Research Impact: The Impact on Coworkers of Working With a Narcissist


This fall, Dr. Truit Gray published research titled “Coworker narcissism: Employee emotional and behavioral reactions as moderated by bottom-line mentality and trait competitiveness” in the Journal of Management (Financial Times top 50). In the research study, Dr. Gray and his coauthors examined the impact that working with a narcissistic coworker has on an employee’s emotions and behavioral intentions.

Their findings suggest that working with a narcissistic coworker arouses negative emotions in the employee, but how the employee responds to those emotions depends on the personality of the individual employee. Some employees deal with the narcissistic coworker by socially undermining the coworker, to bring down the narcissistic coworker, while other employees address the challenges posed by a narcissistic coworker by increasing their own intended work performance, hoping to shield themselves from the narcissistic coworker. Thus, managers should know that negative emotions in the workplace arising from working with a narcissistic coworker can propel both higher motivation and social undermining. In this respect, employee training could focus on functional ways to handle negative emotions, thus supporting a more inclusive and cohesive work environment.

Greenbaum, R. L., Gray, T. W., Hill, A. D., Lima, M., Royce, S. S., & Smales, A. A. (2022). Coworker Narcissism: Employee Emotional and Behavioral Reactions as Moderated by Bottom-Line Mentality and Trait Competitiveness. Journal of Management. Advance online publication.

Updated: 02/23/2023 03:10PM