How Do Leaders React When Treated Unfairly? Leader Narcissism and Self-Interested Behavior in Response to Unfair Treatment

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Abstract

In this article we employ a trait activation framework to examine how unfairness perceptions influence narcissistic leaders’ self-interested behavior, and the downstream implications of these effects for employees’ pro-social and voice behaviors. Specifically, we propose that narcissistic leaders are particularly likely to engage in self-interested behavior when they perceive that their organizations treat them unfairly, and that this self-interested behavior in turn decreases followers’ pro-social behavior and voice. Data from a multisource, time-lagged survey of 211 team leaders and 1,205 subordinates provided support for the hypothesized model. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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