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Narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, and it is included in the Dark Triad with Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Narcissism relates to many detrimental outcomes, but a growing stream of research has investigated beneficial outcomes of the Dark Triad. The authors continue this stream of research by assessing the relation of narcissism with social courage behaviors, which are prosocial actions with personal social risks. The authors propose that this relation is mediated by self-deceptive enhancement and subjective invulnerability and also test these relations while including the other Dark Triad dimensions.Design/methodology/approachThe authors perform two survey studies to investigate our research questions. The first utilizes a cross-sectional approach, whereas the second utilizes a time-separated approach.FindingsThe results of this study show that narcissism has an indirect effect on social courage via both mediators, and it also produced a significant direct effect. Machiavellianism and psychopathy did not produce any reliable effects on social courage – whether direct or indirect.Practical implicationsThe authors support that a “dark” trait relates to a “bright” outcome, but also that a bright outcome relates to a dark trait. These findings link the narcissism and social courage to novel theoretical frameworks, such as those associated with ethical decision making and self-regulation, which opens many directions for future research on both constructs.Originality/valueThe current article addresses two recent calls for novel research: the study of courage as well as positive outcomes of negative traits. It also adds much-needed nuance to current research on narcissism and courage.
Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 22, 2022
Keywords: Courage; Social courage; Values; Virtues; Narcissism; Machiavellianism; Psychopathy; Dark Triad
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