Impression management strategies and performance in information technology consulting: The role of self-other rating agreement on charismatic leadership. Management Communication Quarterly, 17(2), 233e268. Sturm, R. E., Taylor, S. N., Atwater, L. E., & Braddy, P. W. (2014). Leader self-awareness: An examination and implications of women’s under-prediction. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(5), 657e677. Taylor, S. N., & Hood, J. N. (2011). It may not be what you think: Gender differences in predicting emotional and social competence. Human Relations, 64(5), 627e652. Vecchio, R. P., & Anderson, R. J. (2009). Agreement in selfeother ratings of leader effectiveness: The role of demographics and personality. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 17(2), 165e179. Vise, D., & Malseed, M. (2007). The google story. Strategic Direction, 23(10).
Competencies extracted from best leadership practices Traits from the literature on leadership
Bright leadership competency profile
Adherence to moral standards and rules
Adherence to moral standards and rules
Managing one’s emotions
Openness to learn from others
Trust in others
Tolerance towards others
Involving others in decision-making
Spotlighting followers’ strengths and contributions
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dcont’d Traits from the literature on leadership
Bright leadership competency profile
Openness to learning from others
Trust in others
Self-control (low impulsivity) (reflection)
Involving others in decision-making
Values and convictions
Bright leadership competency profile Competencies Personal Profile Adherence to moral standards and rules Perseverance Self-control (reflection) Assertiveness Managing one’s emotions Loyalty Openness to learn from others Modesty Altruism
Integrity Responsibility Managing work profile Strategic thinking Innovation Problem-solving Detail-oriented Organized Interpersonal profile Emotional Intelligence Sociability Empathy Warmth Listening Assertiveness Trust in others Interpersonal acceptance Employee management profile Quality decision-making Conflict resolution Involving others in decision-making Modeling behaviors Creates trust Admitting mistakes Employee recognition Coaching employees * To these Bright Leadership Competencies, I would add: ability to delegate, quick decision-making, adaptability, prioritizing, autonomy, and change management.
Case study #2 The boss You are a new employee at a government agency, and you are about to enter a meeting with your new boss who, according to the secretary, has the nickname “the shark lady.” As you enter the room, you notice that she is already sitting at the conference table. She raises her head, offers you a smile, and says, “good afternoon.” In other circumstances, perhaps this would have been a great way to start a meeting; however, as it turns out, it is only 8:25 am, and the meeting was scheduled for 8:30. Looking at your puzzled expression, she smiles again and says that, in this office, everyone gets in early, and she noticed that you only got to work at 8 am. “You know what they say,” she says, “the early bird gets the worm.” During that first meeting, she mentions that being at the top of the hierarchy is not a problem for people who have children as it means that you have the financial resources to hire a full-time nanny, which allows you to work longer hours. In the first few months at your job, you learn that she is very demanding and expects her employees to put in long hours to finish mandates on time regardless of how these long hours may affect employees. When she wants something done, she will pressure everyone until she gets it. Everything seems to be a priority for her. On a Friday, you enter the lunchroom to find your boss’ secretary crying. You sit next to her and ask what is wrong. She tells you that she works extremely hard but feels unappreciated. She says that your boss frequently changes her mind. She asks her to work on a document, and the next day, she expects it to be ready without giving her the appropriate directives or support. About two months ago, your boss hired a junior assistant as she said it would be great to act as a mentor for someone. She said that the assistant reminded her of herself when she was younger. As you meet the new assistant, you immediately like her; she is always smiling, has a lot of energy, and is willing to work hard. Things seemed to go well at first, but eventually, your boss started to complain that the young assistant was, perhaps, too eager and wanted to change how things were done. In fact, everyone liked the assistant, she was well qualified, and she had great suggestions on how to modernize the 227
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office’s operations and procedures. The only one who did not seem happy about these possible changes was your boss, who kept repeating to you that the new assistant needed to “know her place” in the organizational hierarchy. You were put in charge of organizing a big event for your office. The day of the event, your boss sends the new assistant to help you with last-minute details. Unfortunately, the assistant is present, but she does not seem to feel well. She mentions that she has stomach issues. You tell her that she should go rest, that you have things under control. The event goes without a glitch. The next day, your boss asks you if the new assistant was helpful. You mention that she was there to help but that she was feeling sick, so you suggested that she should go home and rest. She then proceeds to talk about her disappointment toward the new assistant and asks for your