Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Donald Vredenburgh

Committee Members

Stephan Dilchert

C. Justice Tillman

Yu Yue

Subject Categories

Organizational Behavior and Theory


Charismatic Leadership, Dark Triad, Social Exchange Theory


This dissertation focuses on a possible dark side of charismatic leadership and its behavioral consequences from a social exchange perspective. By revealing the positive correlations between charismatic leadership and the Dark Triad personality traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy, this study provides empirical evidence for the possibility of charismatic leaders with negative personality traits generating harm. Based on a sample of 99 leader-follower dyads recruited from a Chinese work organization, the findings suggest that more charismatic leaders are more likely to behave in autocratic ways and the followers of such leaders will more likely enact pro-leader unethical behaviors. These findings provide new insights for the charismatic leadership literature and contribute to a more complete understanding of charismatic leadership theory. By highlighting the possible negative consequences of an often favorably viewed leadership style, the findings of this dissertation also provide practical implications for leaders, employees, and work organizations.

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