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Honors Thesis Archive

Author Kathleen Snead
Title Toxic Leadership: Sour Milk Rising to the Top
Department Psychology
Advisor Jeffrey Brookings
Year 2010
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (243 KB)
At the author's request, an electronic copy of this thesis is only available to on-campus users.
Abstract The "Dark Triad" is composed of three malevolent and offensive, though nonpathological personality traits: subclinical narcissism, Machiavellianism, and subclinical psychopathy. The "toxic triangle" describes the intersection of bad leadership, susceptible followership and certain environmental factors (Padilla, Hogan & Kaiser, 2007). This study evaluated leader emergence in relation to the Dark Triad, controlling for the Big Five personality constructs. A sample of 120 Wittenberg University students completed a battery of questionnaires assessing each Dark Triad and Big Five trait. Participants then collaborated with three other students on a task and subsequently answered questions about the group's leadership. The Dark Triad personality traits did not contribute significantly to prediction of leader emergence. Narcissism and the psychopathy construct, Fearless Dominance, were positively intercorrelated, as were Machiavellianism and the other psychopathy construct, Impulsive Antisociality. However, both narcissism and Fearless Dominance were uncorrelated with Machiavellianism and Impulsive Antisociality, suggesting that the four scales define two distinct factors.

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