Why are narcissists so antagonistic

Narcissism in professional life. What influence does a narcissistic personality disorder have on professional success?

Table of Contents


List of abbreviations

List of tables

List of figures

1 Introduction
1.1 Problem and objective

2 narcissism
2.1 Self-concept
2.2 Definition and demarcation
2.3 Narcissism as a personality construct
2.4 Measurement of Narcissistic Personality Traits
2.5 Narcissism and Power

3 professional success
3.1 Definition and demarcation
3.2 Delimitation of the success criteria
3.3 Professional success and personality traits

4 Narcissism and Professional Success
4.1 Destructive Narcissism
4.2 Productive Narcissism

5 investigation methodology
5.1 Central question
5.2 Formation of hypotheses

6 measuring instruments
6.1 Description of the questionnaire
6.2 NPI-15
6.3 Evaluation methodology

7 Descriptive Statistics
7.1 Description of the sample

8 Data evaluation
8.1 Hypothesis 1
8.2 Hypothesis 2
8.3 Hypothesis 3
8.4 Hypothesis 4
8.5 Hypothesis 5
8.6 Hypothesis 6
8.7 Hypothesis 7

9 Interpretation of the results

10 criticism

11 Recommended action


Appendix A (questionnaire)


Against the background of a constantly changing society owed to competition and the increased demands in the professional context, the relevance of professional success in relation to the influence of personality is increasingly considered. Here, the personality trait narcissism is increasingly in the focus of attention, although only a few studies exist in this regard due to the high level of complexity. In order to contribute to the existing research gap, this thesis examines the influence of narcissistic personality traits on professional success, differentiated into subjective and objective measures of success. The testing is carried out with the help of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), which records the narcissistic characteristics of the 282 test subjects on a subclinical level. The results of the study show significantly moderate connections between narcissism and satisfaction as a subjective measure of success. Contrary to expectations, a significant correlation with the objective success category income could not be confirmed, nevertheless significant moderate correlations between narcissism and the hierarchical position could be found. The results found thus show that narcissistic personality traits can promote success, even if high narcissistic expressions could not be determined in the highest achievable level, but in the 75th quartile. From this it can be deduced that narcissism certainly favors success, but does not maintain it in the long term and negative effects can be expected over a longer period of time. As expected, there was also a stronger connection between narcissism and subjective assessment, which is attributed to narcissistic overestimation. With reference to the found correlations with both positive and negative effects of narcissistic employees and executives, the question arises as to the consequences for the organizations that can be derived from this. To this end, an identification of narcissistic personalities is to be striven for and the promotion of positive characteristics as well as the avoidance of negative expressions initiated.

List of abbreviations

Figure not included in this excerpt

List of tables

Table 1: Absolute and relative frequencies of the hierarchy levels in the total sample

Table 2: Percentage frequencies of the sexes on the hierarchical levels

Table 3: Absolute and relative frequencies of educational qualifications in the overall sample

Table 4: Percentage frequencies of the sexes in relation to the level of education

Table 5: Frequency distribution of the satisfaction measures with regard to the gender distribution

Table 6: Absolute and relative frequencies of the income groups in the total sample

Table 7: Percentage frequencies of the sexes in relation to the income group

Table 8: Statistical representation of the descriptive features for the narcissistic subscale scores

Table 9: Statistical representation of the descriptive features for the narcissistic characteristics in the income groups

Table 10: Absolute and relative frequencies of the income groups within the high narcissistic expression

Table 11: Absolute and relative frequencies of the hierarchical levels within the high narcissistic expression

Table 12: Correlative relationship between narcissism and objective professional success

Table 13: Correlative relationship between narcissism and subjective professional success

Table 14: Correlative relationship between objective and subjective professional success

Table 15: Correlative relationship between objective professional success and the narcissistic subscales

Table 16: Correlative relationship between the hierarchical levels and the narcissistic subscales

Table 17: Differences in mean values ​​of the narcissistic characteristics within the hierarchy levels

List of figures

Figure 1. Normal self-esteem regulation

Figure 2. Example of question 16 from the questionnaire

Figure 3. Frequency distribution of narcissistic manifestations

Figure 4. Box plot showing narcissism scores

Figure 5. Graphical representation of the narcissistic characteristics in the age intervals

Figure 6. Graphical representation of the narcissistic characteristics in the income intervals

Figure 7. Graphical representation of the narcissistic characteristics in the satisfaction levels

Figure 8. Median comparison of the managerial and administrative level

Figure 9. Graphical representation of the variables income and satisfaction

Figure 10. Median comparison of narcissistic characteristics within the gender groups

1 Introduction

People strive for increased self-esteem, both professionally and privately. If your own performance is assessed in comparison to others, you tend to rate yourself higher than the comparison group in your own assessment. In order to accept one's own ego as a concept, a healthy amount of overconfidence is to be seen as normal in psychology and is not understood as a personality trait. If the subjective perception of one's own abilities and competencies exceeds this healthy level, there is a personality disorder that Freud described as narcissism as early as 1914 (Asendorpf, 2011). An overestimation of one's own person is initially considered socially undesirable. However, taking into account the latest publications, the existence of narcissistic personality traits is equated with the achievement of a leadership position (Süddeutsche.de, 2017; Zeit.de, 2015). It is conveyed that there is a connection between hierarchical level and thus professional success and narcissism, which has not yet been clearly confirmed. In psychology, the term narcissism belongs to the dark triad of personality and is therefore fraught with negative associations that can evoke bad personality traits (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). In addition to Machiavellianism and psychopathy, narcissism is increasingly viewed as a pillar of the dark triad in the literature. In addition to increased self-love, narcissists are also assigned characteristics such as charisma and extraversion, which can promote their personal career. In leadership psychology, too, a certain degree of narcissistic behavior in executives is rated as positive (Spiegel.de, 2014). The topic of narcissism is gaining acceptance in today's society, not least due to the influence of the media, the educational style and social networks, which can evoke narcissistic properties in a large part of the population (Csef, 2015). Narcissism as such can occur both as a clinical personality disorder, but also in the subclinical area. This work relates to the subclinical area of ​​personality and its influence on professional success in an organizational context.

1.1 Problem and objective

The aim of this work is to find out whether narcissistic personality traits have an influence on professional success. Both the objective and the subjective assessment of employees and executives are included in the investigation. Furthermore, the factors age and gender are examined in relation to whether a narcissistic personality can develop and increase in severity with age. It is assumed that people with narcissistic traits subjectively value professional success higher. A positive relationship between narcissism and the objective criterion of gross annual income is also expected. Due to the overestimation of self that is typical of narcissists, a stronger connection between narcissism and subjective professional success is assumed in contrast to the objective success factors. In addition, gender-specific differences and differentiated educational backgrounds are examined. A recommendation for action is made based on the test results.

For better readability, personal designations that refer to women and men at the same time are generally only given in the masculine form in this work. However, this is in no way intended to express gender discrimination or a violation of the principle of equality.

2 narcissism

2.1 Self-concept

In order to clarify the theories of narcissism in the following and to explain the spectrum of narcissism, the terms ego, id, super-ego and self must be defined, which are an important part of psychoanalysis and a basic prerequisite for understanding the processes in the human soul. In 1923 Freud developed the structural model of the psyche, in which the ego, id and superego form the instances of the human psyche. In Freud's model, the id is to be viewed as an unconscious level and includes drives, needs and affects that influence human behavior. Because of this, the id plays a central role in the Oedipus complex. The ego shapes the idea of ​​one's own person (the self-image) and represents conscious perception, mediating between the id, the superego and the environment. Social norms and values, on the other hand, are anchored in the superego. The superego is largely unconscious and the carrier of the ego ideal (Freud, 1923). In Freud's view, man gives up his idealization of the ego ideal in order to direct his energy onto an object which is described as the mass ideal. In contrast, in people with a narcissistic personality, the ego is not separated from the ego ideal (Freud, 2014). The self is the soul of the person who, according to Taylor, has a radical reflexivity and thus has the ability to critically review one's own attitudes and ways of thinking (Taylor, 1995). The self has a special status in personality psychology, as it represents the subjective self-image of oneself, satisfaction and one's own well-being. The personality can therefore be defined as follows: "The personality of a person is understood to mean the entirety of his personality traits: the individual peculiarities in the physical appearance and in the regularities of behavior and experience" (quoted by Asendorpf & Neyer, 2012a, p.12) . The self-concept, which expresses the personality, arises from the interaction of one's own perception, memories and the reflection from the social environment. Accordingly, every person tends to act to see himself as one believes or expects to be seen by others. Both personal perception and social reflection can distort the self-concept. The perception can be influenced by the individual motivational incentives, which means that it is easier to perceive something that you want to perceive. Probably the highest motive is to increase self-worth. To achieve this motive, information about oneself is so distorted that it increases self-esteem. This kind of overestimation of one's own self-worth is usually healthy, but should not go beyond the normal range (Asendorpf & Neyer, 2012b). In this thesis, the description of behavior is based exclusively on dispositions, not on the current, observable behavior pattern. Dispositions are properties of behavior that are stable over time and are not directly observable. The focus of this work relates to the personality trait narcissism, which is also not an exclusively mood-dependent trait, but is understood as a behavioral disposition (Asendorpf & Neyer, 2012a).

