Speaking up to the “emotional vampire”: A conservation of resources perspective

Joel Carnevale, Lei Huang, Peter Harms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Although narcissists are commonly compared to “emotional vampires” who drain others of their energy, research examining the impact of narcissistic leadership on employee well-being and outcomes remain scant. Drawing from conservation of resources (COR) theory, we theorize that narcissistic leadership consumes employees’ emotional and cognitive resources, thus negatively affecting their work energy, and voice behavior. Moreover, we further investigate how leader team-oriented accountability, which helps to reduce narcissistic leaders’ self-serving tendencies, moderates this negative indirect effect. Three-wave survey data collected from 357 employees working at a large consulting firm (Study 1) and experimental data collected from 129 working professionals (Study 2) both provided support for the negative indirect effect of narcissistic leadership on employees’ voice via their work energy. Additionally, this negative indirect effect is significant only when leaders are not accountable towards their team and that such negative indirect effect becomes non-significant when leaders exhibit high team-oriented accountability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Employee voice
  • Leader accountability
  • Narcissistic leadership
  • Work energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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