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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2021

Syed Imad Shah, Asad Shahjehan and Bilal Afsar

Studies highlighting negative behavioral influences of Machiavellians are plentiful; however, those prescribing their management are scarce. Machiavellians are…

Abstract

Purpose

Studies highlighting negative behavioral influences of Machiavellians are plentiful; however, those prescribing their management are scarce. Machiavellians are intelligent, adaptable and resourceful people with negative, self-serving and unethical persona traits. Their abundance in organizations poses a challenge for managers in minimizing negative consequences of Machiavellian's manipulative behaviors and tap into their true potential. Leadership can play a crucial role in this regard. This purpose of this paper is to investigate the moderating effects of transformational leadership (TFL) versus transactional leadership (TSL) styles on the relationship between subordinates' Machiavellianism and their organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and counterproductive work behavior (CWB). The aim was to highlight the style that better adept in managing high-Mach subordinates.

Design/methodology/approach

This cross-sectional study used multiple surveys administered to 90 managers and their 269 subordinates from 56 organizations. Multiple regression was used for testing and hypothesize linear and supplementary nonlinear relationships between the study variables.

Findings

After a detailed data analysis, authors posit that, as compared to TFL, the TSL style is better suited for managing Machiavellian subordinates.

Practical implications

By employing transactional tactics, leaders can reign in the divergent behavior of Machiavellians, thus, transforming them into useful organizational assets.

Originality/value

This study expands on limited body of knowledge on managing Machiavellians. It advocates using TSL for improving the OCB of Machiavellians while countering their CWBs. Furthermore, this study contributes to transactional/transformational theories as it lends credence to the situational theory of leadership.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2020

Hanrin Damas Triantoro, Intiyas Utami and Corina Joseph

The objective of this study is: 1) to examine the effect of whistleblowing system and fraud intention, 2) the impact of Machiavellianism personality and fraud intention…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this study is: 1) to examine the effect of whistleblowing system and fraud intention, 2) the impact of Machiavellianism personality and fraud intention, 3) the interaction effect between whistleblowing system, Machiavellianism personality and fraud intention.

Design/methodology/approach

This study carried out a 2 × 2 between-subjects true experimental research design, using the Web-based tool. The subjects were 75 accounting undergraduate students from seven universities in Indonesia who were enrolled for auditing courses.

Findings

This study shows that fraud intention increases with the absence of a whistleblowing system. This research also shows that higher Machiavellianism increases individual fraud intention.

Research limitations/implications

The poor internet connection contributes to obstruction in accessing the experimental website. Few participants were required to repeat the completion of the experimental module.

Practical implications

This study contributes to developing the whistleblowing system to mitigate fraud intention in organizations considering the personality trait of the individual.

Social implications

This study suggests the importance of a better understanding of fraud mechanisms to enhance the awareness of the whistleblowing system.

Originality/value

This study uses the whistleblowing system as a proxy for an opportunity in the fraud triangle concept. There is limited empirical research conducted on examining the whistleblowing system to fraud intention and the interaction of Machiavellian personality and whistleblowing system to fraud intention.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Anne Fennimore

The purpose of this paper is to adapt research conducted on subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians to conceptualise false agents in transaction cost economics (TCE)…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to adapt research conducted on subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians to conceptualise false agents in transaction cost economics (TCE). Both opportunism and information asymmetry provide a means to manipulate contractual relationships, pursuing existing loopholes for self-interest, while uncertainty and small-numbers bargaining allow false agents to exploit existing agreements during periods of rapid change, growth, and development. Considering differences in contract length preference may inform our understanding of subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians. Contextually, the rise of “quasi-governmental” hybrid organisations may produce an ideal prospect for “natural born” opportunists to reap self-interested benefits through contractual loopholes.

Design/methodology/approach

This theoretical paper addresses social norms and blind trust in contractual relationships. In turn, blind trust may provide clues about the environmental conditions that facilitate manipulation by subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians during negotiations of contract term length.

