Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Daniel Simonet

Committee Member

Jennifer Bragger

Committee Member

Kevin Askew


Social Exchange Theory postulates that individuals build relationships on the basis that the parties involved are mutually engaging in reciprocity of benefits or rewards. Social exchange theory implies certain belief systems and dispositions shift expected ways of relating to organizations, with some more willing to exploit co-workers and organizations. The following study compared the bivariate and incremental importance of the Dark Triad (Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism) in relation to the Triadic Cultural Codes (Face, Honor, and Dignity) in predicting counterproductive work behaviors, both globally and broken down by interpersonal (CWB-I) and organizationally (CWB-O) directed acts. We found significant associations for all three Dark Traits with CWB but non-significant effects for all cultural codes. Both multiple and hierarchical regression confirm that cultural norms play no role in deviant work behavior. These findings suggest that character adaptations stemming from culture do not predict CWBs beyond the demonstrated relationship with dark personality traits that underlie more fundamental tendencies and dispositions. Post-hoc analyses show that Machiavellianism is predictive of CWB-O, which implies that Machiavellians tend to engage in CWBs directed at the organization (e.g. theft and sabotage) out of cynicism toward workplace politics. Narcissism was found to be predictive of CWB-I, which aligns with research that narcissists tend to utilize strategies that reinforce their perceived superiority over other individuals (e.g. bullying). Finally, psychopathy was found to be predictive of both CWB-O and CWB-I, which supports research implications that psychopaths tend to impulsively harm individuals and their organization’s property as a byproduct of their disinhibition.

Included in

Psychology Commons