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Article

Louise Boulter and Clive Boddy

The purpose of this paper is to better comprehend the subclinical psychopath's intra and interpersonal moral emotions in the context of their natural habitat, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better comprehend the subclinical psychopath's intra and interpersonal moral emotions in the context of their natural habitat, the workplace, alongside implications for employees and organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

This study draws on affective events theory (AET) to illuminate this dark-side phenomenon. Thematic analysis is used to identify themes from qualitative data collected from a small sample of interviews conducted with human resource management (HRM) directors and other managers.

Findings

The findings show that the subclinical psychopath is agentic, being unfettered by intra self-directed conscious moral emotions. The predominant moral emotion directed at employees during interpersonal workplace exchanges is typically anger. However, it appears likely the subclinical psychopath fakes this moral emotion as a smokescreen for manipulative and exploitative gains. The predominant moral emotion directed by employees towards the subclinical psychopath is fear. Employees resort to avoidance and withdrawal behaviour and intentions to quit become a reality.

Practical implications

The signalling quality of employees' moral emotions and subsequent dysfunctional avoidance and withdrawal behaviour can provide valuable information to HRM professionals in the detection of subclinical psychopaths which is acknowledged as notoriously difficult.

Originality/value

This study contributes new knowledge to subclinical psychopathy and makes novel use of AET to explore this personality type as a driver of employees' negative workplace emotions, the impact on employees' behaviour alongside implications for organisational effectiveness.

Details

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2051-6614

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Article

Anne Fennimore

The purpose of this paper is to adapt research conducted on subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians to conceptualise false agents in transaction cost economics (TCE)…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to adapt research conducted on subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians to conceptualise false agents in transaction cost economics (TCE). Both opportunism and information asymmetry provide a means to manipulate contractual relationships, pursuing existing loopholes for self-interest, while uncertainty and small-numbers bargaining allow false agents to exploit existing agreements during periods of rapid change, growth, and development. Considering differences in contract length preference may inform our understanding of subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians. Contextually, the rise of “quasi-governmental” hybrid organisations may produce an ideal prospect for “natural born” opportunists to reap self-interested benefits through contractual loopholes.

Design/methodology/approach

This theoretical paper addresses social norms and blind trust in contractual relationships. In turn, blind trust may provide clues about the environmental conditions that facilitate manipulation by subclinical psychopaths and Machiavellians during negotiations of contract term length.

Findings

Williamson’s (1975) TCE framework provides a novel approach to subclinical psychopathic and Machiavellian behaviour by agents. Assumptions about behavioural norms may differ between the contracting party and the agent, leading to positive behavioural expectations of trust such as confidence, reciprocity, and history. The length of the contractual relationship may distinguish subclinical psychopaths from Machiavellians. The subclinical psychopath is more likely to behave opportunistically in short-term contracts, while Machiavellians more likely amass goodwill to behave opportunistically in long-term contracts. The role of uncertainty, small-numbers bargaining, information asymmetry, and opportunism is particularly relevant in quasi-governmental organisations when agents are “natural born” opportunists.

Originality/value

This theoretical paper adds to discussion of TCE related problems in organisations. “Natural born” opportunistic agents are more likely to take advantage of principals who extend trust as a goodwill gesture in a contractual relationship. Trust often represents a mental shortcut, based on “gut” reactions to save time, especially in dynamic environments. Hybrid organisations represent one such environment, in which contracting of goods and services renders comprehensive monitoring impracticable. Yet, scholarship adheres to legal mechanisms as safeguards against opportunism without acknowledging social norms that guide blind trust. Finally, contrasting motives between principals and false agents creates an inherent relationship asymmetry.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 55 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article

Anne Fennimore and Arthur Sementelli

The purpose of this paper is to adapt the research conducted on subclinical psychopaths in the private sector and applies it to the public sector to build a conceptual…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to adapt the research conducted on subclinical psychopaths in the private sector and applies it to the public sector to build a conceptual frame for further research on subclinical psychopaths in public organisations. General characteristics of entrepreneurs often run counter to democratic values, and are more often aligned with private sector values. Public managers who display one of the dark-triad personalities, i.e., psychopathy, can pose a greater threat to democratic values and the state.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach of this paper is theoretical with the aim of proposing a conceptual framework that utilises Downs’ five types of officials governing bureaucracies, to illustrate a relationship between public entrepreneurs and subclinical psychopaths.

