Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Jason Etchegaray

Abstract

Workplace bullying is a global problem that leaves workers emotionally harmed and organizations financially strapped; yet in many cases, business leaders fail to adequately address the problem. The purpose of this research was to determine if the top leader had a direct impact on the presence of bullying within the workplace. Based on personality trait theory as a theoretical foundation, the key issue this study explored was the relationship between the presence of workplace bullying and observed narcissistic behaviors exhibited by the top leader. Participants consisted of 84 human resources professionals reporting directly to the CEO/president of companies located in the United States. Observer-rated assessments were used to measure the leader's observed narcissistic behaviors along with the prevalence of bullying within the workplace. Logistic regression and Pearson correlation were used to analyze assessment data. Results revealed a strong and positive relationship between top leaders' observed narcissistic behaviors and the presence of bullying within the organization. These results suggest the top leader may not only directly impact the presence of workplace bullying, but may actually create the problem. This study contributes to social change by providing support for the need to use personality assessments when hiring or promoting top leaders. By identifying those who contribute to the sustainability of bullying, these individuals can be excluded from the selection process and workplace bullying will therefore be minimized, improving the well-being of employees and the financial performance of organizations, world-wide.