opinion. You listen and mention that you think she is doing well, considering she has only been there for three months. That Friday, around 5:30, as you leave the office for the weekend, you get a call from the assistant who is crying and very angry. She had just been fired by your boss and had been escorted to her office to get her personal belongings. Your boss told her that, based on your assessment of her and your complaints that she was not doing her job well, she had to let her go. The assistant finishes the conversation with, “I hope you feel good about yourself. I am now out of a job. Have a great weekend!” You immediately call your boss, who tells you that you shouldn’t feel bad for telling her the truth about the assistant and that she had to let her go; her incompetence was just too much to deal with. She said that the assistant was not ready for mentoring and not willing to learn. As time passes, you realize that there are many great people working for the organization. You are starting to create great relationships and collaborating with many experienced managers. You find that you are learning a lot, despite the complicated relationship with your boss. About a month after she fired the assistant, your boss comes to see you asking you to brainstorm ideas for a new project. She asks that you send her your preliminary thoughts by email in an attached document. She says that she needs these ideas by the end of the day. You have a hectic schedule that day; nevertheless, you throw some ideas on a document, point form style, as it is just a first brainstorm draft. The next morning, one of the managers you get along with very well comes to see you with a concerned expression on his face. He asks how you are doing. Puzzled, you tell him that you are doing great and ask him what this is about. He proceeds to tell you that the night before, at the executive meeting, your boss presented the new project and showed the work you had done on the project so far. She said that she had asked you to produce a document introducing the project and the objectives for the executive meeting. The manager tells you that the executives around the table were a little perplexed that someone with your expertise would produce such a document. You then realize that he is talking about the brainstorm draft you had sent the day before. He says that he thought it best to warn you about this
as he has seen your work, and the document presented last night was not representative of what he knows you can do. You are in disbelief. You tell the manager that this was a rough draft and that the document was meant to “get the ball rolling” in terms of objectives and ideas for the project. It was never meant to be shared with the board of directors as a finished product. You wait about an hour to calm down; then, you email your boss asking if you could meet with her. Ten minutes later, she walks into your office, asking why you asked to see her. You ask her if she presented your last-minute draft last night to the board of directors. She replies that she did and that they did not seem impressed. When you tell her that you thought she only wanted preliminary ideas, she replies that your work should always be outstanding and that everything you do should be well done. She mentions that she expected more from you and that if you wished to move upwards within the organization or in your field for another organization, you would need a positive reference from her. With that, she exists your office, leaving you feeling angry, insulted, and helpless. Yet, a part of you is wondering if, perhaps, you had misunderstood her instructions for that document. You wonder how you will be able to work for this woman every day; you already have insomnia and feel stressed and anxious even on weekends. In the following weeks, you notice that her secretary seems distracted, worried, stressed, and has lost weight. When mentioning this to a colleague at lunch, she tells you that your boss has that effect on every secretary and that the current secretary is the fourth one in the past three years. All the others left. In light of this information and recent events, you decide to meet with the company’s vice president (your boss’ boss). During the meeting, you mention facts and behaviors your boss has displayed toward you, her assistant, and her secretary. The vice president tells you that you are not the first employee to mention that your boss may lack people skills. A week later, the vice president asks you to come to his office for a follow-up meeting. He notes that your boss was assigned an executive coach and that she will be following five sessions on managing effective teams. He says that she is the company’s best asset when it comes to accounts and clients. He says that he believes that she is so goal-oriented that she sometimes forgets about her people skills, and he says that it happens to high-performing individuals. He also mentions that he understands that not everyone can work for her as she is an overachiever, and she tends to forget that others may not be like her. He then explains that she is under a lot of pressure to perform and that she may be pushy, but she always gets things done. He adds that it is impossible to get to where she is without having ruffled a few feathers. He claims that he is confident the five sessions will resolve most of the issues you
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have brought forward. You leave the meeting in complete disbelief, not knowing what to do or where to go next, and with a newfound fear that your boss will find out about the discussions you had with her boss.
