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Machiavellianism - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Machiavellianism is "the employment of cunning and duplicity

in statecraft or in general conduct".[1] The word comes from the
Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccol Machiavelli,
born in 1469, who wrote Il Principe (The Prince), among other

In modern psychology, Machiavellianism is one of the dark

triad personalities, characterized by a duplicitous interpersonal
style, a cynical disregard for morality and a focus on
self-interest and personal gain.[2]

Niccol Machiavelli
1 Political thought
2 Psychology
2.1 Motivation
2.2 Abilities
2.3 Relations with other personality traits
2.4 Game theory
3 In the workplace
4 See also
5 References
6 Sources
7 External links

Political thought
In the 16th century, immediately following the publication of The Prince, Machiavellianism was
seen as a foreign plague infecting northern European politics, originating in Italy, and having first
infected France. It was in this context that the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572 in Paris
came to be seen as a product of Machiavellianism, a view greatly influenced by the Huguenot
Innocent Gentillet, who published his Discours contre Machievel in 1576, which was printed in ten
editions in three languages over the next four years.[3] Gentillet held, quite wrongly according to
Sydney Anglo, that Machiavelli's "books [were] held most dear and precious by our Italian and
Italionized [sic] courtiers" in France (in the words of his first English translation), and so (in
Anglo's paraphrase) "at the root of France's present degradation, which has culminated not only in

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the St Bartholemew massacre but the glee of its perverted admirers".[4] In fact there is little trace of
Machiavelli in French writings before the massacre, not that politicians telegraph their intentions in
writing, until Gentillet's own book, but this concept was seized upon by many contemporaries, and
played a crucial part in setting the long-lasting popular concept of Machiavellianism. [5]

The English playwrights William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe were enthusiastic
proponents of this view. Shakespeare's Gloucester, later Richard III, refers to Machiavelli in Henry
VI, Part III, for instance:

I can add colours to the chameleon,

Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.

In The Jew of Malta (158990) "Machievel" in person speaks the Prologue, claiming not to be
dead, but to have possessed the soul of (the Duke of) Guise, "And, now the Guise is dead, is come
from France/ To view this land, and frolic with his friends" (Prologue, lines 34)[6] Marlowe's last
play, The Massacre at Paris (1593) takes the massacre, and the following years, as its subject, with
the Duke of Guise and Catherine de' Medici both depicted as Machiavellian plotters, bent on evil
from the start.

The Anti-Machiavel is an 18th-century essay by Frederick the Great, King of Prussia and patron of
Voltaire, rebutting The Prince, and Machiavellianism. It was first published in September 1740, a
few months after Frederick became king, and is one of many such works.

Denis Diderot, the French philosopher, viewed Machiavellianism as "an abhorrent type of politics"
and the "art of tyranny".[7]

Machiavellianism is also a term that some social, forensic and personality psychologists use to
describe a person's tendency to be unemotional, and therefore able to detach him or herself from
conventional morality and hence to deceive and manipulate others. In the 1960s, Richard Christie
and Florence L. Geis developed a test for measuring a person's level of Machiavellianism
(sometimes referred to as the Machiavelli test).[8] Their Mach - IV test, a twenty-statement
personality survey, became the standard self-assessment tool of Machiavellianism. People scoring
high on the scale (high Machs) tend to endorse statements such as, "Never tell anyone the real
reason you did something unless it is useful to do so," (No. 1) but not ones like, "Most people are
basically good and kind" (No. 4), "There is no excuse for lying to someone else," (No. 7) or "Most
people who get ahead in the world lead clean, moral lives" (No. 11). Using their scale, Christie and
Geis conducted multiple experimental tests that showed that the interpersonal strategies and
behavior of "High Machs" and "Low Machs" differ.[9] Their basic results have been widely
replicated.[10] Measured on the Mach - IV scale, males are, on average, slightly more Machiavellian

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than females.[9][11]


A 1992 review described Machiavellian motivation as related to cold selfishness and pure
instrumentality, and those high on the trait were assumed to pursue their motives (e.g. sex,
achievement, sociality) in duplicitous ways. More recent research on the motivations of high Machs
compared to low Machs found that they gave high priority to money, power, and competition and
relatively low priority to community building, self-love, and family concerns. High Machs admitted
to focusing on unmitigated achievement and winning at any cost.[2]


Due to their skill at interpersonal manipulation, there has often been an assumption that high Machs
possess superior intelligence, or ability to understand other people in social situations. However,
research has firmly established that Machiavellianism is unrelated to IQ. Furthermore, studies on
emotional intelligence have found that high Machiavellianism actually tends to be associated with
low emotional intelligence as assessed by both performance and questionnaire measures. Both
empathy and emotion recognition have been shown to have negative correlations with
Machiavellianism. Additionally, research has shown that Machiavellianism is unrelated to a more
advanced theory of mind, that is, the ability to anticipate what others are thinking in social
situations. If high Machs actually are skilled at manipulating others this appears to be unrelated to
any special cognitive abilities as such.[2]

Relations with other personality traits

Machiavellianism is one of the three personality traits referred to as the dark triad, along with
narcissism and psychopathy. Some psychologists consider Machiavellianism to be essentially a
subclinical form of psychopathy,[12] although recent research suggests that while Machiavellianism
and psychopathy overlap, they are distinct personality constructs.[2][13] Machiavellianism has been
found to be negatively correlated with Agreeableness (r = -0.47) and Conscientiousness (r = -0.34),
two dimensions of the Big Five personality model (NEO-PI-R).[13] However, Machiavellianism
correlates more highly with the Honesty-humility dimension of the six-factor HEXACO model than
with any of the Big Five dimensions.[2] Machiavellianism has also been located within the
interpersonal circumplex, which consists of the two independent dimensions of agency and
communion. Agency refers to motivation to succeed and to individuate the self, whereas
communion refers to motivation to merge with others and to support group interests.
Machiavellianism lies in the quadrant of the circumplex defined by high agency and low
communion.[2] Machiavellianism has been found to lie diagonally opposite from a circumplex
construct called self-construal, a tendency to prefer communion over agency. This suggests that
people high in Machiavellianism do not simply wish to achieve, they wish to do so at the expense
of (or at least without regard to) others.[2]

