The Info List - Machiavellianism

--- Advertisement ---

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


1 Political thought 2 Psychology

2.1 Motivation 2.2 Abilities 2.3 Relations with other personality traits 2.4 Game theory 2.5 Dimensionality

3 In the workplace 4 See also 5 References 6 Sources 7 External links

Political thought[edit] Main article: Niccolò Machiavelli 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 the St Bartholomew 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
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
The Jew of Malta
(1589–90) "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 3–4).[6] Marlowe's last play, The Massacre at Paris
The Massacre at Paris
(1593) takes the massacre, and the following years, as its subject, with the Duke of Guise and Catherine de' Medici
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] Psychology[edit] Main article: Machiavellian intelligence 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 themself 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 than females.[9][11] Motivation[edit] 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] Abilities[edit] 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 emotional 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[edit] 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] Game theory[edit] 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
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. Dimensionality[edit] Although there have been myriad proposed factor structures, two dimensions emerge most consistently within factor-analytic research - differentiating Machiavellian views from tactics.[14] Although the Mach-IV scale is unable to reliably capture the two dimensions, a 10-item subset of the scale known as the Two-Dimensional Mach-IV (TDM-V), reproduces the views and tactics dimensions across countries and sample types.[15] The views dimension appears to capture the neurotic, narcissistic, pessimistic, and distrustful aspects of Machiavellianism, while the tactics component captures the more psychopathic, unconscientious/impulsive, self-serving, and deceitful behavioural aspects. In the workplace[edit] Main article: Machiavellianism
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
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.[16] Oliver James identifies Machiavellianism
as one of the dark triadic personality traits in the workplace, the others being narcissism and psychopathy.[17] A new model of Machiavellianism
based in organizational settings consists of three factors:[16]

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.[16] See also[edit]

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


^ the Oxford English Dictionary
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. ^ a b c d e f g 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. 257–273. ISBN 978-1-59385-647-2.  ^ Anglo, 283 – see also the whole chapter ^ Anglo, 286 ^ Anglo, Chapters 10 and 11; p. 328 etc. ^ Project Gutenberg Jew of Malta text ^ 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," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 9. Paris, 1765. Accessed 31 March 2015. ^ 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. ^ a b Christie, R. & Geis, F. (1970) "Studies in Machiavellianism". NY: Academic Press. ^ 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. ^ a b 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 ^ Goleman, Daniel (2006). Social Intelligence.  ^ a b Paulhus, D. L. & Williams, K. M. 2002. "The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy". Journal of Research in Personality 36 (2002) 556–563. ^ Fehr, B.; Samsom, D.; and Paulhus, D. L., 1992. The Construct of Machiavellianism: Twenty Years Later. In C. D. Spielberger & J. N. Butcher (Eds), Advances in Personality Assessment (Vol 9), pp. 77–116. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. ^ Monaghan, C., Bizumic, B., & Sellbom, M. (2016). The role of Machiavellian views and tactics in psychopathology. Personality and Individual Differences, 94, 72–81. ^ a b c 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, 1868–1896 ^ 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 Spielberger, Charles D; Butcher, James N. Advances in Personality Assessment, vol. 9. (Hillsdale, NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992

External links[edit]

in The Dictionary of the History of Ideas, online Machiavellianism
test (MACH-VI) is an interactive version of the MACH-IV test of Machiavellianism.

v t e

Niccolò Machiavelli


Machiavellianism Pope Clement VII Emperor Maximillian I Louis XII of France Francesco Guicciardini House of Medici Italian Wars Republic of Florence Timeline of Niccolò Machiavelli


Discourse on Pisa On the method of dealing with the Rebellious Peoples of Valdichiana A Description of the Method Used by Duke Valentino in Killing Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, and Others A discourse about the provision of money Decennale primo Ritratti delle cose dell’ Alemagna Decennale secondo Ritratti delle cose di Francia Andria The Mandrake Della lingua Clizia Belfagor arcidiavolo The Golden Ass The Art of War Discorso sopra il riformare lo stato di Firenze Sommario delle cose della citta di Lucca The Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca Florentine Histories Frammenti storici The Prince Discourses on Livy