2.2 Definition and demarcation

The term narcissism was derived from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who behaved as magnanimous and self-loving, similar to today's understanding of narcissism. Narcissus scorned a woman's love and was punished by the goddess of vengeance with insatiable self-love. He fell in love with his own reflection in the water, which seemed unreachable. Because of this inaccessibility, Narcissus died. The myth refers to the narcissist's typical interpretation of a lack of love and self-centeredness (Maaz, 2014a). The general understanding of the narcissistic personality comes from everyday psychology. However, the personality of a person cannot be defined by simple observable dispositions, but develops in early childhood by going through the oral, anal and phallic phases. The individual processing of the phases has a decisive influence on the development of the personality (Asendorpf & Neyer, 2012a). The term narcissism was coined by Freud in 1914, who differentiated it into primary and secondary narcissism. Primary narcissism in infancy, in which there is no distinction between the self and the environment, can be defined as normal. In the case of secondary narcissism, Freud describes in his work the withdrawal of the libido from the environment back to its own ego and explains this process as a libidonic cathexis of the own ego - in short, self-love (Frommknecht-Hitzler, 1994). Altmeyer, on the other hand, understands narcissism to mean that it arises in an "intermediate space" and mediates between subject and object. In his view, narcissism does not exist without an object (Altmeyer, 2000). “Narcissism is by no means without an object - according to my position represented here - but mediates between self and object under the unconscious theme of recognition” (quoted by Altmeyer, 2000, p. 173). The lexicon of psychology - called spectrum for short - explains the term in general as "a person who is exclusively related to himself and who is turned towards himself". In general, narcissism is understood to mean “the concentration of emotional interest on the self” (Resch & Möhler, 2006). Narcissism as such is only one of numerous personality traits, but is strongly related to social behavior and thus represents a link between one's own assessment and social behavior (Bierhoff & Frey, 2016). In the psychoanalytic development of narcissism, the research of Kernberg and Kohut, among other things, has shaped today's understanding of the narcissistic personality. Kohut explained Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPS) using his theory of self-psychology, in which the development of a narcissistic personality occurs independently of objects. The NPS stems from the fixation on the early childhood great self, the objects only existing to maintain and affirm that great self. The objects here are narcissistic and are called self-objects according to Kohut. Self-psychology only considers the libidinally charged size self and the dimensions anger and aggression are not considered relevant. Kernberg, on the other hand, includes both self and object representations in his theory. The self is defined as the experience basis of the ego, which in Kernberg's work is also shaped by differences in early childhood. A disturbed self only goes hand in hand with a disruption of object relationships, whereby the great self is guided by an instinctual conflict which, contrary to Kohut's view, can contain aggressions and generate defense mechanisms such as the devaluation of others that impair the function of the ego. Taking into account the controversy of both psychoanalysts, this work is based on Kernberg's approach, which also includes object relationships (Lemche, 1990).

2.2.1 Normal narcissism

A classification of the term narcissism can be made from normal to pathological, although narcissism has long been viewed as a purely pathological disorder. Since the 1970s, however, the term has also been used increasingly to describe healthy people with correspondingly narcissistic characteristics in their personality. Narcissism in healthy people is therefore not a personality disorder, but is located in the area of ​​personality variables (Lammers, 2015). Normal narcissism is based on a normal self-structure and is described by Kernberg 1978 in this form based on the object relationship theory as a “libido-like cathexis of the normally integrated self” (quoted from Kernberg, 1978b, p. 360).In his subsequent research, Kernberg sticks to his definition, but adds that the self is a structure that is occupied with the libido and aggressions. The prerequisite for a normally cathected self is therefore the integration of good and bad self-conceptions into a realistic self-concept, which means that love and hate must exist equally as components for the ability of normal love (Kernberg, 1988). Furthermore, with narcissism in normal expression, a distinction is made between real behavior and the ideal, which means that a realistic assessment of the external objects can be made (Kernberg, 2006b).

Figure not included in this excerpt

Figure 1. Normal self-esteem regulation

(Kernberg, 2006b, p. 572)

The narcissistic personality with its high level of self-esteem leads to enormous motivation to achieve and at the same time to psychological well-being through one's own self-worth. In the literature, both facets of narcissism are treated separately from one another. “Whether a mild form of narcissism is adaptive or maladaptive is discussed contradictingly” (quoted by Lammers, Vater, Roepke, 2013, p. 881). According to some authors, the turn from normal narcissism to NPS is to be regarded as fluid (Kleinhenz, 2016), others postulate that it is unclear whether both facets merge or represent their own personality constructs (Spangenberg, Romppel, Bormann, Hofmeister, Brähler & Strauss, 2013). In contrast to pathological narcissism, the normal type is usually open and characterized by grandiosity. In this context, grandiosity includes all typical characteristics of the personality variable, such as feelings of omnipotence, dominant behavior and feelings of superiority. Also contrary to pathological narcissism, the grandiose form appears self-confident and intolerant, whereby the intolerance is based on a lack of modesty. Normal grandiose traits also correlate positively with social skill, despite the antisocial behavioral patterns (Bierhoff & Frey, 2016).

