Do I win, does the company win, or do we both win? Moderate traits of the Dark Triad and profit maximization

Márcia Figueredo D’Souza, Gerlando Augusto Sampaio Franco de Lima, Daniel N. Jones, Jessica R. Carré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyzes the relationship between the maximization of personal and company gains and the moderate traits of the Dark Triad. The relevance of choosing this topic lies in investigating the attitude of executives who exhibit characteristics of a moderate intensity between the strong and weak traits. It is proven that the vision and charisma of narcissistic individuals, the strategy and tactics of Machiavellian individuals, and the creativity and good strategic thinking of psychopathic individuals are differentiating characteristics that enhance successful and integrative leadership and that are far from the more accentuated and opportunistic attitudes related to the strong traits, whose practices involve dishonest actions for personal gain. This evidence creates the possibility for strengthening the research in the accounting area, especially on the behavioral approach, in order to promote its interface with psychology and clarify how personality, values, and experiences influence managers’ choices when conducting business and how workers and companies are impacted by these decisions. The study is empirical-theoretical and involves 263 managers, adopting a survey as its data collection strategy and applying a self-reporting type questionnaire. The data analysis approaches included descriptive statistics, correlations, tests of means, and logistic regressions. In this study, managers with moderate psychopathic traits showed a lower tendency to maximize profit by manipulating results. An opposite tendency was revealed for those with moderate Machiavellian traits. The combined effect of the three Dark Triad traits was significant and positive, revealing opportunistic profit maximization. These findings contribute to future studies that aim to systematically analyze moderate levels of the triad and corroborate the findings that have revealed the common characteristics of manipulation, callousness, and dishonesty when investigating the interactive effect between the traits in question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalRevista Contabilidade e Financas
Issue number79
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Accounting
  • Dark Triad
  • Earnings management
  • Profit maximization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance


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