Findings

Williamson’s (1975) TCE framework provides a novel approach to subclinical psychopathic and Machiavellian behaviour by agents. Assumptions about behavioural norms may differ between the contracting party and the agent, leading to positive behavioural expectations of trust such as confidence, reciprocity, and history. The length of the contractual relationship may distinguish subclinical psychopaths from Machiavellians. The subclinical psychopath is more likely to behave opportunistically in short-term contracts, while Machiavellians more likely amass goodwill to behave opportunistically in long-term contracts. The role of uncertainty, small-numbers bargaining, information asymmetry, and opportunism is particularly relevant in quasi-governmental organisations when agents are “natural born” opportunists.

Originality/value

This theoretical paper adds to discussion of TCE related problems in organisations. “Natural born” opportunistic agents are more likely to take advantage of principals who extend trust as a goodwill gesture in a contractual relationship. Trust often represents a mental shortcut, based on “gut” reactions to save time, especially in dynamic environments. Hybrid organisations represent one such environment, in which contracting of goods and services renders comprehensive monitoring impracticable. Yet, scholarship adheres to legal mechanisms as safeguards against opportunism without acknowledging social norms that guide blind trust. Finally, contrasting motives between principals and false agents creates an inherent relationship asymmetry.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 55 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2018

Katja Stradovnik and Janez Stare

The purpose of the paper is to examine the impact of Machiavellian leadership and organisational cynicism on the emotional exhaustion of employees.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to examine the impact of Machiavellian leadership and organisational cynicism on the emotional exhaustion of employees.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 463 employees of Slovenian municipalities. Surveys were used to collect Machiavellianism, organisational cynicism and emotional exhaustion data. Hypotheses were verified by means of three methods: the contingency table, χ2 test and Pearson coefficient.

Findings

Machiavellian leadership has an impact both on the presence of emotional exhaustion and organisational cynicism. According to the results, both Machiavellianism and organisational cynicism have a direct linear impact on the increase of emotional exhaustion.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the research were formulated on the basis of a survey conducted according to a self-assessment online survey.

Originality/value

Even though the concept of Machiavellianism was developed 500 years ago, the existing literature suggests that it continues to be relevant in modern times, most frequently in terms of examining the way leaders establish their power and adopt (un)ethical leadership practices and the implications their behaviour has on their direct working environment. Only select authors have examined Machiavellianism in correlation with organisational cynicism and emotional exhaustion, with an emphasis on the public sector. Due to a lack of research conducted on the subject, the main research challenge was to establish actual correlations between the three factors above.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 39 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2010

William E. Shafer and Zhihong Wang

The purpose of this paper is to addresses the impact of organizational ethical context (ethical climate and ethical culture) and Machiavellianism on…

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2121

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to addresses the impact of organizational ethical context (ethical climate and ethical culture) and Machiavellianism on organizational‐professional conflict (OPC) and affective organizational commitment (OC) among Chinese accountants. The paper also aims to test for interactive effects of ethical context and Machiavellianism.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a field survey of 89 professional accountants employed by companies operating in Mainland China.

Findings

Two aspects of the organizational ethical culture, expectations of obedience to authority and strong ethical norms/incentives, emerged as the dominant influences on both OPC and affective commitment. Strong negative correlations are observed between OPC and OC, and between Machiavellianism and OC. Contrary to expectations, the organizational ethical context had the greatest impact on OC among high Machiavellians. For low Machiavellians, OPC fully mediated the relationship between ethical context and OC, but no such mediation effects are found for high Machiavellians.

Originality/value

This is the first study of the relationships among ethical context, OPC and OC among industry accountants in China, and the first study of the effects of Machiavellianism on these relationships. The results generally support our contention that organizational ethical context will be a key determinant of OPC and OC. The fact that weaker ethical cultures were strongly associated with increased conflict and decreased commitment suggests that managers of accounting/auditing departments should take a proactive approach to developing and nurturing positive or supportive cultures. The differences in results for high and low Machiavellians also raise interesting questions that should be addressed in future research.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

David McGuire and Kate Hutchings

The purpose of this paper is to undertake a Machiavellian analysis of the determinants of organisational change. It aims to present a model of how power, leaders and…

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15476

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to undertake a Machiavellian analysis of the determinants of organisational change. It aims to present a model of how power, leaders and teams, rewards and discipline, and roles, norms and values, serve as drivers, enablers or inhibitors of organisational change.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts the sixteenth century Machiavellian text The Prince as a lens through which to examine organisational change.