Findings

The conceptual framework presented in this paper suggests that psychopathic entrepreneurs can be identified within Downs’ bureaucratic framework specifically as climbers (due to inherent personality traits) and as zealots (heroic and altruistic behaviour for organisational causes, yet motivated by power, domination, and self-interest). The implications of psychopathic public managers who engage in entrepreneurial activities may be escalating public distrust, hostility, and dissatisfaction in government.

Originality/value

This theoretical paper adds to the growing body of criticism for public entrepreneurship by conceptualising how psychopaths, as climbers and zealots, affect public trust in terms of accountability and democratic values.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Book part

Seth M. Spain, P. D. Harms and Dustin Wood

The role of dark side personality characteristics in the workplace has received increasing attention in the organizational sciences and from leadership researchers in…

Abstract

The role of dark side personality characteristics in the workplace has received increasing attention in the organizational sciences and from leadership researchers in particular. We provide a review of this area, mapping out the key frameworks for assessing the dark side. We pay particular attention to the roles that the dark side plays in leadership processes and career dynamics, with special attention given to destructive leadership. Further, we examine the role that stress plays in the emergence of leaders and how the dark side plays into that process. We additionally provide discussion of the possible roles that leaders can play in producing stress experiences for their followers. We finally illustrate a dynamic model of the interplay of dark leadership, social relationships, and stress in managerial derailment. Throughout, we emphasize a functionalist account of these personality characteristics, placing particular focus on the motives and emotional capabilities of the individuals under discussion.

Details

The Role of Leadership in Occupational Stress
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-061-9

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Article

Dominik Paleczek, Sabine Bergner and Robert Rybnicek

The purpose of this paper is to clarify whether the dark side of personality adds information beyond the bright side when predicting career success.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to clarify whether the dark side of personality adds information beyond the bright side when predicting career success.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 287 participants (150♀, Mage=37.74 and SDage=10.38) completed questionnaires on the Dark Triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) and the Big Five (emotional stability, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness). They also provided information on their objective (salary and leadership position) and subjective (job satisfaction and satisfaction with income) career success. Regression analyses were used to estimate the Dark Triad’s incremental predictive value.

Findings

The results show that the Dark Triad only provides incremental information beyond the Big Five when predicting salary (ΔR2=0.02*) and leadership position (ΔR2=0.04*). In contrast, the Dark Triad does not explain unique variance when predicting job satisfaction or satisfaction with income.

Research limitations/implications

The exclusive use of self-rated success criteria may increase the risk of same-source biases. Thus, future studies should include ratings derived from multiple perspectives.

Practical implications

Considering the Dark Triad in employee selection and development seems particularly promising in the context of competitive behaviour.

Social implications

The results are discussed in light of the socioanalytic theory. This may help to better understand behaviour in organisational contexts.

Originality/value

This study is the first that simultaneously investigates all three traits of the Dark Triad and the Big Five in combination with objective and subjective career success. In addition, it extends previous findings by answering the question of whether the Dark Triad offers incremental or redundant information to the Big Five when predicting success.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article

Kristina Sesar, Arta Dodaj and Nataša Šimić

Intimate partner violence (IPV) represents a widespread social and public health problem. Researchers have been shown association between IPV and mental health problems…

Abstract

Purpose

Intimate partner violence (IPV) represents a widespread social and public health problem. Researchers have been shown association between IPV and mental health problems. The purpose of this paper is to present a review of the literature on relationship between wide ranges of mental health problems.

Design/methodology/approach

Research papers related to mental health problems among IPV perpetrators and published in leading academic journals in UK and abroad from 1987 to 2017 were identified and reviewed.

Findings

Although there were some equivocal findings, the authors found that most of the available research suggests that there is a variety of psychological health problems among IPV perpetrators. Specifically, there was evidence of a significant relationship between anger problems, anxiety, depression, suicidal behaviour, personality disorders, alcoholism or problem gambling and perpetration of IPV. Results from analysed studies identified high rates of co-morbid disorders in IPV perpetrators.

Practical implications

The findings highlight the need for treatment services to undertake screening and assessment of wide range of psychological difficulties to be able to provide best treatment approaches.

Originality/value

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review that has included studies evaluating various psychological health problems among perpetrators of IPV.

