Preventing and combating administrative narcissism: implications for professional programmes

Eugenie A. Samier, Terryl Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The paper seeks to examine the problem of destructive narcissism as an aspect of the emotional dimension of educational administration. Positions of power and influence provide motive and opportunity for the damaging character of this personality disorder to negatively affect the work life of colleagues and sabotage organizational effectiveness, ranging in degree from mild annoyance to extreme disabling. Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents a model of narcissism composed of the typical profile and organisational expression in educational settings, drawing on narcissism theory. This includes the narcissist's illegitimate sense of entitlement, inappropriate need for admiration and attention, lack of empathy, and projection of negative traits onto others that affect the politics and culture of schools and universities, including social interaction and work styles, that produces an objectified use of people. Findings: Four aspects of graduate professional programs are examined for the effects of destructive narcissistic pattern - student recruitment, curriculum, narcissistic professors, and research activities - and strategies recommended for dealing with this problem. Originality/value: The problem of narcissism in educational administration and leadership professional programmes is not addressed in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-594
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • educational administration
  • emotional dissonance
  • leadership
  • destructive narcissism
  • organizational effectiveness


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