Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Telegraph: Jonathon Pearlman - 1 in 5 CEOs are psychopaths, study finds

An Australian study has found that about one in five corporate executives are psychopaths – roughly the same rate as among prisoners. 

The study of 261 senior professionals in the United States found that 21 per cent had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits. The rate of psychopathy in the general population is about one in a hundred.

Nathan Brooks, a forensic psychologist who conducted the study, said the findings suggested that businesses should improve their recruitment screening. 

He said recruiters tend to focus on skills rather than personality features and this has led to firms hiring “successful psychopaths” who may engage in unethical and illegal practices or have a toxic impact on colleagues.

“Typically psychopaths create a lot of chaos and generally tend to play people off against each other,” he said.

“For psychopaths,  it [corporate success] is a game and they don’t mind if they violate morals. It is about getting where they want in the company and having dominance over others.”

The global financial crisis in 2008 has prompted researchers to study workplace traits that may have allowed a corporate culture in which unethical behaviour was able to flourish.

Mr Brooks’s research, conducted with a colleague from Australia’s Bond University and a researcher from the University of San Diego, was based on a study of corporate professionals in the supply chain management industry across the US. 

The findings, presented on Tuesday at the Australian Psychological Society Congress in Melbourne, are due to be published in the European Journal of Psychology.

The researchers have been examining ways to help employers screen for potential psychopaths.
“We hope to implement our screening tool in businesses so that there’s an adequate assessment to hopefully identify this problem - to stop people sneaking through into positions in the business that can become very costly,” Mr Brooks said.


Unknown said...

See also Snakes in Suits

Tom Hickey said...

Serious selection problem.

Not just psychopaths, either. Narcissists and megalomaniacs, in addition to alphas (dominance-centered) and control freaks. And we are now learning, a good many deviants and people with either no moral compass or a skewed one.

Matt is continually bring up incompetence in material system. There are also many "human" issues.

Many firms and non-profits do have processes to filter recruits psychologically. But once they slip in, they can be difficult to deal with.

It's a known problem and known to be difficult to deal with. There is also an incentive to hire smart people even though there known to be problematic. Firms generally only screen out people that are either difficult to work with or else create a liability to the firm when it comes to this, based on cost-benefit and risk-reward.

Kaivey said...

They're probably everywhere. In the government, in the military, in the intelligence services. It explains their cruelty.