University Of Tasmania

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The dark side of emotional intelligence: the role of gender and the Dark Triad in emotional manipulation at work

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 17:12 authored by Hyde, J, Rachel Grieve, Kimberley NorrisKimberley Norris, Nenagh KempNenagh Kemp

Objective: This study investigated people's willingness to emotionally manipulate others maliciously and disingenuously in the workplace. It also examined the role of gender, emotional intelligence, and the Dark Triad traits in this destructive behaviour.

Method: A sample of employees (N = 765; 581 females, 184 males) from varying occupations completed measurements of emotional manipulation willingness in the workplace, emotional intelligence, and the Dark Triad.

Results: T‐tests revealed that females were significantly less likely than males to engage in both malicious and disingenuous emotional manipulation. In bivariate correlations, higher levels of emotional intelligence were associated with disingenuous emotional manipulation in females only. Emotional intelligence was also a significant contributor to disingenuous emotional manipulation in multiple regression analysis, indicating the existence of a “dark side to emotional intelligence” at work. In females, the magnitude of correlations (small to moderate) between the Dark Triad traits and both forms of emotional manipulation were similar. In males, both forms of emotional manipulation most strongly correlated with Machiavellianism, followed by narcissism, then psychopathy.

Conclusion: This study is the first to demonstrate that good emotional intelligence skills can facilitate undesirable workplace behaviours. Emotional manipulation is elevated in males with a relentless drive to achieve goals, and in females with broader deceptive tendencies.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Psychology










Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


Australian Psychological Soc

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1 Grattan Street, Carlton, Australia, Victoria, 3053

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Copyright 2020 Australian Psychological Society

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Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in psychology