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Are Psychopaths Running this Company?

Are Psychopaths Running this Company?

A recent study suggests a link between psychopaths and corporate leaders. Kipp is, in no way, surprised.

January 9, 2012 4:10 by

Don’t you love it when research confirms the feelings you have had for ages? Being the know it all, that we are, Kipp sure as hell does. Take for instance when we heard of the suggestions of one academic who links the maniacal psychopathic qualities, your boss is most likely to possess, to those at the top of the corporate ladder. Genius!

A rather popular academic article by one professor Clive R.Boddy from the Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University is making the rounds on the internet for his rather interesting hypothesis. Boddy says psychopaths are the 1 percent of “people who, perhaps due to physical factors to do with abnormal brain connectivity and chemistry” lack a “conscience, have few emotions and display an inability to have any feelings, sympathy or empathy for other people.”

As such these people are “extraordinarily cold, much more calculating and ruthless towards others than most people are and therefore a menace to the companies they work for and to society.” These qualities are also extremely vital to making it to the top of an organization—and not caring when and if the company goes down. A particular pertinent observation in these troubled times.

In particular, Boddy’s description of the psychopath leader’s reaction to any kind of financial meltdown in a company rings particularly true: they ““present themselves as glibly unbothered by the chaos around them, unconcerned about those who have lost their jobs, savings and investments, and as lacking any regrets about what they have done. They cheerfully lie about their involvement in events, are very convincing in blaming others for what has happened and have no doubts about their own worth and value. They are happy to walk away from the economic disaster that they have managed to bring about, with huge payoffs and with new roles advising governments how to prevent such economic disasters.”

So does it take a special kind of psychopath to make it to the top? If you have been working here for a while, you probably don’t need to conduct a survey to confidently respond in the affirmative. Yet the fact that psychopaths’ are best able to charm and successfully climb the corporate ladder speaks volumes of the kind of corporate culture encouraged and the kind of attitudes we tend to reward. Rather than play the victim in this scenario, is it not those higher ups who are promoting and appreciating the ruthlessness displayed by certain employees, who are to be blamed here? Until we can begin to see responsible corporations being responsible in their recruits and their promotions-chances are the psychopaths will be in charge.

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1 Comment

  1. John on January 10, 2012 11:16 am

    This research is so true. Back in the mists of time I worked at an asset management company in the City of London. I was replaced by someone who displayed all the qualities and behaviours outlined above, and is still there 11 years later whilst everyone else around have have fallen by the wayside…


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