Wikiquote Wikisource texts

v t e

Psychological manipulation

Rewarding: pleasant (positive reinforcement)

Attention Bribery Child grooming Flattery Gifts Ingratiation Love bombing Nudging Praise Seduction Smiling Superficial charm Superficial sympathy

Aversive: unpleasant (positive punishment)

Anger Character assassination Crying Emotional blackmail Fearmongering Frowning Glaring Guilt trip Inattention Intimidation Nagging Nit-picking criticism Passive aggression Relational aggression Sadism Shaming Silent treatment Social rejection Swearing Threats Victim blaming Victim playing Yelling

Intermittent or partial negative reinforcement

Climate of fear Traumatic bonding

Other techniques

Bait-and-switch Deception Denial Deprogramming Disinformation Distortion Diversion Divide and rule Double bind Entrapment Evasion Exaggeration Gaslighting Good cop/bad cop Indoctrination Low-balling Lying Minimisation Moving the goalposts Pride-and-ego down Rationalization Reid technique Setting up to fail Trojan horse You're either with us, or against us


Abuse Abusive power and control Advertising Bullying Catholic guilt Confidence trick Guilt culture Interrogation Jewish guilt Jewish mother stereotype Moral panic Media manipulation Mind control Mind games Mobbing Propaganda Salesmanship Scapegoating Shame
culture Smear campaign Social engineering (blagging) Spin Suggestibility Whispering campaign

Related topics

Antisocial personality disorder Assertiveness Blame Borderline personality disorder Carrot and stick Dumbing down Enabling Fallacy Femme fatale Gaming the system Gullibility Histrionic personality disorder Impression management Machiavellianism Narcissism Narcissistic personality disorder Personal boundaries Persuasion Popularity Projection Psychopathy

v t e

Media manipulation


Bias Crowd psychology Deception Dumbing down False balance Half-truths Machiavellianism Media Obfuscation Orwellian Persuasion Psychological manipulation


Alternative media Boycott Civil disobedience Culture jamming Demonstrations Guerrilla communication Hacktivism Internet Media Occupations Petitions Protests Youth


Billboards False Infomercials Mobiles Modeling Radio Sex Slogans Testimonials TV Criticism of advertising

Censorship Regulation

Books Broadcast law Burying of scholars Corporate Cover-ups Euphemism Films Historical negationism Internet Political Religious Self


Alternative facts April Fools' Fake news website Fakelore Fictitious entries Forgery Gaslighting List Literary Racial Urban legend Virus


Branding Loyalty Product Product placement Publicity Research Word of mouth

News media

Agenda-setting Broadcasting Circus Cycle False balance Infotainment Managing Narcotizing dysfunction Newspeak Pseudo-event Scrum Sensationalism Tabloid journalism

Political campaigning

Advertising Astroturfing Attack ad Canvassing Character assassination Charm offensive Dog-whistle politics Election promises Lawn signs Manifestos Name recognition Negative Push polling Smear campaign Wedge issue


Bandwagon Crowd manipulation Disinformation Fearmongering Framing Indoctrination Loaded language Lying press National mythology Techniques

Psychological warfare

Airborne leaflets False flag Fifth column Information (IT) Lawfare Political Public diplomacy Sedition Subversion

Public relations

Cult of personality Doublespeak Non-apology apology Reputation management Slogans Sound bites Spin Transfer Understatement Weasel words


Cold calling Door-to-door Pricing Product demonstrations Promotion Promotional merchandise Telemarketing

v t e



In fiction In the workplace


Anti-social behaviour Bold Callous Diminished empathy Disinhibited Grandiose Impulsive Lack of guilt Manipulative Pathological lying Remorseless Shallow affect Superficially charming

Related topics

Antisocial personality disorder Conduct disorder Dark triad Flying monkeys History of psychopathy Juvenile delinquency Machiavellianism Macdonald triad Narcissism Psychopathic Personality Inventory Psychopathy
Checklist Sadistic personality disorder Sexual sadism disorder Sociopathy

Notable theorists

Hervey M. Cleckley George E. Partridge Robert D. Hare

Authority control

LCCN: sh85079312 GND: 4168418-7 BNF: