Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 473–486 | Cite as

How to Spot a Careerist Early On: Psychopathy and Exchange Ideology as Predictors of Careerism

  • Dan S. Chiaburu
  • Gonzalo J. Muñoz
  • Richard G. Gardner


Careerism refers to an individual’s propensity to achieve their personal and career goals through nonperformance-based activities (Feldman, The Indus Org Psychol 39–44, 1985). We investigated the role of several dispositional predictors of careerism, including Five-factor model (FFM) personality traits, primary psychopathy, and exchange ideology. Based on data from 131 respondents, as expected, we observed that emotional stability was negatively correlated with careerism. Primary psychopathy and exchange ideology explained additional variance in careerism after accounting for FFM traits. Relative importance analyses indicated that psychopathy (relative weight percentage of explained variance = 42.1 %) and exchange ideology (relative weight percentage = 44.1 %) were equally important in predicting careerism. We highlight the need for future research efforts investigating the combined effects of contextual factors—particularly, human resource practices—and individual differences to understand careerism in the workplace.


Careerism Careerist orientation Five-factor model Psychopathy Exchange ideology Dark side personality Relative importance analysis 

List of Abbreviations


Five-factor model


Relative weight



We thank Mina Beigi and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, and Chris Berry, In-Sue Oh, and Ryan Zimmerman for data analysis advice. During the completion of this research, Gonzalo J. Muñoz was supported by grants from the Ministry of Education of Chile through its program “MECE Educación Superior 2,” and the University Adolfo Ibáñez, Santiago, Chile.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan S. Chiaburu
    • 1
  • Gonzalo J. Muñoz
    • 2
  • Richard G. Gardner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management, Mays Business SchoolTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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