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What is Collective Narcissism?

June 30, 2010

When like-minded people group — Social Dominance Orientation — bands together to manipulate and control others — outgroups — for their own ends and exploit others without regard, respect, or compassion for others – you are witnessing collective narcissism.

Gangs, organized crime, political groups, religious groups, and terrorists are typical examples of groups who exhibit this kind of behavior. But, we also will find this behavior in groups of authority who appear to be acting in the publics best interest: advertisers, sales people, bankers, financial advisors, and accountants are good examples. There are a slew of stories of how celebrities life savings have been ripped off by their accountants. And then there is Bernie Madoff, this rascal and his small band of thieves ripped off friends, charities, and even banks in other countries to the tune of $32 billion. All done without compunction.

My next book is all about collective narcissism and the serious threat it poses to our free society, as well as the world. All I can say is, if you want to see collective narcissism in action, follow the money. Money is power and a great motivator. Unhealthy narcissists love money, but they love power more as their pathology drives them to be dominant players in all they do.

Want to know more about unhealthy narcissism? Click on the link on the upper right hand corner to buy a Amazon Kindle version, or go to Amazon Create Space for the print version.

Related: Collective narcissism and its Social consequences – Zavala
Collective narcissism — an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief about or in the group’s greatness — aiming to explain how feelings about an “ingroup” shapes a tendency to aggress against “outgroups. ”

The results of 5 studies indicate that collective, but not individual, narcissism predicts intergroup aggressiveness. Collective narcissism is related to high private and low public collective self-esteem and low implicit group esteem. It predicts perceived threat from outgroups, unwillingness to forgive outgroups, preference for military aggression over and above social dominance orientation, right-wing authoritarianism, and blind patriotism. The relationship between collective narcissism and aggressiveness is mediated by perceived threat from outgroups and perceived insult to the ingroup. In sum, the results indicate that collective narcissism is a form of high but ambivalent group esteem related to sensitivity to threats to the ingroup’s image and retaliatory aggression.

Related: Differential effects of right wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation on outgroup attitudes and their mediation by threat from and competitiveness to outgroups by J. Duckitt

A dual-process model of individual differences in prejudice proneness proposes that Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) will influence prejudice against particular outgroups through different motivational mechanisms. RWA should cause negative attitudes toward groups seen as threatening social control, order, cohesion, and stability, such as deviant groups, and negativity toward these groups should be mediated through perceived threat from them. SDO should cause negative attitudes toward groups that activate competitiveness over relative dominance and superiority, such as socially subordinate groups low in power and status, and negativity toward these groups should be mediated through competitiveness toward them. Findings from four student samples that assessed attitudes toward seven social groups selected as likely to vary systematically in social threat and social subordination supported these predictions. The findings have implications for reconciling intergroup and individual difference explanations of prejudice and for interventions to reduce prejudice.

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