Are Narcissistic Employees More Creative?

Research has long debated the relationship between narcissism and creativity. Some have argued that narcissists are more creative than their peers. This is because creativity may serve as a way to satisfy their need to draw attention to themselves. Others argue that narcissists are not more or less creative than their peers, rather, they may just perceive themselves as being better. The current research responds to this debate by evaluating narcissism and various types of creativity; it provides insight on how organizational support for creativity may play an important role.


The researchers (Zhao et al., 2023) collected data from a total of 273 employees, which were comprised of 99 teams. The findings indicated that, as narcissists are sensitive to self-enhancement opportunities, their creativity may fluctuate depending on how much their organization values creativity. When an organization highly values creativity, this can motivate narcissistic employees to engage in more creativity. However, when an organization does not place high value on creativity, the narcissist’s motivation for self-enhancement may decrease, reducing their creativity levels.


The results of this study show how organizational context can influence the creativity of narcissistic employees. The authors suggest that organizations seeking to foster employee creativity should be aware of how this could potentially affect narcissistic employees. That said, organizations should pay attention to applicants’ levels of narcissism during the recruitment stage. This can be achieved via expertly designed personality assessments. Additionally, the authors recommend that if narcissistic employees are to be hired, organizations should encourage these employees to be creative by maintaining a distinct culture that both encourages and recognizes creative accomplishments.


Zhao, Y., Zhou, K., & Liu, W. (2023). Why and When Narcissistic Employees Are More Creative in the Workplace? A Social Cognitive Perspective. Management and Organization Review, January, 1–27.

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