Narcissistic organizational identification: Seeing oneself as central to the organization's identity

Benjamin M. Galvin, Donald Lange, Blake Ashforth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


An unexplored paradox of organizational identification is its possible association with behaviors that exploit the organization for personal benefit. In this article we address why, for some individuals in positions of power and authority in the organization, organizational identification is a path to viewing the organization as eminently exploitable. We introduce "narcissistic organizational identification," a form of organizational identification that features the individual's tendency to see his/her identity as core to the definition of the organization, in contrast to conventional conceptualizations of organizational identification, where the individual sees the organization as core to the definition of self. We provide theory explaining how antecedents of conventional organizational identification - including a sense of control and influence over the organization, a sense of psychological ownership of the organization, a sense that the organization is regarded highly by others, and a sense that others identify one in terms of the organization - can instead lead to narcissistic organizational identification in the presence of narcissism, a relatively stable personality dimension that includes grandiosity, self-importance, and a sense of superiority and entitlement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-181
Number of pages19
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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