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05/12/2016

New Study by Management Faculty Says Employee Entitlement Can Be a Good Thing

Quick Facts

 The study, “Employee Entitlement and Proactive Work Behaviors: The Moderating Effects of Narcissism and Organizational Identification,” investigates the yin and yang of entitlement.
 It appears in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

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Malayka Klimchak
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Melissa Carsten
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — So it turns out that entitlement can be a positive quality at the workplace.

A new study on employee entitlement by Winthrop University Associate Professors of Management Malayka Klimchak and Melissa Carsten has turned heads this month, with mentions in “Glamour” and Time’s “Money Magazine.”

Entitlement has typically been viewed as a negative quality, said Carsten. However, she added that there has also always been a “legitimate” side of entitlement in which people expect to receive what they feel they have rightfully earned. The study, “Employee Entitlement and Proactive Work Behaviors: The Moderating Effects of Narcissism and Organizational Identification,” investigates the yin and yang of entitlement.

Co-authored by Daniel Morrell and William I. MacKenzie Jr., the study showed that while entitlement is not necessarily directly related to proactive work behaviors such as “voice” and “taking charge,” there is cause to believe that narcissism moderates that relationship. Employees exhibiting high narcissism are more likely to take charge if they feel they connected to the organization.

Carsten said the results were not surprising because previous research had suggested positive behaviors come from employees highly connected with their organizations.

“We expected that those who are more entitled would engage in fewer positive behaviors for the company, but this was not the case,” she said. “This just demonstrates that entitlement is not necessarily a negative thing or a simple construct. You must also consider other feelings of the employee like how connected they are to the organization, or whether their primary goal is to advance their self-interest versus the interests of the organization. When you add other variables, the story starts to take shape and it is more complex than some may have assumed.”

Carsten said she and her co-authors hope that employers can use the study to learn more about the best way to harness positive energy and behavior from their employees.

You can read their study in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or chisarin@winthrop.edu.

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