What is Machiavellianism? What Does Machiavellianism Mean?

What is Machiavellianism? What Does Machiavellianism Mean?

July 2, 2021 Off By Felso

Machiavellianism; It is the idea that advocates that every way can be used in order to ensure interests in politics and that accepts every way legitimate in this direction (Ülbeği, 2016: 90). Machiavellianism; characterizes individual characteristics in the pattern of manipulative and utilitarian attitudes. Machiavellianism, which is based on the book “The Prince” written in 1513 by Niccolo Machiavelli, who lived between 1469-1527, is an approach that includes shrewdness and hypocrisy (Kareshki, 2011: 414).


Niccolo Machiavelli argues that while we might want to look honest and good-looking, it’s not such a good idea. According to Machiavelli, in some cases, it is preferable to lie, not keep promises and even kill their enemies. He explains it as follows:

“A prince need not worry about keeping his promises. An effective prince must learn how not to be good. The most important thing is to stay in power, and almost any means are permissible to do so.”

Accordingly, the final result obtained is more important than how that result was obtained (Warburton, 2016: 83).

Nicccolo Machiavelli

Machiavelli’s approach to politics, in a way, includes his analysis of human nature. According to Machiavelli, man is born with the urge to have new things in his creation, that is, the desire to have is innate.

If the power is sufficient, the desired thing is achieved and this is seen as success by the environment. It means that if we allow someone else other than ourselves to gain power, it will bring our end.

Limited resources in the world and competition; increases the need for power. If the power one has is not enough to get what one wants, unhappiness is inevitable, in which case those who hold the power are envied by others (Dahling, Whitaker, & Levy, 2009: 223).

According to Machiavelli’s philosophy, it is better to be a feared leader rather than a loved one, and ideally, one should be both feared and loved, but it is quite difficult to achieve this.

Machiavellian attitudes legitimize selfishness, which negatively affects behavior. These attitudes can negatively affect the ethical climate in organizations and the political interactions in public administration (Akdoğan & Demirtaş, 2014).

The proposal of Machiavellianism to deprive politics of moral limitations does not include the legitimation of all immorality by politics. However, it refuses to evaluate political interactions only in the context of an abstract law (Baştürk, 2013: 77).

Machiavellianism expresses the personality trait that includes the attitudes of manipulating others for one’s own interests (Chen, 2010: 294). The Machiavellian personality does not see it as a wrong attitude to intrigue on behalf of his own interests and to manipulate with unfounded statements (Winter et al., 2004: 281).

Nicccolo Machiavelli

Individuals with a tendency towards Machiavellianism; They show apathy in interpersonal communication, indifference to accepted ethical norms, weak adherence to social teachings and similar tendencies.

Individuals with high Machiavellian tendencies interact emotionally with the individuals around them. In addition, there is a negative relationship between Machiavellianism and empathy, sincerity and honesty (Austin et al., 2007: 180).

However, low Machiavellian tendencies are associated with high work ethic (Simić, Motović, & Stojković, 2015: 205).

People who tend to Machiavellianism; Septic and apathetic tendencies are high, but they tend to direct the individuals around them. They are easily persuaded and hard to persuade (Katrinli, Günay and Zaptçıoğlu, 2013: 695).

The 4 SUB-DIMENSIONS OF MAchiavelism
moral deprivation

While will and reasoning have a place in moral behavior to a large extent, moral character; It is the transformation of moral behaviors into a tendency acquired as a result of repetition.

While reasoning, selection and will are active in the process of acquiring moral values ​​and becoming one’s own property; Afterwards, the state and attitude settled in emotions become active (Yazıcı and Yazıcı 2011: 54).

Today, morality tends to lose the good will in its nature (Köse, 2012: 14). The contradiction between social moral principles and the moral values ​​of the individual creates an environment for moral deprivation (Kayıklık, 2005: 18).

Moral deprivation can show itself in each of the social classes and is mostly seen in the political, business and commercial environment (Akdoğan, 2009: 37).


Insecurity causes people to be prejudiced and suspicious of those around them, to become increasingly withdrawn and then to have negative feelings towards the general public (Özler, Atalay, & Şahin, 2010: 48).

There is an inverse relationship between distrust of others and moral attitudes. When exposed to or thought to be threatened with existence, the individual is normally morally appropriate.