Wisdom and narcissism as predictors of transformational leadership

Greaves, Claire E., Zacher, Hannes, McKenna, Bernard and Rooney, David (2014) Wisdom and narcissism as predictors of transformational leadership. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 35 4: 335-358. doi:10.1108/LODJ-07-2012-0092

Author Greaves, Claire E.
Zacher, Hannes
McKenna, Bernard
Rooney, David
Title Wisdom and narcissism as predictors of transformational leadership
Journal name Leadership and Organization Development Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0143-7739
Publication date 2014-01-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/LODJ-07-2012-0092
Volume 35
Issue 4
Start page 335
End page 358
Total pages 24
Place of publication Bingley, W Yorks, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose – Although leadership and organizational scholars have suggested that the virtue of wisdom may promote outstanding leadership behavior, this proposition has rarely been empirically tested. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between transformational leadership, narcissism, and five dimensions of wisdom as conceptualized by the well-established Berlin wisdom paradigm. General mental ability and emotional intelligence were considered relevant control variables.

Design/methodology/approach – Interview, test, and questionnaire data were obtained from 77 employees of a high school and from two or three colleagues of each employee. Data were analyzed using hierarchical regression analyses.

Findings – After controlling for general mental ability and emotional intelligence, narcissism and the wisdom dimension relativism of values and life priorities were negatively related to transformational leadership, and the wisdom dimension recognition and management of uncertainty was positively related to transformational leadership. The other three wisdom dimensions, rich factual knowledge about life, rich procedural knowledge about life, and lifespan contextualism, were not significantly related to transformational leadership.

Research limitations/implications – Limitations to be addressed in future studies include the cross-sectional design and the relatively small and specialized sample.

Practical implications – Tentative implications for leadership training and development are outlined.

Originality/value – This multi-method and multi-source study represents the first empirical investigation that examines links between well-established wisdom and leadership constructs in the work context.

Article Type: Research paper
Keyword Transformational leadership
Emotional intelligence
General mental ability
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
UQ Business School Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 23 May 2014, 22:13:03 EST by Bernard J. Mckenna on behalf of School of Psychology