This paper used moderator analysis to test whether emotional intelligence and resilience moderated the relationship between the Dark Triad variables and burnout. 232 adults completed measures of all variables. Primary Psychopathy was found to reduce an individual’s level of burnout. However, Secondary Psychopathy and Machiavellianism were expected to increase burnout, and although the correlation results supported this, the regression models did not. Narcissism, unexpectedly, had no significant relationship with burnout. As predicted, emotional intelligence provides a buffer against negative effects of the Dark Triad traits but also amplifies the positive effects, such as reducing burnout. Implication and limitations are considered.
The Dark Triad comprises of three personality traits, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism, which are believed to share a common core but have aspects that are unique to each trait (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). Derived from clinical research, psychopathy is made up of 2 factors: Factor 1 representing the core personality traits of a psychopath: selfishness, callousness and lack of empathy and remorse, whereas Factor 2 encompasses the chronic antisocial behaviour that is associated with a psychopath: the chronically unstable and antisocial lifestyle (Hare et al., 1990; Harpur, Hakstian, & Hare, 1988). Machiavellianism is characterized by behaviour that is amoral and manipulative. Individuals scoring high on Machiavellianism are cynical of the individuals around them and willing to adopt the necessary tactics to achieve their goal (Christie & Geis, 1970). The core of Narcissism is an inflated view of self and a sense of entitlement. Consequently, individuals high on this trait display behaviour that exaggerates their abilities and they are not receptive of criticism. As expected, others view high narcissists as egotistical and arrogant (O’Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & McDaniel, 2012). Recent meta-analyses of the Dark Triad have examined several outcomes such as intelligence (O’Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & Story, 2013), job performance (O’Boyle et al., 2012), and counter productive work behaviours (CWB; Grijalva & Newman, 2015). They have all shown there is considerable heterogeneity in effect sizes to warrant moderator investigation. However, only a few studies have examined what moderates the Dark Triad and whether those moderating effects are consistent across Dark Triad traits (notable exceptions are Palmer, Komarraju, Carter, & Karau, 2017; Smith, Wallace, & Jordan, 2015). This study attempts just that. Furthermore, this study examines whether there are potential benefits to the individual or an “upside” to these traits that have traditionally been investigated as detrimental to individuals and wider society. Moderator research is important to identify situational or dispositional factors that not only reduce the negative influence of the Dark Triad on work outcomes but also potentially amplify, and therefore illuminate, the positive influence the Dark Triad traits may have in the workplace.