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Narcissism and Leadership: What we can learn from a case-study of Silvio Berlusconi

Samir Boureghda, Jurriaan Middelhoff, Christ’l De Landtsheer

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There has been a sustained interest in personality of politicians, in particular aversive personality traits such as psychopathy, narcissism and machiavellianism. To overcome the hurdle of limited acces when studying political leaders, it is argued that psychodiagnostic meta-analysis methodologies can be applied in combination with validated psychological instruments. In this study the focus will be on a hypothesised narcissistic leader: Italy’s ex prime-minister Silvio Berlusconi. Using the Million Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC) by Immelman (2004) as the at-a-distance psychodiagnostic meta-analysis tool to assess the overall personality, scales associated with narcissism will be compared to results on the well established Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) to test the usability and relevance of an extended psychodiagnostic meta-analysis scale to specifically assess narcissism in political leaders. Results of the study verify that the ambitious scale of the MIDC, which is defined as the correlate with narcissism, is not sufficient to verify the presence of narcissistic traits, as hypothesised by expert-opinions. Implications of these findings are further discussed.

Keywords: Narcissism, Berlusconi, Immelman MIDC method, Narcissistic Personality Inventory, NPI, Italian politics


Bibliography: Boureghda, Samir/Middelhoff, Jurriaan/De Landtsheer, Christ’l: Narcissism and Leadership: What we can learn from a case-study of Silvio Berlusconi, PCS – Politics, Culture and Socialization, 1+2-2017, pp. 134-151.