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I’m too good for this job: Narcissism’s role in the experience of overqualification

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Author(s): Maynard, D. C., Brondolo, E. M., Connelly, C. E., & Sauer, C. E.

Date: 2015

Resource: Applied Psychology: An International Review, 64(1), 208-232

Using relative deprivation theory, we examined the role of narcissism in moderating the relationships between objective overqualification and perceived overqualification, job satisfaction, and career-related work stress. Permanently employed participants (N = 292) completed an online survey, which included measures of narcissism, overqualification, and job attitudes. The exploitiveness/entitlement subscale of narcissism was positively associated with perceived overqualification, though only modestly (r = .13). Both exploitiveness/entitlement and perceived overqualification were associated with lower job satisfaction and higher career-related work stress. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that, unlike non-narcissistic employees, employees scoring high on exploitiveness/entitlement reported feeling overqualified even when they did not possess surplus education relative to job requirements. Surprisingly, while objective overqualification was positively associated with work stress for non-entitled employees, highly entitled employees did not experience greater work stress when objectively overqualified. We explore possible explanations for this finding, and outline future directions for research on narcissism and overqualification.

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