2.2.2 Pathological Narcissism

When we speak of pathological narcissism, we mean a personality disorder which, in addition to pathological self- and object love, is also based on a pathological superego (Kernberg, 2006a). In contrast to normal narcissism, the real one merges with the ideal self and object representations (Kernberg, 2006b). Pathological narcissism understands itself as a "libidonic cathexis of pathological magnitude self" (quoted from Kernberg, 1978a, p.21) and can appear as excessive self-love or lack of self-love. These facets are described as size self and size small and arise from a disorder of self-esteem (Maaz, 2014b). The great self includes the real self, the ideal self and the ideal object conceptions. In pathological narcissism, the libidonic cathexis refers not only to objects, but to the cathexis of self-structure. Furthermore, Kernberg does not determine the origin of pathological narcissism from the earlier development, but describes a pathological development of the self through the consequence of a pathological ego and super-ego development. The spectrum of pathological narcissism can be divided into two forms. On the one hand, as a narcissistic object choice according to Freud, in which the self identifies itself pathologically with an object and the function of self and object is exchanged and, on the other hand, centered around a pathological magnitude self, as a real narcissistic personality. The narcissistic personality is usually only revealed during a diagnostic examination and can hardly be determined superficially as a disorder. According to Kernberg (2006b), characteristics of this personality disorder can be assigned to the following points, among others:

- Interaction with other people manifests itself in extreme self-centeredness
- Strong need for love and admiration
- Contradiction from feelings of inferiority and a strong self-concept
- Lack of empathy
- Mistrust
- Unconscious envy
- idealization of admirers and contempt for others

According to Dammann, other typical pathologies are also certain “addictive tendencies”, “stronger mood swings”, “cynicism” and “fits of anger” (quoted from Dammann, 2012, p. 17). In addition, there is a feeling of inner emptiness and the exploitation of others for one's own needs. Kernberg also describes the development of pathological narcissism as a change in libidonic and aggressive drive derivatives. Narcissistic personality structures can be distinguished in terms of their form, to what extent aggression was injected into the pathological magnitude self. In other words, the extent to which the self is restricted to primitive object relationships. The stages of development are initially divided into the splitting off of aggressively charged object relationships from the libidinally charged ones and, in the further course, into their condensation with sexual drive derivatives. The last dimensional level is the direct occupation with aggressions by the pathological magnitude self as a narcissistic character structure (Kernberg, 1988). Pathological narcissism is also characterized by a persistent fear of loss due to the lack of self-love experienced, which is seen as the source of the narcissistic disorder. There is usually no feeling of satisfaction or relaxation (Maaz, 2014b). The pathological narcissist has no interest in other people. The stronger the NPS, the less the narcissist craves intimacy. A dichotomy arises between rejection and oppression of others and the simultaneous benefit relationship of the followers for the necessary self-reflection. The regulation of the self-image is functionally guided by a compensation of negative emotions. Pathological narcissism is not to be assumed exclusively in a pronounced grandiosity, but much more in the impaired function of self-esteem regulation. Since it is a double regulation in the pathological form, grandiose and also vulnerable states are possible in the self, which in severe NPS show characteristics such as negative affectivity, closedness, antagonism, disinhibition and psychoticism. In addition, other so-called comorbid diseases can be identified in the course of the NPS. These include other personality disorders, such as boderline disorder, affective disorders or anxiety disorders (Lammers & Doering, 2018). Pathological narcissism as a personality dimension is theoretically to be viewed as hidden and characterized by vulnerability. In contrast to the grandiose normal type, vulnerable narcissists are also considered intolerant, but also highly neurotic, which is caused by mistrust (Bierhoff & Frey, 2016).

2.3 Narcissism as a personality construct

Narcissism as a personality construct is located as a pillar of the dark triad next to Machiavellism and pychopathy. One of the characteristics of psychopaths is their ruthlessness. The Machiavellian is known to achieve his goals through manipulative behavior. The three dimensions are viewed independently of one another, but can overlap, with narcissism being rated as the most positive dimension of the dark triad (Paulhus & Williams, 2002; Paulhus & Jones, 2013). The core of all facets is the intolerance, "This intolerance can be described from a lack of modesty and willingness to help as well as a high degree of aggressiveness, expressions of anger and interpersonal coldness (hence dark triad)" (quoted by Küfner, Dufner & Back, 2014, p.2 ). The narcissist is characterized by megalomania and the permanent reference to himself as well as a certain career goal. In addition, people with these personality traits surround themselves with yes-sayers and admirers in order to maintain and confirm their own self-image. A narcissist creates his own reality through this consciously created environment and loses real contact with his environment (Wirth, 2011b). Narcissism is in parts equated with egoism, since the libidonic energy is directed exclusively at the narcissistic person himself. Because of this association, the term narcissism is to be viewed as derogatory in society and is understood as an antisocial characteristic (Wirth, 2011a). In order to establish a connection between narcissism and certain personality traits, the personality spectrum must be determined, which can be recorded using various measuring instruments. As a renowned personality test, the Big Five is also used as a measuring instrument of human personality, which examines the dimensions of extraversion, conscientiousness, tolerance, neuroticism and openness. Positive connections can be found between extraversion and narcissism. In contrast, there are negative connections between neuroticism and narcissism. A connection between intelligence and narcissism can only be seen weakly, although there is a high connection between narcissism and the assessment of competence. It is typical of the narcissistic personality that neither value is placed on achieving a role model nor that other people like you. Only the admiration of others for one's own self-portrayal is relevant, which is particularly characterized by a low level of need for intimacy (Schütz, Bernd & Sellin, 2004).

