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Leader narcissism and subordinate embeddedness: The moderating roles of moral attentiveness and behavioral integrity

Hakan Vahit Erkutlu (Department of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Nevşehir University, Nevşehir, Turkey)
Jamel Chafra (Department of Tourism and Hotel Management, Bilkent Universitesi, Ankara, Turkey)

EuroMed Journal of Business

ISSN: 1450-2194

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between leader narcissism (LN) and subordinate embeddedness as well as to test the moderating roles of moral attentiveness (MA) and behavioral integrity (BI) on that very relationship.


Data were collected from 19 five-star hotels in Turkey. The sample included 1,613 employees along with their first-line managers. The moderating roles of MA and BI on the LN and subordinate embeddedness relationship were tested using the moderated hierarchical regression analysis.


The moderated hierarchical regression analysis results revealed that there was a significant negative relationship between LN and subordinate embeddedness. In addition, this very relation was weaker when both MA and BI were higher than when they were lower.

Practical implications

This study showed that employee perception of LN decreased employee’s job embeddedness (JE). The study findings point out the importance of reinforcing an ethical context as well as the importance of leader selection. Specifically, in order to ensure that narcissistic leaders do not thrive in organizations, it is significant to maintain an ethical context. Whether the context is ethical, unethical, or interpersonally ineffective, behaviors will likely be more salient and evaluated more negatively by coworkers. On the other hand, when narcissistic leaders are inserted in organizations with unethical contexts, the result is a perfect storm that reinforces narcissists’ unethical behaviors and potentially promotes narcissistic leaders. Still, it is likely that narcissists exhibit unethical and ineffective behaviors regardless of the ethical context, meaning that an ethical context does not necessarily prevent narcissistic leaders from behaving ineffectively and unethically. Thus, the implementation of management selection geared toward targeting precursors of unethical behaviors is an equally vital strategy to prevent unethical behaviors on the part of organizational leaders.


The study provides new insights into the influence that LN may have on subordinate JE and the moderating roles of MA and BI in the link between LN and JE. The paper also offers a practical assistance to employees in the hospitality industry and their leaders interested in building trust and increasing leader-subordinate relationship and JE.



Erkutlu, H.V. and Chafra, J. (2017), "Leader narcissism and subordinate embeddedness: The moderating roles of moral attentiveness and behavioral integrity", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 146-162.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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