Case study 3 The employee You are feeling overwhelmed at work, and recently, you have started feeling anxious, particularly at night when you go to bed. You have been experiencing, in the past two months, a lot of stress. You have been tired and having difficulty concentrating. You don’t feel like yourself; you are more irritable with people in your life, so you have decided that you would meet with a psychologist from your employee assistance program to get tools and advice on dealing with your recent symptoms. As you proceed to enumerate your symptoms, the psychologist asks you if there were any significant changes in your life or events that you think could have led to your anxiety. You mention that nothing has changed in your personal life but that you are dealing with a very stressful situation at work. She asks you to elaborate on the problem you are having at work. You start the story from the beginning: I am a manager in charge of a team of 21 employees for a manufacturing business. Our company makes automobile parts that we sell to retailers and auto repair shops. Two years ago, we hired a new mechanical engineer. As the director, I was part of the selection committee when this employee was hired. We all agreed that he was the best candidate for the job, and he performed exceptionally well during the interview. He was goal-oriented, he was a great communicator, and he showed great potential. We needed someone in this position as soon as possible since the team handled major projects and everyone was already putting in extra hours. He was willing to start the week after the interview, and so we expedited the selection process and offered him the position the morning after the interview. His CV and interview were so impressive that we didn’t take the time to call for references or have him go through any psychometric testing. I know, in hindsight, maybe we should have done things differently, but we thought that we had struck gold with this candidate. The first few months were great; he seemed to be getting along with everyone very well. He often had lunch with me, and we would talk about work and our personal lives. He also somehow made a good impression on my boss, who congratulated me on hiring such a dynamic and promising employee.
Over the next year, however, there were more and more inconsistencies with his work and behavior. I had a female employee who mentioned that he was very flirtatious with female employees; some were flattered, but some were starting to feel uncomfortable. I’ve decided to meet informally with the employee to talk to him about the fact that I had heard that he had been flirting with female employees and to let him know that the company has strict rules and that he should be mindful of his actions. He laughed and didn’t take the conversation seriously; he dismissed the claim and said that it was just in his nature to be open and friendly and that some may have confounded that with flirting. After that, one employee came to see me to let me know that she had shared ideas with him only to find out that he had presented them as his own in a meeting she attended. She said she confronted him, and he replied that the ideas were his. Then, things started getting out of hand; he took long breaks and often returned from lunch around 2:30 pm. I didn’t know what to do with the situation as most of these lunches were with my boss, other higher management members, or potential clients. He also had a hard time respecting deadlines, which put a lot of stress on the rest of the team, who had to pick up his slack and deliver mandates on time. I tried to bring up the subject of his poor performance with my boss, but I immediately saw that my boss was defending him, saying that perhaps he was destined for a more strategic position and that he just had too much potential for the job he has. He said that he had often talked about his desire to move ahead in the company. My boss asked if there was anything I could do to promote him as he didn’t want to lose him to another company. About six months ago, as I was getting back from a lunch meeting with a colleague, one of my employees came to my office to tell me