2.4 Measurement of Narcissistic Personality Traits

In order to make the narcissistic personality measurable, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is developing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a classification system for psychological diseases. According to the criteria of the DSM-IV (1994) and DSM-V (2013) developed by APA, at least five of the following nine points must be fulfilled in order to be able to diagnose a narcissistic personality:

1. Great feeling of your own importance
2. Captured by fantasies of unlimited success, energy, brilliance, beauty, ideal love
3. Feeling of uniqueness and believes to be understood only by unique people or institutions with high status and to be able to relate only with them.
4. Needs excessive admiration
5. High demands / expectations (e.g. special treatment)
6. Interpersonal exploitative behavior (needs others for own goals)
7. Lack of empathy
8. Is often jealous of others or believes others are jealous of him
9. Shows arrogant and haughty behavior or attitudes

(Quoted from American Psychiatric Association, p. 918, 2018). According to Dammann, criticism of the DMS was expressed in various ways. Narcissistic properties such as instability on an emotional level, in the form of sensitivity, are not shown in the DMS. Furthermore, there are disagreements as to whether the subjects answered truthfully with regard to validity and reliability, since the interviews only ask about anti-social properties (Dammann, 2012). Kernberg also criticizes the DMS and ultimately complements the facets of the NPS in visible and covert behavior patterns. It is interesting to compare the two forms in order to understand the range of the NPS in combination. Self-sufficiency on the visible side is contrasted, for example, with a form of feelings of inferiority. Apparently ambitious goals have a covert effect on the narcissist as absolute aimlessness, and broad moral concepts actually do not meet any ethical ideas. Even the impressive level of knowledge carried outwards is internally exchanged for forgetfulness and limited learning ability. Because of this obvious outward profile, narcissists are ascribed qualities that are actually nonexistent (Kernberg, 1996). Raskin & Terry developed the Narcissistic Personaliy Invcentory (NPI) at the time to capture narcissistic personality traits outside the clinical spectrum. The NPI comprises 40 items, which were divided into seven subscales (sense of authority, self-sufficiency, sense of superiority, boasting, exploitation, vanity, and pretension) (Raskin & Terry, 1988). Schütz et al. (2004) developed the NPI-15, a short scale for narcissistic personality traits with 15 items, which is also used in this work. While the DMS measures open narcissism, there are also measurement methods that capture both facets of narcissistic personalities. For this purpose, the NARQ (Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionaire) is used as a psychological measuring instrument, which contains the subscales admiration and rivalry rivalry.

These subscales represent overt and covert narcissism. Another narcissistic test instrument is the HSNS (Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale) by Hendrick and Cheek from 1997 to measure vulnerable narcissism in covert form (Bierhoff & Frey, 2016).

