Conceit and Deceit: Lying, Cheating and Stealing Among Grandiose Narcissists

Conceit and Deceit: Lying, Cheating and Stealing Among Grandiose Narcissists

By Charles A. O’Reilly, Bernadette Doerr
August 2019Working Paper No. 3808

Organizational researchers have become increasingly concerned with the potentially destructive consequences of narcissistic leadership. Evidence indicates that grandiose narcissists both aspire to and frequently achieve leadership roles in organizations. However, because narcissists are principally motivated to pursue their own interests, have lower ethical standards, and are willing to transgress social norms, they can put the institutions they lead at risk. We report three studies showing that individuals who are more narcissistic are more willing to lie, cheat, and steal than those who are less narcissistic. We discuss the implications of these results for organizations.