Running head: TEST PROPOSAL PART 1 1
The [Identifying Information Removed] Narcissus Index
The following proposal will discuss a hypothetical psychological test, the [Identifying
Information Removed] Narcissus Index (MNI), created to measure the existence of narcissism
within organizational leaders. The term narcissism is derived from the fictitious Greek figure,
Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection seen in a pool of water (Miller, Nicols, Clark,
Daniels, & Grant, 2018). For the purposes of this proposal, narcissism is defined as having a
grandiose sense of self-importance, characterized by desires of limitless success and power,
oversensitivity to criticism, the need for extreme admiration, feelings of entitlement, exploitative
tendencies, as well as exhibition of envious and arrogant behaviors or attitudes towards others
(Afek, 2019; Shulman & Ferguson, 1988). The definition as well as associated characteristics of
this construct is derived in part from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health
Disorders third edition, from the section relevant to the narcissistic personality disorder, as well
as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Schulman & Ferguson, 1988).
The purpose of creating the MNI is to measure narcissism within organizational leaders
in an effort to better understand whether or not this construct significantly contributes to
organizational concerns such as high turnover rates, employee stress and job burnout.
Additionally, it will be used in recruiting processes in hiring or promoting new organizational
leadership. A key factor in the construction of the MNI was to draw a distinction between
narcissism in the positive sense and that which leads to maladaptive behaviors. Leaders who are
toxically narcissistic exhibit the characteristics discussed previously which can often result in
suppressing the intellectual abilities and enrichment of their subordinates (Wang, Zhang, Ding,
& Cheng, 2018). When workers are not comfortable collaborating with their superiors, this may
TEST PROPOSAL PART 2 2
foster an environment of rigidity which in turn has negative implications for the organization as a
whole. Moreover, leaders who are overtly narcissistic tend to lack the ability to share a socialized
vision of organizational success; rather their tendency to fulfill self-interests can potentially
hinder organizational accomplishments (Owens, Wallace, & Waldman, 2015).
There has been much debate surrounding the construct of narcissism and whether or not it
should be considered a negative psychological trait. Some professionals suggest that narcissism
is essential to successful job performance; yet others argue that it can cause workplace deviance
(Judge, LePine, & Rich, 2006). Several studies were done in the past to determine if narcissism
is effective in leader success. One such study was conducted by Deluga (1997) on American
presidents’ narcissistic behaviors. The study suggested that narcissism actually has desirable
features and is a component of charismatic leadership (Deluga, 1997). Additionally, Franklin
Roosevelt was cited in the research as an impactful and effective president who was charismatic
and exhibited narcissism (Deluga, 1997). Contrarily, Liu, Chiang, Xu, Fehr, and Wang (2017)
conducted a study to examine how narcissistic leaders deal with perceived unfairness; the results
indicated that these leaders exhibit self-oriented behaviors when they sense unfairness against
themselves, in turn causing downstream negative implications for their followers such as
decreased pro-social behaviors (Liu et al., 2017).
There is a need to establish this specific test given the contradictory research findings
thus far about narcissism and how it does or does not contribute to effective leadership.
Additionally, many researchers have called into the question, the reliability and validity of the
most widely used test for narcissism, the NPI, because it tends to only measure for one facet of
narcissism which is normal or adaptive narcissism (Schoenleber, Roche, Wetzel, Pincus, &
TEST PROPOSAL PART 2 3
Roberts, 2015). Also, despite the NPI being the most prominent scale used to assess narcissism,
its structure does not account for vulnerable narcissism; a type of narcissism with masked
qualities that are often associated with some other aspect of personality (Glover, Miller, Lynam,
Crego, & Widiger, 2012).
The MNI will be different and better than existing tests related to narcissism in that it will
be able to identify a threshold level of narcissistic attitudes and behaviors, which if exceeded will
indicate that a person is at a toxic level of narcissism. Therefore, the MNI will not just designate
whether or not an individual is narcissistic because narcissism is sometimes considered intuitive
to leader success. Instead it will help in identifying individuals who have healthy levels of
narcissism conducive for leadership positions as well as those who possess this trait at levels that
may pose detrimental effects to their work environment.
The test-users for the MNI are potential candidates for employment into leadership roles
as well as existing leaders in organizational settings that are plagued by increased turnover rates,
and high levels of work-related stress and burnout. The content of the MNI contains a
combination of statements relating to leader personality characteristics, narcissistic behaviors,
and views on organizational culture. The reason the test needs to cover this content relates to the
circumstances for which it will be used. The MNI can be used for recruiting and promotion
purposes by identifying individuals who may be predisposed to exhibiting toxic narcissistic
behaviors in leadership roles. Furthermore, the test can also be used to assess the levels of
narcissism among organizational leaders and managers to identify whether or not leaders
contribute to poor workplace outcomes. The content of the MNI will not only identify positive
leader qualities, it will also provide helpful information relating to the extent of narcissism that
TEST PROPOSAL PART 2 4
exists among leaders and how these leaders view organizational culture; primarily if they share a
collectivist or individualist mindset. The test itself is not specific to any particular culture;
however, in understanding how the test taker views organizational culture, assessors will be able
to draw valuable conclusions regarding the other portions of the test such as leadership and
narcissistic characteristics. This information will prove valuable for various decision making
processes as well as for evaluative reasoning associated with various work-related concerns.
TEST PROPOSAL PART 2 5
Afek O. (2019). Reflections on Kohut’s theory of self psychology and pathological narcissism—
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TEST PROPOSAL PART 2 6
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