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Game theory

In 2002, the Machiavellianism scale of Christie and Geis was applied by behavioral game theorists
Anna Gunnthorsdottir, Kevin McCabe and Vernon L. Smith[11] in their search for explanations for
the spread of observed behavior in experimental games, in particular individual choices which do
not correspond to assumptions of material self-interest captured by the standard Nash equilibrium
prediction. It was found that in a trust game, those with high MACH-IV scores tended to follow
homo economicus' equilibrium strategies while those with low MACH-IV scores tended to deviate
from the equilibrium, and instead made choices that reflected widely accepted moral standards and
social preferences.

In the workplace
Machiavellianism in the workplace is the employment of cunning and duplicity in a business
setting. It is an increasingly studied phenomenon. The root of the concept of Machiavellianism is
the book The Prince by Machiavelli which lays out advice to rulers how to govern their subjects.
Machiavellianism has been studied extensively over the past 40 years as a personality characteristic
that shares features with manipulative leadership, and morally bankrupt tactics. It has in recent
times been adapted and applied to the context of the workplace and organizations by many writers
and academics. The Machiavellian typically only manipulates on occasions where it is necessary to
achieve the required objectives.[14]

Oliver James identifies Machiavellianism as one of the dark triadic personality traits in the
workplace, the others being narcissism and psychopathy.[15]

A new model of Machiavellianism based in organizational settings consists of three factors:[14]

maintaining power
harsh management tactics
manipulative behaviors

The presence of Machiavellianism in an organisation has been positively correlated with

counterproductive workplace behaviour and workplace deviance.[14]

See also
Amorality The end justifies the means
Antisocial personality disorder Gaming the system
Cheating Malevolent creativity
Confidence game Manipulation
Crowd manipulation Might makes right
Deception Social dominance orientation
Divide and rule Strategy

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1. the Oxford English Dictionary "Machiavellian" as a word became very popular in the late 16th century
in English, though "Machiavellianism" itself is first cited in 1626.
2. Jones, Daniel N.; Paulhus, Delroy L. (2009). "Chapter 7. Machiavellianism". In Leary, Mark R.; Hoyle,
Rick H. Handbook of Individual Differences in Social Behavior. New York/London: The Guilford Press.
pp. 257273. ISBN 978-1-59385-647-2.
3. Anglo, 283 see also the whole chapter
4. Anglo, 286
5. Anglo, Chapters 10 and 11; p. 328 etc.
6. Project Gutenberg Jew of Malta text (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/901/901-h/901-h.htm)
7. Diderot, Denis (ascribed by Jacques Proust). "Machiavellianism." The Encyclopedia of Diderot &
d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Timothy Cleary. Ann Arbor: Michigan
Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2004. Trans. of "Machiavelisme," Encyclopdie ou
Dictionnaire raisonn des sciences, des arts et des mtiers, vol. 9. Paris, 1765. Accessed 31 March 2015.
8. Christie, R., and F. L. Geis. (1970) "How devious are you? Take the Machiavelli test to find out."
Journal of Management in Engineering 15.4: 17.
9. Christie, R. & Geis, F. (1970) "Studies in Machiavellianism". NY: Academic Press.
10. McIlwain, D. 2003. Bypassing empathy: mapping a Machiavellian theory of mind and sneaky power. In
Individual Differences In Theory Of Mind, eds. B. Repacholi and V. Slaughter. Macquarie Monographs
in Cognitive Science. NY: Psychology Press. 39-68.
11. Gunnthorsdottir, A., McCabe, K. & Smith, V. 2002 "Using the Machiavellianism instrument to predict
trustworthiness in a bargaining game". Journal of Economic Psychology 23, 49-66
12. Goleman, Daniel (2006). Social Intelligence.
13. Paulhus, D.L. & Williams, K.M. 2002. "The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism,
and psychopathy". Journal of Research in Personality 36 (2002) 556563
14. Kessler, SR; Bandeiii, AC; Spector, PE; Borman, WC; Nelson,CE; and Penney, LM 2010. Reexamining
Machiavelli: A three dimensional model of Machiavellianism in the workplace. Journal of Applied
Social Psychology, 40, 18681896
15. James O Office Politics: How to Thrive in a World of Lying, Backstabbing and Dirty Tricks (2013)

Anglo, Sydney. Machiavelli the First Century: Studies in Enthusiasm, Hostility, and
Irrelevance, p. 229, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-926776-6, ISBN
978-0-19-926776-7 Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=-K6zI1iw90AC&
Spielberger, Charles D; Butcher, James N. Advances in Personality Assessment, vol. 9.
(Hillsdale, NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992

External links
Machiavellianism (http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=DicHist/uvaBook
/tei/DicHist3.xml;chunk.id=dv3-15) in The Dictionary of the History of Ideas, online

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Machiavellianism - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machiavellianism

Machiavellianism test (MACH-VI) (http://personality-testing.info/tests/MACH-IV.php) is an

interactive version of the MACH-IV test of Machiavellianism.

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Machiavellianism&oldid=770543754"

Categories: Niccol Machiavelli Dark triad Machiavellianism Narcissism

Eponymous political ideologies Political terminology Psychopathy

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