Abstract

The Dark Triad is an established set of personality characteristics: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (Jonason & Webster, 2010). These characteristics are distinguishable, but overlap with respect to being highly ego-centric and socially exploitative interpersonal styles. The current research seeks to determine if individuals high on the Dark Triad possess higher intentions to enter into entrepreneurship than other individuals—as a pathway to use others toward their own gain, satisfy their sensation-seeking appetites, and receive the attention and admiration that they obsessively desire. Specifically, we develop and empirically examine an indirect effects model linking the components of the Dark Triad with entrepreneurial intentions—defined as the degree to which an individual has taken steps toward launching a new venture. In so doing, we consider the extent to which entrepreneurial motivation (destructive and productive forms) (Baumol, 1990) and entrepreneurial alertness (Kirzner, 1999) act as sequential underlying mediating mechanisms. Findings shed light on the Dark Triad as a previously under-examined set of individual characteristics—ones that are likely to strongly influence why and how many new ventures are launched and developed.

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