2.5 Narcissism and Power

The relationship between narcissism and leadership has received increasing attention in the past. In this work, however, the influence should not only be examined in a limited way to the executives, but rather should be directed towards the general expression. In order to present the previous findings from research and to make a suitable recommendation for action, the leadership model is explained in more detail below. The question arises as to why narcissists are suspected to be in high hierarchical positions. Narpoleon, who had himself painted in 1806 as the figure of the ancient deity Jupiter to demonstrate his power, was an example of the interplay between narcissism and power. The Emperor of the French, as Narpoleon was called by his people, sought power over society for the sake of power. From a psychological point of view, the power component has an almost unmanageable attraction to narcissistic personalities, who at the same time compensate for doubts and feelings of inferiority (Wirth, 2011b). In terms of the organizational context, power is associated with attaining a leadership position. The leadership style is influenced by the personality and reflects the character. There are six psychodynamic leadership styles to be distinguished (compulsive, narcissistic, histrionic, paranoid, schizoid and dependent-depressive), whereby this work focuses on the narcissistic leader, who is classified as decisive and power-oriented (Lohmer, Albrecht, Engelberg & Giernalczyk, 2017 ). Often times, the failure of narcissistic personalities is dangerous and can lead to destructive behavior. The narcissist responds to his apparent failure with anger and aggression, which can have a negative impact on the organization (Csef, 2015). Narcissistic personalities strive for high positions because, on the one hand, they have ambition that is driven by an insatiable need for recognition and, on the other hand, to be able to present the results or achievements of others as personal contribution. The pursuit of leadership lives from the charisma of the narcissistic leader, which was usually developed out of necessity in order to receive affection. Narcissistic leaders develop a sense of unlimited power. This feeling is not immediately available to real power. Here again the discrepancy between ideal and real self-image becomes visible (Dammann, 2009). Since the pursuit of one's own interests is in the foreground for a narcissist, narcissistic leadership goes hand in hand with poor employee orientation. Studies show that narcissists can have positive influences on employee behavior if the narcissistic personality is characterized by humility. Humility is defined as respectful behavior and restraint, which can be learned and acts as a link between motivating behavior and narcissistic characteristics. Which situational conditions are necessary and for which employee this type of leadership works has not yet been investigated (Bildat & Martin, 2018). The failure of narcissistic managers has its origins in a lack of social skills and self-control. On the other hand, feedback from both sides can be used as a measure to create a balance. The real danger, however, lies in the diagnosis and identification of managers with impaired personality profiles and in the differentiation from normal ambition and assertiveness (Hossiep & Ringelband, 2014). The stronger the narcissistic expression, the more suitable the person is judged on the first impression and the more conflictual the relationship becomes over the course of time in which the narcissist is appointed as a manager. For companies, leadership and the management function is not only relevant for internal aspects, but can also be used as a competitive advantage over other companies. “Good leadership is defined as setting goals - and realizing them in terms of long-term collective success” (quoted by Blickle, 2015, p.231). Narcissists interpret their goal formation in the direction of maintaining power and thus have the opposite track record (Blickle, 2015). On the other hand, leadership is largely influenced by charisma.This is present both in the bright transformational leadership, which is controlled in its mode of action by a bright charisma, and in the dark charismatic effect (narcissism). Accordingly, managers with dark personality traits are able to create a motivational field of activity based on their charisma (Furtner, 2016). As already presented at the beginning of this chapter, according to Hossiep and Ringelband (2014), narcissistic personalities can usually be found in upper management. This aspect raises the question of whether narcissistic personality traits can be strengthened by taking power. In order to meet the requirements for positions of responsibility, narcissistic traits are helpful in coping with these expectations. Narcissistic traits can be useful to the job holder in order to fulfill unpleasant tasks in a role-compliant manner. Furthermore, it is possible that the assigned expectations of the role of the job holder influence the behavior, which is changed by the situation and the necessarily changed self-concept. This effect is known as the priming impulse, which encourages dominant behavior through the addition of power. The priming impulse is a situational stimulus that increases the probability of a certain behavior occurring ”(quoted by Hossiep & Ringelband, 2014, p. 24).

3 professional success

3.1 Definition and demarcation

A successful professional life is an essential characteristic of self-fulfillment and satisfaction in society, which every person strives for. There is currently no uniform definition of professional success used in the literature. In practice, this is defined adapted to the operationalization used in the investigation and can have various reference criteria. Despite the lack of a uniform definition of terms, the definitions are similar in that professional success becomes more relevant (Dette, Abele & Renner, 2004). Gasteiger (2014) defines professional success based on Judge, Cable, Boudreau & Bretz as follows: "Professional success refers to desirable results in professional activity that a person achieves in the course of their career" (cited from p. 4). Mayrhofer, Meyer & Steyrer equate the term professional success with career success and emphasize that this can be conceptualized differently, objectively and subjectively. “Careers can be understood very generally as a sequence of positions in a social space” (quoted from Mayrhofer et al., 2005a, p.28). According to this definition, success does not necessarily have to go hand in hand with advancement to the management floor. Professional success can be understood to mean satisfaction with one's own performance, career success as an overall variable and also an individual work success. Dette refers to the English term "career", which in the German translation can mean career and career and thus allows different interpretations. In view of this, the career path is recommended as a term that represents the professional biography including professional development (Dette et al., 2004). Influences on career and success result from complex structures, which are referred to, for example, according to Myrhofer (2005a) as the shift model. At the core of the model is career success, which is enhanced by personality, the context of origin and work and the social and cultural background as well as the global environment. According to the model, each of the layers influences the career in terms of the evaluation of success. The origin includes the social contacts and the family background, while the work context represents the general work processes and the labor market. Social influences can, among other things, represent the role assignment of men and women in the cultural space of the person. However, success cannot only be explained on the basis of the factors already mentioned, but also requires luck above all (Mayrhofer et al., 2005a). In addition to the shift model, the literature also speaks of professional phases that specify the professional path and thus also professional success as a theoretical model. The phases contribute to the development of the self-concept and influence the assessment of success. Spurk et al. (2013b) subdivide the five phases according to age, whereby initially (up to 14 years of age) a person's adolescence is the first phase. Similar to the shift model presented in advance, family backgrounds will also serve as an influence for the further journey. This is followed by an exploration or discovery phase, in which the foundation stone for the later career is laid. In the third phase, the definition of a specific area takes place, which is followed by consolidation. At the beginning of the retirement age (from 65 years of age), the last stage is reached, in which a professional downsizing takes place. Successful completion of these phases acts as a basis and guide for professional success (Spurk et al., 2013b). With regard to the assignment of professional success, the gender classification has a significant influence on the job-related self-concept and the role to be performed. The self-concept (internal perspective view) includes gender and is responsible for the self-presentation to the outside world. The biological gender affiliation (external perspective) influences the consideration of the sexes with regard to the possibly differentiated treatment of the categories male / female. With the integrated role assignments, gender regulates individual attitudes and objectives so that different characteristics and concepts can be assigned to the respective category. Both the internal perspective and the external perspective have an impact on gender and occupational processes, including all occupational-specific variables. The role assignment therefore leads to different ideas and needs for professional success, so that an examination of professional success should not be carried out by excluding gender (Abele, 2002).