Details

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-9322

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Article

Mark N. Wexler

This paper aims to explore how and why the emerging literature in clinical psychology on the “successful psychopath” precedes the escalating middle class framing of the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how and why the emerging literature in clinical psychology on the “successful psychopath” precedes the escalating middle class framing of the contemporary corporation as a monster and points towards an increasingly credible version of systemic psychopathy.

Design/methodology/approach

Discourse analysis is used to isolate three distinct but interrelated argument forms in which the basic assertion is that “the corporation is a psychopath”. All three argument forms insist that the corporation lacks a conscience and point to a toxic schism on the boundary between the organization and its stakeholders or publics.

Findings

In Argument Form I, successful psychopaths enter and rise to prominence in the flexible, hypercompetitive context of the contemporary corporation. Once ensconced within the corporation, in Argument Form II, the psychopath creates the conditions for a scam which, when detected, gives rise to a flurry of breathless and very public corporate scandals. Argument Form III follows from II. In it the rogues and scoundrels – those increasingly caught in the high beams of a corporate scandal – once in positions of power and authority seek out allies, stifle those who would oppose them and begin to legitimize their scams as “business as usual.” Systemic psychopathy emerges when the appeal to “business as usual” conceals scams and supports conscienceless behavior.

Originality/value

This paper explains why increasingly, members of the middle class, those who in the past stood behind the corporation, are less than shocked to hear it characterized as a psychopath. The paper concludes with the implications of the intensifying portrayal of the dark side of the corporation for researchers studying the changing relationship between society and business.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

Content available
Article

Alan Diógenes Góis, Gerlando Augusto Sampaio Franco de Lima and Marcia Martins Mendes De Luca

The purpose of this study is to identify sociodemographic factors that are predictive of the level of everyday sadism (SAD) in the business area.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify sociodemographic factors that are predictive of the level of everyday sadism (SAD) in the business area.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted on 424 graduate and postgraduate students from business schools in Brazil and the USA. SAD was quantified by the assessment of sadistic personality proposed by Plouffe Saklofske and Smith (2017). The variables included age, gender, managing experience, education and nationality.

Findings

The average level of SAD was low. SAD was negatively associated with gender, age and nationality and positively associated with managing experience and education.

Practical implications

As individuals ascend professionally and academically, they display higher levels of everyday sadism. Depending on the context, dark personalities can cause either benefit or harm to the company's business and to society. However, the literature shows that seeking pleasure and dominance with no regard for consequences affects the business area directly or indirectly.

Originality/value

Very few studies have addressed everyday sadism in the business area, let alone evaluated predictive factors and discussed possible implications.

Details

RAUSP Management Journal, vol. 55 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2531-0488

Keywords

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Book part

Reginald L. Tucker, Graham H. Lowman and Louis D. Marino

Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits are often viewed as negative or undesirable personality traits. However, recent research demonstrates that individuals…

Abstract

Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits are often viewed as negative or undesirable personality traits. However, recent research demonstrates that individuals with these traits possess qualities that may be personally beneficial within the business contexts. In this chapter, we conceptualize a balanced perspective of these traits throughout the entrepreneurial process (opportunity recognition, opportunity evaluation, and opportunity exploitation) and discuss human resources management strategies that can be employed to enhance the benefits, or minimize the challenges, associated with Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits. Specifically, we propose that Machiavellian qualities are most beneficial in the evaluation stage of entrepreneurship, and Machiavellian, narcissistic, and psychopathic qualities are beneficial in the exploitation stage of entrepreneurship.

Details

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-263-7

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Book part

Karen Landay and Rachel E. Frieder

Stress and the military go hand-in-hand, particularly in combat environments. While some personality traits or types weaken relationships between stress and performance…

Abstract

Stress and the military go hand-in-hand, particularly in combat environments. While some personality traits or types weaken relationships between stress and performance, others, such as psychopathy, may strengthen them. In the present chapter, we consider the ramifications of individuals with high levels of psychopathy or psychopathic tendencies in the military with regard to both their own stress and performance and that of those around them. We discuss different reactions to psychological and physical stress, as well as the implications of psychopathic tendencies as they relate to current military issues, including gender, leadership, teamwork, turnover, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. By juxtaposing relevant research findings on stress and psychopathy, we conclude that psychopathic tendencies should have neither uniformly negative nor positive effects on stress and performance in the military. Rather, effects on such individuals and the peripheral others with whom they interact will likely vary greatly depending on numerous factors.

Details

Occupational Stress and Well-Being in Military Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-184-7

Keywords

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