that the employee was spreading rumors in the office about a possible intimate relationship between my colleague and me. Apparently, this was not the only rumor he had started; he also liked to tell everyone that I was lazy and incompetent at my job. He started criticizing me, going against everything I proposed to the team, and some of my employees started believing him and agreeing with his negative attitude toward me. It was getting harder and harder to lead meetings and mobilize my team. It even got me thinking that maybe he was right; maybe I wasn’t good at managing my team. I kept meeting with him and pressing him to be on time at his job and to respect deadlines. He got very defensive and aggressive every time I tried to address his poor performance; he always had excuses and blamed other team members. I was having a hard time sleeping, I was always on edge, and I didn’t know where to get support. About a month ago, I had to go out of town with one of my employees for a contract. While we were having dinner, she told me that she was thinking of filing a harassment complaint against this guy. I was surprised and asked her why she didn’t tell me. She said that he always bragged about being close to
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me since I needed his skills to help me with my job (he said that he was my right-hand man), and so she thought that I wouldn’t understand and that I would protect him. She said that he was always handing her his work and making negative, derogatory comments to her. She said that she thought about leaving, but she really needed this job. I said that she should talk to HR about all of this and how to handle the situation. I said that I would also speak to HR to see what the next steps were for me as her superior. The next week, I got a call from HR thinking that it was about this situation. When I met with the HR representatives, they informed me that my problematic employee had filed a harassment complaint. against me! I cannot believe it. He says that I am harassing him and that I am jealous of him, of his talent and expertise and that I am worried that he will take my position. I don’t know what to do. I asked my boss for vacation time as I am exhausted, and I can’t continue like this. The problem is that I don’t see how I will be able to go back to work. The investigation is ongoing. HR has hired a consultant to look into it, my employees will have to testify, and I can’t imagine facing everyone after this. I feel like my career is over; I don’t know what to do. I thought that I would meet with you and try to gain perspective and much-needed advice on how to handle things.
Anti-dark personality organizational checklist 1. Organizational culture ,Puts people before profit ,Based on values such as honesty, integrity, and respect ,Ready to walk the talk when it comes to making sure that values are respected ,Employee safety is a priority ,Two-way communication ,Supportive of employees and supervisors ,Offers employee recognition 2. Selection process ,Job posting ,Competency-based structured interview ,Psychometric testing ,Background checks 3. Performance assessment ,Competency-based ,Clear, measurable goals and objectives ,BARS ,360-degree feedback for managers 4. Promotions ,Based on previous performance assessments ,Based on the competency framework created for the position ,Based on results from behavioral questions ,Based on psychometric testing
234 Appendix 6
5. Leadership ,Transformational (task and people-oriented) ,Model positive values and behaviors ,Present interpersonal skills including: respect, honesty, humility, empathy, listening, supporting, coaching, recognizing employee accomplishments 6. Corporate misbehavior policies and programs ,Anonymous tip lines ,Clear policies ,Prevention programs ,Effective investigations following official complaints ,Consequences for perpetrators 7. Surveys to evaluate employee well-being ,Employee mental health ,Work climate ,Interpersonal relationships ,Trust in management and organization ,Turnover ,Job satisfaction ,Perception of leadership
Index Note: ‘Page numbers followed by “f ” indicate figures and “t” indicate tables.’
A Abuse against others, 153 Abusive leadership, 100e101, 103 Active listening, 198 Affective commitment, 148e149 Affective dimension, 5 Aggression, 89, 132 Agreeableness, 8e9, 100e101, 152 American’s with Disabilities Act (1990/1992), 64 Antipersonnel crime theory dark personalities and violence, 131e134 harassment and bullying, 126e127 harassment policy and program, 143 intervention, 142e143 dealing with aftermath of harassment, 143 during harassment investigation with other team members, 142e143 Machiavellian violence, 132e133 organizational causes of workplace violence, 135e138 prevalence of workplace violence, 127e128 psychopathic violence, 133e134 secure workplace creation, 138e142 prevention, 138 zero-tolerance harassment policy, 138e139 impact of workplace harassment on victims, 128e130 workplace violence, 125 workplace violence perpetrator profile, 130e131 Antipersonnel weapons, 123 Antisocial dimension, 5 Aspiration, 53 Assertive tactics, 45 Asset misappropriation, 155 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), 156e157 Attraction, 27
changing organizational culture, 33e35 importance of job postings, 31e32 money and power, 27e29 organization, 29e30 organization’s personality, 35 personeorganization fit theory, 29 walking talk, 33 Attractiveness, 48e49 Autonomous motivation, 149e150 Autonomy and support, 199
B B-Scan, 65 factors and facets, 8t Background checks, 60e62 social media in selection processes, 61e62 Background questions, 53e54 Behavioral questions, 54e55 Behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS), 85e86 Bidirectional Impression Management Index, 46 Brainstorming, 196 Bullying, 126e127, 157e158
C Callous affect, 76 Career choice theory, 29 Charismatic leadership, 105e106 Cheat sheet, 187e188 Civility, 126e127 Clinical personality disorders, 1e2 Collaboration, 34 Collateral information, 58e59 Colleague, 170e171 Communication, 198 Competency framework, 52e53 Confucian values, 153e154 Confucianism, 153e154 Conscientiousness, 8e9, 100e101, 152 Continuance commitment, 148e149
236 Index Controlled motivation, 149e150 Core of Darkness, 7 Corporate fraud, 147, 155e159, 171 behavioral signs, 156e158 organizational structures allowing fraud and CWB, 159e162 Corporate fraudsters nonefraud-related misconduct and CWB, 157t personality correlates of, 158e159 Corporate misbehavior, 181e188 Corporation, The (Canadian documentary), 14 Corruption, 155 Counterproductive work behaviors (CWB), 147, 151e155, 172 Creativity, 200 Criminal psychopaths, 2 Culture, 101e102, 135e136. See also Organizational culture
D Dark leadership, 103 Dark personalities, 1, 27, 43, 147, 191 causes, developmental factors, and prevalence, 10e13 clinical vs. subclinical personality disorders, 1e2 Dark Triad model, 3 and employee attitudes, 147e151 gender differences, 14 genetic and environmental factors, 10e11 and leadership, 100e102, 108e109 Machiavellianism, 4e5 measuring dark personality traits in selection process, 64e66 narcissism, 3e4 organizational profile for, 16 and personality models, 8e9 practical knowledge, 15 using practices that help weed out candidates presenting, 50e66 additional information on candidate, 58e62 assessment, 62e63 building competency framework, 52e53 building interview questions, 53e55 conducting interview, 57e58 decision, 64 job analysis, 51
job description transforming tasks into measurable skills, 51 job posting, 51e52 structuring interview, 55e57 team/supervisor/culture analysis, 51 prevalence, 13e14 psychopathy, 5e6 and reaction to feedback, 88e90 sadism, 6e7 similarities and differences among, 7 and violence, 131e134 in workplace, 170e181 Dark Triad and genetic/environmental influences, 11e13 model, 3, 7 personalities, 28, 47, 76, 102e103, 131, 149e150, 152 within workplace, 14e15 workplace competency profile, 16 Decision, 64 360-degree assessments, 86e87, 93 Defensive IM tactics, 81 Defensive tactics, 45 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-V), 99e100 Dysfunctional impulsivity, 131
E Emotional stability, 8e9 Empathy, 197 Employee(s), 135, 169, 172e181. See also Job attitudes asset misappropriation, 155 behavioral signs of corporate fraud, 156e158 corporate fraud, 155e159 corruption, 155 CWB, 151e155 dark personalities and, 147e151 financial statement fraud, 155e156 fraudster profile, 156 hiring process, 162e163 job satisfaction, 147e148 organizational commitment, turnover intention, and loyalty, 148e149 organizational structures allowing fraud and CWB, 159e162 personality correlates of corporate fraudsters, 158e159 work motivation, 149e150
Index writing counterproductive behavior policy and program, 163e164 selection impression management (IM), 44e45 measuring dark personality traits in selection process, 64e66 nonverbal impression management tactics, 48e50 perception of intelligence, 49e50 using practices helping weed out candidates presenting dark personalities, 50e66 process, 44 selection interview case, 50 selection process document, 66e67 self-promotion, 47e48 verbal impression management tactics, 45e48 Employment Equity Act (1995), 64 Entrepreneurship, 28 Escalation of commitment effect, 78 Ethical leadership, 103, 110e111, 116te117t Everyday sadism. See Sadism Experience-based questions. See Behavioral questions Extraversion, 8e9, 100e101
F Feedback importance in performance appraisal process, 87e88 Financial statement fraud, 155e156 Five-factor model (FFM), 8e9, 48e49 genetic/environmental influences, 10e11 of personality, 8e9, 100e101, 148 Fraudster profile, 156 statistics, 156 Full-range leadership model, 109e110 Functional impulsivity, 131
G Greed and growth, 194e195 Guarding Minds at Work website (GM@W website), 84e85
H Halo effect, 78e79 Happiness, 191e192 Harassment, 126e127, 136. See also Workplace harassment dealing with aftermath of, 143
intervention during harassment investigation with other team members, 142e143 perpetrators, 130 policy and program, 143 Hare’s psychopathy model, 76 HEXACO honesty/humility factor, 46e47, 76, 130, 158 model of personality and dark personalities, 9, 64e65 Hiring process, 162e163 Hogan Development Survey (HDS), 64e65 Humble leadership, 111e112, 116te117t Humility, 89e90, 97e98, 111e112 power of, 193e194
I Impression management (IM), 43e45, 76e77, 106 and performance appraisal, 79e80 impact of IM on, 80 tactics, promotion, and gender, 82 Impulsivity, 131 In-basket tests, 59e60 Incivility, 126e127 Integrity, 158, 197 Intentions, 192e193 Interpersonal behaviors, 30 dimension, 5 manipulation, 76 skills, 202 Interview questions, 53e55 aspiration and self-evaluation questions, 53 behavioral questions, 54e55 knowledge and background questions, 53e54 situational questions, 54 Intimidation, 157e158
J Job analysis, 51 complexity, 75 description and tasks transformation into measurable skills, 51 posting, 39, 51e52 importance of, 31e32 satisfaction, 147e148
K Knowledge, 105 questions, 53e54
L Laissez-Faire leadership, 110, 199e200 Landmines, 123 Leader(ship), 32e33, 75, 98e100, 135e136, 192 competencies associated with positive leadership styles, 116te117t competency profile for selection, performance appraisal, and promotion, 115e117 dark, 103 dark personalities and, 100e102, 108e109 effectiveness, 100e101 emergence, 100e101 ethical, 110e111 humble, 111e112 Machiavellian, 104e105 manager vs. leader, 98e100 narcissistic, 103e104 network, 76 positive leadership models, 109e113 psychopathic, 105e107 servant, 112e113 traits, 113e115 Leaderemember exchange theory (LMX theory), 102e103 Lifestyle dimension, 5 Loyalty, 148e149
M Machiavellian leadership, 104e105 Machiavellian violence, 5, 132e133 Machiavellianism, 4e5, 28, 45, 105, 132, 148, 152, 158e159 Management by objectives (MBO), 83e85 Management practices, 106 Manager, 98e100, 179e181 Managing dark employees additional recommendations, 174e181 corporate misbehavior, 181e188 dark personalities in workplace, 170e181 practice case studies, 188e189 Manipulative personality. See Machiavellianism Micromanagement, 176 Minor interpersonal CWB, 152 Minor organizational CWB, 152
Mobbing, 126, 128e129 Money, 27e29 Multisource rating, 86e87 360-degree assessments, 86e87
