Could the secret to business success be locked in our genes? A new RMIT study is investigating how families pass on entrepreneurial traits – and the positive role of narcissism in business success.
Having previously found that grandiose narcissism does in fact run in families, the researchers are now examining how these similarities between parents and offspring extend to entrepreneurship.
PhD researcher Gabrielle Miles, from RMIT’s School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, is leading the new project to determine how narcissism in families relates to people’s attitudes to money, financial risk taking, and other reward-seeking behaviours.
“While narcissism often has a negative connotation, as a personality trait at moderate levels it can also have some beneficial adaptive aspects, like the development of psychological resilience,” Miles said.
“This research will help us understand why some individuals and families go on to be particularly successful entrepreneurs while others seem to have difficulty with certain types of financial or business decisions, or have no interest in business at all.
“We’re focused on investigating the degree to which psychological traits and attitudes related to business success are transmitted genetically within families.”
For the new study, supervised by RMIT’s Associate Professor Andrew Francis and Professor Kosmas Smyrnios, the researchers are recruiting 60 families to take part.
Participants are asked to complete online questionnaires and tasks (taking about 45 minutes) and to provide saliva for genetic analysis.
None of the procedures are invasive or involve face-to-face contact with the researchers, with all data collected remaining anonymous and strictly confidential.
The project builds on the team’s previously published work that showed narcissism runs in families.
That research, which looked at 144 Australians from 36 biological families, was published in the prestigious international journal Psychiatry Research.
For interviews: Gabrielle Miles.
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