Narcissism in the Workplace

Narcissism in the Workplace

Research, Opinion and Practice

New Horizons in Management series

Andrew J. DuBrin

The author describes both the positive and negative features of narcissism and presents strategies and tactics for dealing constructively with narcissistic traits and behaviors in oneself and in others. Self-tests and questionnaires found throughout the volume enable readers to reflect on their standing on a variety of behaviors and attitudes associated with narcissism. Each chapter includes a section labeled ‘Guidelines for Application and Practice’ that provides practical advice for applying the research and theories presented within. Further, each chapter concludes with a case history of narcissism, accompanied by a brief analysis of the narcissistic aspects of the case’s subject.

Chapter 1: Who is a Workplace Narcissist?

Andrew J. DuBrin

Subjects: business and management, organisational behaviour, politics and public policy, leadership


A person’s chances for success in the workplace increase when he or she has high self-confidence and self-esteem. Yet some people push these characteristics so far that they annoy and irritate many work associates. Narcissism is an extremely positive and inflated view of the self combined with limited empathy for others. The term narcissism derives from a Greek myth that has been widely circulated. Narcissus was the unusually handsome son of a minor god. His handsomeness prompted the nymphs who lived in woods where he hunted to fall in love with him, but Narcissus shunned them all. One of the shunned maidens prayed that Narcissus would at some time feel what it was like to love, and not have that love returned. An avenging goddess heard and granted the prayer. One day, shortly thereafter, when Narcissus was out hunting he came upon a clear fountain with water that resembled silver. As he bent down to drink some fountain water, Narcissus saw his own image in the water. Concluding that the image was a beautiful water spirit living in the water, Narcissus fell in love with himself. When Narcissus attempted to reach in the water and embrace the image, it dispersed but returned when the water was calm again. Narcissus was transfixed with the image, and could not tear himself away. Little by little, Narcissus lost his color, vitality, and the handsomeness that had previously charmed the nymphs. Eventually Narcissus pined away and died. The nymphs mourned for Narcissus, and wanted...

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