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Event Details

Wed, October 25, 2017

18:00 – 19:00

Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italia

A Dialogue with Marianna, Flotaki, Warwick Business School

Starting from the assumption that politics, media, business management and organizational settings are increasingly pervaded by a culture of narcissism, Professor Marianna Fotaki will look into the destructive potential of narcissistic processes in manipulating public opinion and negatively impacting policy making. Fotaki will also discuss how increasing narcissism among management and political elites is enabled by the public at large.

“Narcissism, is often applied to describe individuals who are incapable of empathy and totally unaware of other people’s needs or even their existence. Yet there seems to be a growth narcissistic leaders in politics, entertainment and media as well as business. Narcissists are good news for companies, because they have passion and dare to break new ground. But as Michael Maccoby (2000) argues, even productive narcissists are often dangerous as they are divorced from the consequences of their judgements and actions, whenever these do not affect them directly. They will strive at any cost to avoid painful realisations of failure that could tarnish their own image and will only listen to information they seek to hear, failing to learn from others.

Popular portrayals of corporate figures as ‘psychopaths’ who unscrupulously and skilfully manoeuvre their way to the highest rungs of the social ladder and are presented as fundamentally different from the rest of humanity. However, this is a misconception obscuring the pervasiveness of narcissism and mechanisms that enable it. I will argue that the increasing narcissism among management and political elites is also enabled by the public at large, who may be projecting onto them their own desire for power while splitting off ambivalent feelings emerging from this desire. This leads to a denial of reality and deflecting the citizens’ attention from a much-needed social critique. Understanding how narcissism is socially destructive and how it enables the manipulation of the public, is therefore a necessary first step to counteract such developments.”

– Marianna Fotaki

LPD – Dialogue on Advocacy, Activism and Reform

Featured Biographies

Marianna Fotaki


Marianna Fotaki is Professor of Business Ethics at University of Warwick Business School. She has a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and was also an Edmond J. Safra Network Fellow (2014–2015) at Harvard University. Before entering academia, Marianna Fotaki worked as a medical doctor for Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde in Turkey, Iraq and Albania and as EU residential senior advisor to the governments of Russia, Armenia and Georgia for 10 years in total. She has published over 50 articles on gender in organizations, inequalities, and the marketization of public services in leading international journals. Her recent books include Gender and the Organization (Routledge, 2017), Women at Work in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2017, co-authored with Nancy Harding) and The Psychosocial and Organization Studies: Affect at Work (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, co-edited with Kate Kenny). Marianna Fotaki currently works at the Economic and Social Research Council and at the British Academy/Leverhulme funded research on whistleblowing and corruption and conducts pilot projects on solidarity responses to refugee arrivals in Greece.