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Narcissism in Organizations: Definition, Characteristics & Effects on the Workplace

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  • 0:05 Definition of Narcissism
  • 1:11 Narcissistic Characteristics
  • 4:33 How Narcissism Affects…
  • 5:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Narcissism in organizations can be very detrimental to corporate success. There are nine associated characteristics for which companies can screen potential employees in order to prevent a narcissist from being hired.

Definition of Narcissism

Junk Toys has a huge problem. The company has been taken over by narcissistic employees. This is hurting company morale and profits. Many of the company's workers are exhibiting an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration or adulation and a lack of empathy. This has led to poor communication, constant fights, poor profits and a loss of market share. The CEO has called in a highly qualified team to rid the company of narcissistic behavior. He has hired the Narcissism Busters. They will identify any narcissistic behavior and clean out the negative traits. Go Narcissism Busters!

The first task for the Narcissism Busters is to identify who their targets are in the company. They need to uncover the employees who are acting in a narcissistic manner and hurting corporate profit and culture. Who should the NB team target? There are some key traits that they can look for to see who they need to eliminate.

Narcissistic Characteristics

To fully understand and identify a narcissistic employee, the NB team must be able to recognize the nine associated characteristics:

  1. An exaggerated sense of one's own abilities and achievements: The NB team has eliminated Accountant Jim. He always takes over projects that he has no training or skill in and ends up getting the company in trouble with the IRS.
  2. A constant need for attention, affirmation and praise: The NB team discovered Administrator Laura constantly complaining to her boss that she is never recognized for her hard work. Her coworkers give much more effort during the workday and are tired of hearing her whining. She is hurting the department's morale.
  3. A belief that he or she is unique or 'special' and should only associate with other people of the same status: Special Counsel Randy will not have lunch with any other employees in the company and has bought an expensive desk with corporate money to show the rest of the company his worth. Since he's not a team player, the NB team quickly tired of his escapades and packed him up as well.
  4. Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power: Marketing Manager Jill is never satisfied with her position or salary. She harps on and on and on about how she should be the CEO of the company. She wastes much of her day fantasizing about moving into the corner office. This was any easy target for the NB team.
  5. Exploiting other people for personal gain: Finance Manager Rick always takes credit for his subordinates' accomplishments. He goes golfing while they work extra hours so he looks good to his boss.
  6. A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment: The NB team quickly identified the vice president of operations as a narcissist. She's been trying to force the board of directors to set up her office with a personal spa. She feels that she alone deserves special treatment and wants extras that other managers and vice presidents do not request. She was eliminated by the team as well.
  7. A preoccupation with power or success: Recent hire Amanda spends all her time planning how to get ahead and take over the advertising department. She purposely sabotages coworkers' projects to make herself look better. Amanda feels that anything is allowable if it brings her a promotion. The NB team promoted her directly to the unemployment line today.
  8. Feeling envious of others or believing that others are envious of him or her: Front Desk Manager Stan is jealous of his coworkers. He spends most of his time being negative or insulting employees. Even customers have been on the biting end of his sarcastic tongue. He was replaced by the NB team with an employee who showed politeness and friendliness to all workers.
  9. A lack of empathy for others: Employee Susan never helps out any of her coworkers. One of her coworkers asked Susan to switch a shift so she could take her daughter to the doctor. Susan felt that was a ridiculous request and refused. Susan never seems to care if coworkers run into difficulty or need assistance. The NB team feels that her lack of empathy requires an immediate dismissal.

How Narcissism Affects Business

Employees who have narcissistic behavior problems make it very difficult for coworkers to work with them. They cannot see other viewpoints and can't handle criticism. This can make for an extremely difficult work environment. Those employees who have limited narcissistic traits can be helped by executive coaches, who help rebuild their personality structure.

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