The 'dark' and 'bright' sides of personality, and leadership outcomes

The ‘dark’ and ‘bright’ side of leadership

Ashridge is working in partnership with the University of Graz, Austria, to conduct pioneering research on the relationship between the ‘bright’ and ‘dark’ sides of personality, and how these impact on leadership performance.

Pervious research exploring the relationship between personality and leadership performance has been positioned largely within the framework of what’s known as the Big Five, or the ‘bright’ side of personality. This includes the traits of extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness. However comparatively little is known about the impact of the ‘dark’ triad of personality, which includes traits such as narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.

This study explores how much of the ‘dark’ side of personality is necessary to be a successful leader, and how these characteristics interact with the ‘bright’ side to create effective leadership performance.

Responses to the online survey are currently being analysed.

If you’d like to find out more about this research, please contact one of the researchers: