Watching the news some days, you’d think a lot of companies were run by psychopaths. And, according to a recent study, some might well be. One of the authors of the study was hired by companies to evaluate managers — mostly middle-aged, college-educated, white males — for a management development program. It turns out that these managers scored higher on measures of psychopathy than the overall population, and some who had very high scores were candidates for, or held, senior positions. In general, managers with higher scores were seen as better communicators, better strategic thinkers, and more creative. However, they were also seen as having poor management style, not being team players, and delivering poor performance. But, apparently, this didn’t prevent some of them from being seen as having leadership potential. The authors conclude that “the very skills that make the psychopath so unpleasant (and sometimes abusive) in society can facilitate a career in business even in the face of negative performance ratings.”Does this mean that there is something right about sociopaths, or that there is something wrong about business?
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The corporate sociopath
From the Boston Globe's short excerpt/review of Babiak, P. et al., “Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk,” Behavioral Sciences & the Law (March/April 2010):