Status-seeking drives many to socialize with others in an effort to elevate their status, though this desire may never be fully realized.
Furthermore, status hierarchies are dynamic and delicate (Pettit, Doyle, Lount & To, 2016; Sivanathan, Pillutla & Murnighan, 2008). Envy towards those of high status serves as an affective and social-functional mechanism to maintain these boundaries.
1. The Desire to Be Special
The desire to be recognized can have a powerful influence over entitled behavior. Some individuals believe they deserve recognition regardless of how hard they worked or what contributions they made, while others hold this belief due to being spoiled by their parents or authority figures.
This type of thinking can lead to an inaccurate assessment of one’s worth and lack of empathy towards others. In extreme cases, this sense of entitlement may even be the result of a personality disorder such as narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.
Researchers have noted a connection between childhood social class and feelings of entitlement. A recent study by psychologists from the University of Toronto and Stanford demonstrated this phenomenon: individuals raised in high-class environments felt far more entitled to social standing than their lower class counterparts.
These findings have profound ramifications for the socioeconomic inequality that continues to plague our society. Furthermore, they offer insight into how childhood experiences may shape a person’s feelings of self-worth and self-image in later life.
Narcissistic personalities typically display a sense of entitlement that stems from their belief in their superiority to other people, and that they deserve better treatment and access to resources than others.
These individuals typically display self-centeredness and lack an interest in promoting the common good. Furthermore, they may be unforgiving, unwilling to let go of their demands. These demands often come with tantrums or angry outbursts which cause great stress for those close to them.
2. The Desire to Be Dominant
People with a sense of entitlement often exhibit the desire to be dominant. This emotion has an immense effect on one’s behaviour, attitude and self-worth.
Dominance can mean different things to different people, but it usually entails someone who exudes confidence and assertiveness. Dominant personalities make excellent leaders in the workplace and typically enjoy working alongside others and encouraging them to reach their full potential.
They can be helpful and supportive in personal relationships, especially when a partner is struggling or needs motivation to keep going. But they tend to be more controlling than other personality types so it’s essential to recognize both their strengths and shortcomings when dating or working with them.
According to Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, a board certified psychiatrist in Houston, there are several ways you can tell if your partner has an urge towards dominance behaviors.
1. Be wary of their egocentric tendencies and how much they talk down to you. They may only tell you what they believe you need to hear, not always paying full attention.
2. Be on the lookout for them to try and thwart your efforts to win. These individuals often have an agenda and will engage in bullying, tantrums, and threats if they don’t get what they want.
3. Be willing to say “No” to them. While this may be difficult for some, it’s the only way to keep them in check and prevent them from using your time as a means for their own gain.
People with an entitlement attitude can be challenging to manage, but it is possible to learn how to cope and move on. By understanding their behavior, you can avoid becoming caught in their cycle of victimization and manipulation.
3. The Desire to Be Prestigious
There are two paths to social rank: prestige and dominance. Prestige-based strategies involve sharing expertise, demonstrating skills, and realizing socially valued achievements which foster respect and voluntary deferral from others; on the other hand, dominance-based tactics involve fear gained through intimidation or coercion despite subordinates’ resistance.
Therefore, it is crucial to assess whether entitlement refers to either of these two distinct methods of attaining status (Cheng & Tracy, 2013; Cheng et al., 2012; Maner & Case, 2016). Furthermore, people with more entitlement may feel compelled to pursue both types of status strategies simultaneously.
To test this hypothesis, we conducted a study to explore the relationship between entitlement and status motivation. In five studies, it was discovered that entitled individuals were more motivated to achieve prestige and dominance (Studies 1A, 1B, and 2A) as well as more vulnerable to benign and malicious envy when encountering high-status others (Studies 3A, 3B, and 3C).
These results support our primary hypothesis that entitlement is linked to motivation to achieve status. They also predict benign and malicious envy, suggesting that status-seeking in entitled people combines affective and motivational processes known to regulate social hierarchies (Crusius & Lange, 2017; Lange & Crusius, 2015b).
The implications of this account are that more entitled individuals may experience affective reactions designed to protect their status goals when faced with threats. This might include developing hubristic pride after success in status pursuit or feeling shame when not meeting expectations (Grubbs & Exline, 2016). Furthermore, cognitive distortions caused by excessive entitlement could exacerbate these emotions (Grubbs & Exline, 2016).
4. The Desire to Be a Leader
One of the most prevalent patterns in entitled behavior is an aspiration to lead. Leadership is defined as having the capacity to motivate others and inspire them towards positive change; a skill which can be developed through hard work, dedication and empathy.
Many self-styled leaders interview well and gain leadership positions, but lack team spirit. As a result, they tend to make decisions that benefit themselves alone – often at the expense of those around them.
Furthermore, leaders engaged in entitled behavior often complain and deflect responsibility. This shows a lack of leadership maturity and emotional intelligence, as well as becoming an emotional drain for those receiving complaints.
Another interesting finding regarding entitled behavior is that people who believe they have earned their position tend to be less generous toward their colleagues than those who don’t. This was demonstrated through experiments testing the hypothesis that individuals who believed they had earned their place would be more generous than those who didn’t.
These findings help managers comprehend the personalities of employees with higher levels of psychological entitlement and how best to manage them. Psychologically entitled individuals typically prefer autonomy in their work, and managers tend to observe them from a distance rather than being overly intrusive with supervision or feedback.
Managers dealing with psychologically entitled employees should set clear expectations regarding when and how supervisory communications and performance feedback will take place. They also need to allow adequate time between these episodes so the employee has time to process their emotions and respond appropriately.
5. The Desire to Be Creative
Creative people possess an innovative outlook, often due to their openness to new experiences and willingness to think outside the box. While they may focus on their successes and accomplishments, creative thinkers always search for new approaches that will help them reach their objectives.
Research reveals that creativity can come at a price when perceived as an exclusive trait. Thus, it’s not uncommon for entitled individuals to behave unprofessionally and even dishonestly when expected to be creative in the workplace.
Creativity can have detrimental effects on individuals and organizations alike, despite its widespread perception as a valuable attribute in the workplace. A series of laboratory experiments and a study of supervisor pairs revealed that creative individuals who believed their talent was rare were more likely to engage in dishonest behavior.
In another experiment, 98 MBA students completed writing prompts and word puzzles. Additionally, they took measures measuring their feelings of uniqueness, affect, and power.
Participants who felt entitled performed significantly better than their counterparts on all creativity tasks, suggesting that entitlement has an effect on creativity. This could be because individuals with higher levels of entitlement may have a stronger drive to be unique and superior than others.
Though not every instance of creative behavior is morally questionable, research does indicate that those with a high sense of entitlement can be quite aggressive when they believe they deserve more than others. They may have difficulty working collaboratively and feel resentment towards others when their wishes don’t get fulfilled.