Skip to main content

The Dark Triad’s incremental influence on entrepreneurial intentions

Vitaliy Skorodziyevskiy Benjamin D. McLarty Jeffrey Muldoon
Journal of Small Business Management. March 3, 2021

View Publication


Prior work shows an inconsistent directionality of the influence of the Dark Triad (DT) traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) on the formation of entrepreneurial intentions. Building on the theory of planned behavior (TPB), we sought to test the incremental effect of the DT on entrepreneurial intentions above the variables in the TPB’s framework (entrepreneurial attitude, perceived behavioral control, and subjective norms) in an attempt to help decipher factors that contribute to entrepreneurial mindset. In addition, we controlled for the Big Five personality traits of potential entrepreneurs to ensure that we captured the incremental influence of the DT beyond other personality factors. Based on a sample of 345 working adults in various industries in the United States and consistent with our theorizing, we demonstrate that Machiavellianism and psychopathy, but not narcissism, predict entrepreneurial intentions above and beyond TPB and Big Five variables. As such, our study offers evidence that DT traits are an integral part of entrepreneurial mindset and new venture creation.