To be "Machiavellian" is to accomplish tasks by means of elaborate scheming, duplicity, and trickery.

This term refers to Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian diplomat, politician, historian, philosopher, writer, playwright and poet who is best remembered for his book, The Prince, a study of brutal and cutthroat politics and how the "end justifies the means" in both personal and political struggles. This work is believed to be largely based on the career of Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), an Italian and Aragonese mercenary leader and politician.

For instance, researchers have identified the three factors that may define Machiavellianism in the workplace: maintaining power, using manipulative behaviors, and engaging in harsh management strategies.

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