3.1.1 Importance of professional success

First of all, the question arises as to what significance success, and especially professional success, has in today's society. If one looks at the development and relevance of the success criteria, there is a strong twist in the understanding of the terminology. While after Lasch's success at the turn of the 19th century, it was all about one's own well-being and performance had not yet been compared with others, the trend at the turn of the century shifted to the will to win and the struggle for recognition, which was mainly due to increasing competition. The relevance of success is already shaped in early childhood development and society has rethought. The greed for wealth and the exploitation of others for the will to succeed is accepted and no longer viewed as immoral and reprehensible. Furthermore, society has changed in such a way that successful content is not only considered successful and the pure content has lost its relevance. The image of the job holder is gaining in importance. It is therefore more important to appear successful to the outside world than to have actually performed. "Nothing is as successful as the appearance of success" (quoted by Lasch, p.47). With this in mind, professional success needs to be redefined in terms of narcissistic personality traits (Lasch, 1980). Professional success also has an influence on life satisfaction, whereby the subjective success is decisive here (Dette, 2005; p.170). According to Neckel (2014), success has a different status in society today and represents a central category in the competitive battle. Since it no longer seems relevant how the result (the performance) comes about, but the orientation is that only the result When the focus is on, actions and behaviors are also changed. Successes are almost exclusively rated as successful if they are particularly conspicuous and attract as much attention as possible. In order to withstand the competition, the aim of the company has become a profile towards others in order to create one's own well-being. Earlier successes are considered noteworthy, which creates the pressure to have to prove themselves again and again. People therefore act according to the "winner-take-all economy" (quoted by Neckel, 2014, p. 41) in which one either a winner or a loser. Characterized by the pressure to perform, professional success not only leads to more life satisfaction (Dette, 2005), but is essential, since the personal position in working life can also have health consequences. As soon as professional needs remain unfulfilled, the quality of life and psyche suffer. Above all, people show negative effects with regard to their employment when no activity is carried out and thus unemployment exists. This can have health consequences such as depression, which can also occur as a consequence of a subjectively unfulfilled professional life (Spurk et al., 2013b). On average, German employees work around 45 years of their lives, which leads to the conclusion that professional success and the job have a high impact on well-being. This aspect is also gaining relevance in companies, since employees who do not have any professional success lose motivation, can experience health problems and sometimes give up. In order to keep the performance level stable and to strengthen the loyalty to the organization, the relevance of professional success is also pursued and supported more strongly in the company and taking into account personnel selection processes (Spurk, Volmer & Abele, 2013a).

3.2 Delimitation of the success criteria

Professional success can be differentiated into objective and subjective success criteria, whereby the objective success can have an influence on the subjective perception and still represents its own criterion. In order to assess these success criteria, a frame of reference is required, on the basis of which the characteristics are assessed. Both a self-reference and a third-party reference can be used for this purpose (Judge et al, 1995). The subjective evaluation is based on the subjective perception of the person about their career and satisfaction, whereas the objective evaluation covers concretely observable criteria. The definition of a success criterion, on the other hand, does not make any statement about whether the result is to be assessed as positive or negative. An examination of self-reference means that the person sets their own standards by which the extent of success is measured. When evaluating via a third-party reference, other people and their performance or social norms are used as a benchmark. The rating will vary depending on the basis on which the comparison is made. With the external reference, for example, the average salary in an industry or the salary of colleagues can be compared with one's own wages (Gasteiger, 2014). A possible evaluation method for the self-reference would be to examine, for example, the extent to which one's own skills can be used. The wages can also be assessed with the self-reference. The comparison is then based, for example, between the available means and the wishes as a benchmark (Mayrhofer et al., 2005a). Kramer (2009) divides the success criteria into four so-called "indicator groups", which are as follows: 1.) specific work performance 2.) job-related learning performance 3.) income measures and 4.) professional development (quoted from Kramer, 2009, p. 83) . Groups 1. and 2. contain the subjective criteria and 3. and 4. the objective success criteria. Overall, under the influence of the database from external and self-assessment as well as existing documents, 18 indicator groups can be formed, but these are hardly used in practice. Success is a constantly changing variable, which is why emotional stability is decisive for the evaluation of the success criteria, which is guided by satisfaction (Mayrhofer et al., 2005a; 2005b). Both the objective and the subjective success cannot be used as a substitute for the other measure of success, because it should be noted that "objective and subjective measures of work performance are susceptible to a threat to construct validity to very different degrees" (quoted by Bachmann , 2007, p. 100). Whether the measurement of subjective and objective success criteria is even possible is discussed in science. There is also a debate about the extent to which the measurement can be objective at all. Based on existing studies on professional success, it is assumed in this work that a differentiation of the success measures and a definition of these is possible and useful in order to classify the professional success factor (Bachmann, 2007).