Findings

The paper concludes that Machiavellian thinking provides a valuable guide to the challenges and obstacles in negotiating organisational change and identifies the individual as occupying the central role in determining whether the change intervention will be accepted or rejected.

Originality/value

The longevity of Machiavellian thinking underlines the constancy of human behaviour and the relevance of age‐old thinking in understanding and negotiating change in a complex fast‐paced business environment.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1995

Wai‐sum Siu and Kam‐chuen Tam

Critics often attack marketing as being manipulative, unethical, or“Machiavellian” in nature. Recently, branch marketing hasbeen widely and agressively adopted by banks…

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795

Abstract

Critics often attack marketing as being manipulative, unethical, or “Machiavellian” in nature. Recently, branch marketing has been widely and agressively adopted by banks for growth and expansion purposes in Pacific‐rim countries. However, it is generally believed that the marketing orientation is counter to the conservative banking practices. Reports the findings of research on the Machiavellian orientation of 50 Chinese banking executives in Hong Kong and the relationships between Machiavellianism, job satisfaction and job success in the banking sector. Two instruments, the Mach IV Scale and the index of job satisfaction, were used to determine the Machiavellian orientation and the job satisfaction level of respondents. Observes significant differences between the branch managers in the banking sector and non‐banking managers with regard to Machiavellian orientation. Respondents with lower Machiavellian scores tended to attain higher job titles. However, there was no significant relationship between Machiavellianism and overall job satisfaction.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Yonca Toker-Gültaş, Afife Başak Ok and Savaş Ceylan

Organizations are investing their resources to identify effective leaders; however, the most commonly utilized assessments of leadership potential do not cover the social…

Abstract

Organizations are investing their resources to identify effective leaders; however, the most commonly utilized assessments of leadership potential do not cover the social cognitions of individuals. Trait assessments, which are explicit in nature, also have other problems, including faking and socially desirable responding. In this chapter, we highlight the importance of leaders' implicit reasoning processes, with a particular focus on cognitive biases, in an attempt to understand how destructive leaders frame the world, situations and people and how they justify their choice of behaviours and decisions. Empirical evidence in the literature supports the valid use of implicit reasoning measurements in organizational contexts. Thus, we first summarize and list the cognitive biases of destructive leaders as identified in the literature. We then turn our focus on Machiavellian leaders as they have been associated with destructive leadership. We present the most common six cognitive biases and justification mechanisms of Machiavellian leaders based on our qualitative analysis of interview responses from 72 employees. We aim to encourage researchers and practitioners to make use of the literature on implicit reasoning and to further contribute to developing measures assessing such implicit reasoning processes.

Details

Destructive Leadership and Management Hypocrisy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-180-5

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Book part
Publication date: 30 June 2016

Reginald L. Tucker, Graham H. Lowman and Louis D. Marino

Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits are often viewed as negative or undesirable personality traits. However, recent research demonstrates that individuals…

Abstract

Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits are often viewed as negative or undesirable personality traits. However, recent research demonstrates that individuals with these traits possess qualities that may be personally beneficial within the business contexts. In this chapter, we conceptualize a balanced perspective of these traits throughout the entrepreneurial process (opportunity recognition, opportunity evaluation, and opportunity exploitation) and discuss human resources management strategies that can be employed to enhance the benefits, or minimize the challenges, associated with Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits. Specifically, we propose that Machiavellian qualities are most beneficial in the evaluation stage of entrepreneurship, and Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic qualities are beneficial in the exploitation stage of entrepreneurship.

Details

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-263-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

Janice Baker Corzine, Gabriel F. Buntzman and Edgar T. Busch

This study examined relationships involving Machiavellianism, the career plateau, job satisfaction and salary in a sample of commercial bank officers in the United States…

Abstract

This study examined relationships involving Machiavellianism, the career plateau, job satisfaction and salary in a sample of commercial bank officers in the United States. Results showed that American bankers had relatively low Machiavellianism scores compared to scores reported for other groups. While a negative relationship between job satisfaction and Machiavellianism was found, there was no association between salary and Machiavellianism. Those who scored high on Machiavellianism were more likely to believe that they had reached a career plateau than were those who scored low. Some results are explained in the context of the U.S. banking industry environment.

Details

The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1055-3185

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