N Narcissism, 3e4, 28, 64, 89, 103e104, 131 Facebook users on, 49 Narcissists, 27e28, 47 narcissistic individuals, 88, 104 narcissistic leaders, 103e104 narcissistic violence, 131e132 Negative feedback, challenges of, 177 Neo-PI-3 measure, 113e115 factors and subscales, 114t Neuroticism, 100e101 Nonverbal behaviors, 44 impression management tactics, 48e50 attractiveness, 48e49 Normative commitment, 148e149 Normative information, 91
O Openness, 100e101, 196 to experience, 8e9 Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB), 147e148, 150e151 Organizational commitment, 148e149 Organizational culture, 27, 32, 72, 100, 203 changing, 33e35 measuring, 35 Organizational culture profile (OCP), 35e41 dark personalities and culture profile factor, 39t factors and competencies of, 37te38t Organizational desirability, 77 Organizational justice, 72e73 Organization’s personality, 35
P Parenting style, 11 Perceived similarity bias, 76e77 Perception of intelligence, 49e50 Performance Appraisal Discomfort Scale, 71e72 Performance appraisals, 71e73, 93e94 BARS, 85e86 dark individuals manipulating, 74e76 dark personalities and reaction to feedback, 88e90
Index defensive IM tactics, 81 for developmental purposes, 91 feedback importance in, 87e88 follow-up on performance appraisals and organizational consequences, 92 holding managers accountable for accuracy of ratings, 91 impact of IM on, 80 IM tactics, promotion, and gender, 82 impression management and, 79e80 key elements for implementing, 90e92 measurement, 83 monitoring managers, 90 multisource rating, 86e87 normative information, 91 performance evaluation biases, 76e79 process, 82e83 Performance evaluation biases, 76e79 escalation of commitment effect, 78 halo effect, 78e79 perceived similarity bias, 76e77 social desirability bias, 77 Person-centered approach, 11 Personality, 105 correlates of corporate fraudsters, 158e159 disorders, 1e2 models, 8e9 traits, 100e101 Personeorganization fit theory, 29 Physical attractiveness, 49 Positive leadership models, 109e113 full-range leadership model, 109e110 Positive workplace, 195e204 Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 128e129 Power, 27e29, 32e33 of humility, 193e194 Preventive management, 139 Principle of reciprocity, 195e196 Proactive aggression, 132 Problem, Action, Resolution system (PAR system), 55 Production deviance, 153 Psychometric testing, 59 Psychopaths, 2, 6 Psychopathy, 5e7, 11e12, 28, 48e49, 64, 106, 131, 133, 148, 151e152, 158e159 prevalence of, 13 psychopathic leadership, 105e107 psychopathic managers, 106 psychopathic process model, 74
psychopathic violence, 133e134 Psychopathy ChecklisteRevised (PCL-R), 5, 8t, 14, 64
R Recognition, 200 Relational aggression, 132 Respect, 196
S Sabotage, 154 Sadism, 6e7 Scoring competencies, 62e63 Security, 196 Selection interview case, 50 Self-enhancement, 47 Self-evaluation questions, 53 Self-promotion, 47e48 Serious interpersonal CWB, 152 Serious organizational CWB, 152 Servant leadership, 112e113, 116te117t Sexual harassment, 126 Situational questions, 54 Social desirability bias, 77 Social learning theory, 202 Social media in selection processes, 61e62 Social modeling, 202 Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound objectives (SMART objectives), 84 Stability of evaluators, 63 Subclinical personality disorders, 1e2 Success, 191e192 Succession planning, 106
T Team/supervisor/culture analysis, 51 Theft, 154 Training managers to performing performance appraisals, 90 Transactional leadership, 110 Transformational leadership, 109e110, 116te117t Trust, 135, 199 Turnover intention, 148e149 Two-way communication, 34
V Verbal behaviors, 44
240 Index Verbal impression management tactics, 45e48 Violence, 123e124. See also Workplace violence dark personalities and, 131e134 Vision, 106
W Withdrawal, 154 Work motivation, 149e150 OCB, 150e151 Workplace bullying, 126 Workplace civility, 126e127
Workplace harassment, 126 impact of workplace harassment on victims, 128e130 Workplace violence, 123, 125 ineffective management of harassment and tolerance of, 136e138 organizational causes, 135e138 perpetrator profile, 130e131 prevalence of, 127e128
Z Zero harassment tolerance policy, 138e139 “Zero-acquaintance” interactions, 47