3.2.1 Subjective criteria

Objectively measured high success can subjectively be assessed in the opposite way. Reasons for this can be the lack of diverse tasks and challenges or stagnating development with longer periods of employment. The achievement of objective criteria is therefore no guarantee of success for the achievement of individual wishes and goals. Since the assessment of subjective successes varies from person to person, a balanced work-life balance, health (Mayrhofer et al., 2005a), but also the workplace environment or individual experiences of success can be decisive for the assessment (Abele, 2002). Judge et. al (1995) also generally understand subjective success as individual performance success, but distinguish between job and career satisfaction as independent determinants. Which subjective criteria are examined usually depends on what is to be examined. Less stress and less stress can lead to high performance satisfaction. A positive performance rating also has an impact on actual performance. The assessment according to satisfaction is possible in all professional areas, which makes the subjective professional success comparable (Abele, 2011). In addition to the criteria of satisfaction with tasks, development and performance, according to Spurk and Volmer (2013), the assessment of one's own benefit or market value can also be queried. Here, the interviewees should, for example, give an estimate of how profitable you are for their company or in comparison to others. The subjective evaluation is also dependent on the individual goals and related orientations in professional life. The job can therefore be carried out on the basis of a perceived calling, a certain career goal or also generally because of the salary. Depending on the orientation, the satisfaction rating can vary. People who see a calling in their job tend to rate their level of satisfaction higher (Gasteiger, 2014). The subjective evaluation is basically based on experiences and the individual processing of the person, which is why subjective success depends heavily on the personality and personal needs. Not only the current career success, but also the career options can therefore have an influence on the evaluation. As a result, the subjective success is composed of unobservable preferences. The evaluation therefore depends on how important the career pursuit and its aspects such as material remuneration and the social work environment are for a person (Mayrhofer et al., 2005a). Subjective measures of success are more prone to erroneous assessments because the capacity to process information is cognitively limited. The evaluation can be distorted as a result, as not all information can be included. Furthermore, the subjective assessment results from comparisons, whereby it is unclear what the person evaluates as successful and with what the comparison takes place (Bachmann, 2007). The inclusion of subjective criteria can trigger a feedback effect, as the behavior can be positively influenced by satisfaction and thus further successes can be recorded. Because of this, the influence of satisfied employees on performance should be considered (Abele, 2011).

3.2.2 Objective criteria

"Objective professional success are the factual results that can be determined using external criteria" (quoted from Abele, 2011, p. 675). The measurement over the scope of work is meant here. In general, a person is objectively viewed as successful when a managerial function has been achieved or an equivalent position is held that is highly regarded by society, but also when an above-average salary is paid (Abele, 2011). The question arises as to which determinants can be used to empirically measure objective professional success. According to Kühne, criteria such as gross monthly income and professional position are objective indicators for recording professional success. In order to carry out a precise measurement, the inclusion of subjective criteria is to be regarded as useful (Kühne, 2009). The objective measurement of income is a common form of survey, but the number of hierarchical ascents or an expansion of the area of ​​responsibility can also be included in the measurement. In practice, however, measurement based on the number of promotions is difficult, as this is only possible with vacant positions. Furthermore, it is possible to measure the performance and compare it as a measure of success, which can be done, for example, by comparing the sales figures.In contrast to the subjective assessments, the objective criteria cannot be optimally compared because certain occupational groups do not allow a comparison. B. can only be used as an objective measure of success if it changes in a performance-oriented manner ”(quoted by Abele, 2011, p. 676). Collective agreements with public employers and self-employment make this comparison difficult (Spurk & Volmer, 2013; Abele, 2011). An objective assessment of success also allows for differences between the sexes, as women may have lower success indicators due to parenthood or part-time work (Abele, 2002). This gender split leads to women also subjectively assessing themselves lower due to the objectively low values ​​(Mayrhofer et al., 2005a). Furthermore, although the objective measures of success are less prone to errors than the subjective assessment, only subordinate constructs are usually recorded and none of the measures of success is suitable for being recorded individually, as not all aspects can be collected in one category. The measurement should therefore contain several success indicators (Bachmann, 2007). In this thesis, the objective success indicator gross income is collected and the hierarchy level is asked as a further indicator. According to Statista, the average annual income of a German employee in 2017 was € 34,285, with men showing significantly higher earnings than women. The gender pay gap is 21% in favor of men. A gradation according to the lower, middle and upper class is based on the median. The middle class of German workers earns around 80 - 150% of the median income and thus includes almost half of the German population (Welt, 2017).


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