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New Explorations in the Field of Leadership Research: A Walk on the Dark Side of Personality & Implications for Leadership (In)Effectiveness

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Doctoral thesis

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If asked to generate a list of leaders, most people could quickly provide the names of several very popular, successful, and great leaders. It seems that when we think about leadership, we are conditioned to think about only the positives. The increasing number of corporate scandals, ethical breaches, and failed organizations suggests that we have neglected a very important and fruitful side of leadership research -- the dark side of personality and its effects on leadership and organizational performance with an emphasis on ineffective leadership or leadership gone wrong. The central objective of this thesis was to develop a more robust understanding of the predictor-criterion linkage in the leadership domain, with a particular emphasis on the derailingdark side personality traits and to test the assertion that using what we know about the personality-based, interpersonal flaws that lead to derailment and failure does, indeed, enhance our ability to predict leadership performance. The study employed available measures of FFM traits and derailingdark side traits to test the hypotheses that 1 derailingdark side traits would be distinct from FFM personality traits, 2 including derailingdark side traits in the prediction of leadership performance would account for additional, incremental variance beyond the FFM traits, 3 emotional stabilityadjustment would moderate the relationship between leadership performance and derailingdark side traits, and 4 the relationship between derailingdark side traits and leadership performance would be curvilinear and follow an inverted U function. The results provided robust support for the validity and utility of using derailingdark side traits in the selection of leaders and the assessment of leadership performance across a wide range of samples. Implications for theory, future leadership research, managementleadership practitioners are also discussed.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Psychology

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