STUDY: Being An Obsessive Narcissist Makes You Successful At Work

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This study showed that narcissism and obsessive compulsiveness are correlated with success in the workplace:Dark side traits have been associated as much with success as failure in specific occupations.

This study examines the possibility that some “dark side” traits may be advantageous in particular occupations by focusing on the relationship of eleven dark side traits with six, self-report, validated measures of occupation behaviour and potential.

Nearly 5000 British adults completed the Hogan Development Survey (HDS), and the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) which has six criterion-based measures of occupational scales. Whilst some disorders (i.e. Excitable, Sceptical) seemed consistently associated with low work outcome and potential ratings, others seemed either neutral or positively associated (Bold, Diligent).

Some dark side traits were highly variable being positively associated with some occupational scales, but not others (Mischievous, Colourful). The total ‘potential’ index of three potential measures showed most positive correlations with dark-side traits. The present results suggest that the manifestation of specific dark side traits may not always lead to work problems.


► The study showed personality disorders predict work success and failure.

► Borderline and paranoid personality were consistently associated with occupational failure.

► Narcissism and obsessive compulsiveness were correlated with success.

► Personality disorders are powerful predictors of success and failure at work.

Source: “Bright aspects to dark side traits: Dark side traits associated with work success” from Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 52, Issue 8, June 2012, Pages 908–913

Along the same lines:

  • The best leaders have a significant number of negative personality traits.
  • Young women and women who enjoy sex more prefer bad boys over nice guys.
  • Jerks and sexist men make more money. Being ethical can hurt your income.
  • Narcissists actually are more attractive. They aren’t more creative but you’ll think they are. It’s actually their worst characteristics that you’re most attracted to. And they’ll do better in job interviews than you will.

(If you found this depressing, click here.)

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