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Human Resources

Men are more likely to be manipulative colleagues than women

Health Industry Hub | August 17, 2020 |

Human Resources: An Australian study of almost 800 people has found that men are more likely to engage in malicious emotional manipulation in the workplace than women.

This study investigated people’s willingness to emotionally manipulate others maliciously and disingenuously in the workplace. It also examined the role of gender, emotional intelligence, and the Dark Triad traits (machiavellianism (a manipulative attitude), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (lack of empathy) in this destructive behaviour.

T‐tests revealed that females were significantly less likely than males to engage in both malicious and disingenuous emotional manipulation.

The study found that emotional manipulation is higher in men who have a relentless drive to achieve goals, and in women with broader deceptive tendencies. The study also suggests there is a ‘dark side to emotional intelligence’ at work, as those who were more in touch with their own emotions and those of others, also tended to be more manipulative.

In females, the magnitude of correlations (small to moderate) between the Dark Triad traits and both forms of emotional manipulation were similar. In males, both forms of emotional manipulation most strongly correlated with Machiavellianism, followed by narcissism, then psychopathy. 

This study is the first to demonstrate that good emotional intelligence skills can facilitate undesirable workplace behaviours.


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