Literature Reviews On Dark Side Of Leadership: Paradoxes Of Leader Traits

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

Literature Review

Research Questions
Discuss the effectiveness of narcissistic leaderships? Can it deliver positive results to the business in long term?
Discuss the paradox of dark side of leadership? What is the best way to analyze the dark side of leadership?
Charismatic leadership is well-known and propagated by several authors as an effective means for motivating employees and delivering results. In their article, Shamir and Howell have provided evidence to the fact that charismatic leadership emerges as an effective tool in several situations and organizations having an unstable business environment does not allow charismatic leaders to prosper (1999 p. 278). Kodish (2006) has highlighted Aristotle’s contribution towards understanding the paradox of management, especially through the myth of Narcissus. He mentioned that several modern manages are engulfed in obsession and vanity, much like the mythical character of Narcissus. In his article, Kodish mentioned that there have been several cases of modern managers showing traits of narcissism in their leadership style (p. 451-52).
The modern day examples of Narcissist leaders bring to light the positive and negative impact they have on business and subordinates. Rosenthal and Pittinsky (2006) add that narcissistic leaders are known to take credit for their work and efforts of their subordinates and easily blame all mistakes on their subordinates to rid themselves of the errors. But, they also add that these narcissistic leaders are most likely to create and innovate to bring change in their domain (p. 617-630). In addition, narcissistic leaders are also considered effective leaders in the business world, despite the general perception of arrogance and over dominance among their co-workers and subordinates. It is also evident that the narcissist leaders’ authoritative style leads to the ineffective exchange of information between groups and has a negative impact on the group performance (Nevicka, 2011 p. 1-6).
The leadership effectiveness can also be studied through the medium of personality traits displayed by the leader. Hogan and Hogan (2001) have proposed a study of managerial incompetence on the basis of inventory of personality traits such as excitable, argumentative, cautious, detached, leisurely, mischievous, colorful, arrogant, imaginative, diligent, dutiful, etc.
All these character traits define the personality of the leader and work as an inventory of understanding and analyzing leadership behavior. These traits help in understanding the causes of managerial incompetence and the reasons behind businesses failing to achieve their targets due to the dark side of management (p. 40-51).
Khoo and Burch (2008) analyzed the relationship between the dark side of leadership and transformational leadership on the basis of personality traits mentioned in the Hogan Development Survey (Hogan & Hogan, 2001, p. 40-51). They came to an understanding through regression analysis that HDS’s colorful dimension of leadership is a positive predictor and bold and narcissistic dimension of leadership are negative predictors of transformative leadership (p. 86-97). Another study that analyzed the dark side of leadership was conducted for the post-communist country based leaders (Luthans, Peterson & Ibrayeva, 1998 p. 185-201). The study identified that in the post communist countries, leadership still shows the past mentalities of welfare and dependence on government to interfere in business practices. Basically, the study helps in understanding that political and social stability is needed to ensure any instances of the dark side of leadership are avoided.
Judge, Piccolo & Kolaska (2009) proposed a model that emulates the source of leader’s traits. Apart from the positive, they have also considered the negative or dark side of leadership through traits such as narcissism, dominance, hubris and Machiavellianism. Their article proposes how traits of a leader cause their emergence or failure (p. 855-875). Spain, Harms & Leberton, to further analyze the dark side of management have analyzed the history of leader’s dark personality traits and their relation with standard personality traits. Their study concludes that dark leadership personality is a participative factor in the routine leadership function. Their analysis clarifies that dark personality is negative only in some conditions and remains helpful in understanding work behavior in several cases (2014 p. 41-60).


Hogan, R., & Hogan, J. (2001). Assessing Leadership: A View from the Dark Side. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9(1&2), 40-51. doi:10.1111/1468-2389.00162
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), 855-875. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.09.004
Khoo, H. S., & Burch, G. S. (2008). The ‘dark side’ of leadership personality and transformational leadership: An exploratory study. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(1), 86-97. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2007.07.018
Kodish, S. (2006). The Paradoxes of Leadership: The Contribution of Aristotle. Leadership, 2(4), 451-468. doi:10.1177/1742715006069175
Luthans, F., Peterson, S. J., & Ibrayeva, E. (1998). The potential for the “dark side” of leadership in post communist countries. Journal of World Business, 33(2), 185-201. doi:10.1016/s1090-9516(98)90005-0
Nevicka, B., Ten Velden, F. S., De Hoogh, A. H., & Van Vianen, A. E. (2011). Reality at Odds With Perceptions: Narcissistic Leaders and Group Performance. Psychological Science, 22(10), 1259-1264. doi:10.1177/0956797611417259
Rosenthal, S. A., & Pittinsky, T. L. (2006). Narcissistic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 617-633. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2006.10.005
Shamir, B., & Howell, J. M. (1999). Organizational and contextual influences on the emergence and effectiveness of charismatic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 257-283. doi:10.1016/s1048-9843(99)00014-4
Spain, S. M., Harms, P., & Lebreton, J. M. (2013). The dark side of personality at work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35, 41-60. doi:10.1002/job.1894


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