Self-centered and self-employed: Gender and the relationship between narcissism and self-employment

P. D. Harms, Pankaj C. Patel, Joel B. Carnevale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The present study draws from Person-Environment (P-E) Fit theory to examine the relationship between Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and self-employment status as well as the potential for gender to moderate this relationship. Two-wave archival data involving 29,000 respondents of a representative sample provided overall support for our predictions. The results show that although there is a small positive overall effect linking NPD with self-employment, this relationship is moderated by gender such that narcissistic women are less likely to be self-employed than narcissistic men. Moreover, exploratory results demonstrate that narcissists do not ultimately benefit from self-employment status. Specifically, there was no difference in the incomes of narcissists who were self-employed and those who were not. These results suggest that the effects of narcissism on career choice is more complicated than initially believed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Gender
  • Narcissism
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Self-employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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