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The dark side of management decisions: organisational psychopaths

Clive Roland Boddy (Middlesex University Business School, Perth, Australia)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 December 2006




This paper aims to look at some of the implications of organisational psychopaths for organisations and corporations.


This paper defines organisational psychopaths as being those psychopaths who exist at an incidence of about 1 percent of the general population and who work in organisations. The paper describes how these organisational psychopaths are able to present themselves as desirable employees and are easily able to obtain positions in organisations. Without the inhibiting effect of a conscience they are then able to ruthlessly charm, lie, cajole and manipulate their way up an organisational hierarchy in pursuit of their main aims of power, wealth and status and at the expense of anyone who gets in their way.


The paper suggests that, just as criminal psychopaths are responsible for a greater share of crimes than their numbers would suggest, so too organisational psychopaths may be responsible for more than their fair share of organisational misbehaviour including accounting fraud, stock manipulation, unnecessarily high job losses and corporately induced environmental damage.


The paper suggests that having organisational psychopaths running corporations that are themselves, at best, amoral is a recipe for negative consequences.



Boddy, C.R. (2006), "The dark side of management decisions: organisational psychopaths", Management Decision, Vol. 44 No. 10, pp. 1461-1475.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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