Status Inconsistency, Narcissism, and Ego Bashing in the Workplace: A Theoretical Model

Alexander Abdennur

Abstract


An intriguing form of aggressive behavior that targets the total ego of an individual can be typically observed in the work environment of certain societies that are undergoing rapid social change and consequent status challenges and rivalry. This behavior is explained in terms of the interaction between two variables: Status inconsistency and narcissism. Forms of status inconsistency produced at the structural level can lead to the experience of psychological strain. This strain provokes an aggressive reaction that may be displaced on others in the work place. The emphasis in some societies on the prestige of the position tends to further implicate individual narcissism in the reaction. The narcissistically bound reaction to status inconsistency results in aggression being lashed-out against the totality of an individual’s self rather than against extensions of the self. A search for convenient targets follows the hydraulic model that selectively targets persons occupying vulnerable positions.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782