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1 in 5 CEOs are psychopaths, according to a study

1 in 5 CEOs are psychopaths, according to a study

May 6, 2021

Many people already intuited that to be a high position in an organization it is necessary to be made of a special wood , but there are always investigations on the subject that may surprise us.

There is a very recent one, in particular, that is totally shocking, since it indicates that among the general directors the proportion of psychopaths is around 21%, almost the same as that found among inmates in American prisons.

An investigation on psychopaths at the controls

The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Bond University forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks, used for their analysis a group of 261 senior US managers who work today in companies from different sectors. These senior profiles included CEOs, presidents and CEOs, which allowed for the opportunity to study the psychological characteristics of people with high decision-making power in organizations.


It is in this group of people that it has been estimated that 1 out of 5 presents the characteristics that define psychopathy , something that is even more curious considering that, when we talk about the amount of psychopaths that there are in the population in general, the proportion drops to approximately 1%.

When success and power is everything

The Telegraph collects the statements of Nathan Brooks Regarding how it is possible that such a proportion of people with psychopathic traits have been detected among senior officials. According to him, this is due to a flaw in the style of personnel selection: Human Resources members tend to value more the work and academic experience than the data related to the personality of the candidates, which makes successful psychopaths can access to positions of high responsibility manipulating, harming potential competitors in the search for promotions and making the events that occur in the company play in their favor.


However, there is another possible explanation for this fact: that the activities that have to be done when a senior manager of a large company is in charge fit well with the way of being of people with psychopathic traits. In a competitive market and in which self-interest prevails, little or no capacity to empathize and the ability to manipulate psychopaths can be an advantage that helps to access good salaries and to stay in important positions.

After all, psychopaths, unlike sociopaths, are able to hide their disinterest in the rules and feelings of others and make these characteristics useful without getting into trouble, or directly meet social standards more basic to not enter into conflict with the law and make their lives without harming others to a greater extent than it does the rest of their fellow citizens. This makes it possible for them to win the sympathy of others and build a positive public image.


There are precedents

Of course, these results can be questioned with total legitimacy; after all, in psychology a single study does not serve to find a universal and unquestionable truth , and it is necessary to contrast this information with other investigations.

However, this study, which will be published soon in the journal European Journal of Psychology, is not the first to suggest that among the groups that run medium and large companies, the relative number of psychopaths is much greater than that distributed by the population in general. In a research conducted in 2010, for example, the results pointed to the number of psychopaths that can be found among corporate positions is 4%, that is, 4 times more than what is normal in the total population .


Could Your Boss Be a Psychopath?! (May 2021).


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