May 12, 2005
Business Leaders and Psycopaths: A Connection
No this post is not inspired by United Airlines leadership's move to cancel their workers' pensions. Though there may be a connection.
Yesterday's NY Times featured an interesting editorial which refrenced a stuyd of managers and psycopaths:
There has been anecdotal and case-study evidence suggesting that successful business executives share personality characteristics with psychopaths. The question is, are the characteristics that make up personality disorders fundamentally different from the characteristics of extreme personalities we see in everyday life, or do they differ only in degree?
In 2001, I compared the personality traits of 39 high-ranking business executives in Britain with psychiatric patients and criminals with a history of mental health problems. The business managers completed a standard clinical personality-disorder diagnostic questionnaire and then were interviewed. The information on personality disorders among criminals and psychiatric patients had been gathered by local clinics.
In fact, the business population was as likely as the prison and psychiatric populations to demonstrate the traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder: grandiosity, lack of empathy, exploitativeness and independence. They were also as likely to have traits associated with compulsive personality disorder: stubbornness, dictatorial tendencies, perfectionism and an excessive devotion to work.
For the entire editorial click here.
Thanks to Neuroethics and Law Blog for the tip.