Machiavellianism is a psychological construct that has been studied for more than 40 years. It refers to a personality trait (i.e., a relatively stable and defining feature of an individual) that is characterized by a person’s propensity to engage in cunning and manipulation in order to achieve their political ends. Machiavellianism is important in the context of political behavior, because it has been found to influence the way individuals behave at work and in political roles.


Born in 1469 in Renaissance Florence, Niccolò Machiavelli was an Italian author, historian, and politician. Now recognized as a founder of modern political science, Machiavelli wrote his book The Prince to help the young prince Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici acquire techniques of leadership, and more than half a millennium ...

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