Machiavellian and Motivated: How Managers Can Turn Employee Selfishness into Pro-Organization Behavior

360px-Macchiavelli01Machiavelli famously argued that it is best to be both loved and feared, which is all good and well for a hypothetical prince, but what about for modern-day employees? Companies have long avoided employees who embody Machiavellian principles, labeling such behavior as selfish and manipulative. In their paper, “Leading Machiavellians: How to Translate Machiavellians’ Selfishness Into Pro-Organizational Behavior,” published in the November 2015 issue of Journal of Management, Frank D. Belschak of University of Amsterdam, Deanne N. Den Hartog of University of Amsterdam, and Karianne Kalshoven of Tilburg University challenge the notion that Machiavellian behavior should be discouraged and avoided. Rather, they argue that with the proper leader behavior, managers can transform Machiavellian behavior into proactive and productive organizational citizenship behavior.

The abstract:

Machiavellians are said to be manipulative JOM 41(3)_Covers.inddpeople who reduce the social capital of the organization. Yet some authors note that Machiavellians are also highly adaptive individuals who are able to contribute, cooperate, and use pro-social strategies when it is advantageous to them. Here we study whether transformational leader behavior can stimulate Machiavellian followers to engage in organizationally desirable behaviors such as challenging organizational citizenship behavior. We hypothesized and found in two multi-source field studies that transformational leadership moderates the relationship between Machiavellianism and challenging organizational citizenship behavior. In Study 2, we hypothesized a moderated mediation model and found that enhanced job autonomy and accompanying intrinsic motivation relating to transformational leadership explain (part of) the relationship between transformational leader behavior and challenging citizenship behavior of Machiavellian followers.

You can read “Leading Machiavellians: How to Translate Machiavellians’ Selfishness Into Pro-Organizational Behavior “ from Journal of Management by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

This entry was posted in Employees, Leadership, Management, Organizational Research, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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