Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Corporate Psychopaths

John Clarke is someone i admire and respect. I am in awe of his latest book and would urge any of you with a curious mind to race out and grab hold of a copy. I am just pissed off that he got to write about psychopaths before me!! Ah well, there's always plenty of amunition for a budding criminologist such as myself to sink my teeth into.

THEY are callous, egotistic and destroy their victims, but serial killers and rapists are not the only type of psychopaths. In fact, you could be working with one.Criminologist John Clarke, a consulting profiler for NSW Police, said most psychopaths were not homicidal maniacs, but worked and lived unchallenged in society.
He has written a book about his work as a consultant to corporations who call on him to deal with workers who create problems in their organisations because they exhibit psychopathic traits.
His book, Working with Monsters, identifies the psychological tendencies of the workplace psychopath.
Like their violent counterparts they are superficially charming, have a grandiose sense of self-worth, a need for excitement, and are pathological liars.

"They have an absolute lack of remorse, a lack of guilt for what they do," Mr Clarke said.
"It's a parasitic lifestyle, they live off other people, take credit for other people's work, ... have a sense of entitlement, are very narcissistic and often exhibit promiscuous sexual behaviour."
It is not exactly known how psychopaths come to be, but most authorities agree that it is a combination of genes, biology and the environment that produce the psychopathy syndrome, or cluster of behaviours.
There are different types of workplace psychopaths, but for some of them the main objective is to get to the top of an organisation for the financial rewards and power it brings, according to Mr Clarke.
Their second aim is to revel in the suffering and misery they exert on people.
They can also be corporate fraudsters who steal from their organisation by being brilliant con artists, or they can use their jobs to act out their psychopathic tendencies on people.
"Just incidentally, the workplace psychopath is very nice to talk to. Very, very nice," Mr Clarke said.
"Out of all the killers and rapists and everyone, the workplace psychopath is the most interesting."
This is because they are extremely clever and have very good verbal skills.
But workplace psychopaths have a devastating affect on corporations and co-workers.
"For the people they work with, who they actually victimise, it's absolutely devastating, (and causes) anxiety disorders, depression, heart problems, relationship problems and stress beyond belief," Mr Clarke said.
In the beginning, a corporation may value the psychopath because they attain success at any cost.
But they over-promise and cannot deliver and eventually customers get frustrated and take their business elsewhere.
"It costs the corporation money," he said.
It is estimated that between 1 and 3 per cent of the adult male population and between 0.5 and one per cent of the adult female population are psychopaths.
"It's a small proportion of the population, but the damage they do is out of all proportion to how many there are," Mr Clarke said.
"Everywhere they go they affect people's lives and they will con and manipulate everyone around them."
People who think they may be working with a workplace psychopath should be reminded that there are many types of people with poor social and managerial skills, Mr Clarke said.
"But for those who really think they do have a psychopath, they should really seek professional help."

4 Comments:

Blogger Jennyta said...

Sounds worryingly like two if the headteachers I have worked with!!
That is a really interesting post. In our counselling course last weekend, we had a lady in to talk to us who has worked for years in high security units, including Broadmoor and she worked with the Yorkshire Ripper among others. What struck me particularly about her was that she seemed to have no sense of humour - not sure if that was related to her work or not really.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Jenny, i find it very common amongst my colleuges....no sense of humor OR they are so easy going its not funny. There appears to be no middle ground, especially with the men.
For me, i swear if i never had a sense of humor i would have to quit what i do.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Oh yes, Michelle, a sense of humor is vital for one's sanity! I would ask to borrow your copy of this book because I'm now on the long library waiting list for it (means about 6 months), but I remember reading that you don't like to lend out your books. That is no laughing matter. WHat is LOL, is that I totally relate to that. I am genorous with so many things, but my books, well, you follow my drift!
Terrific post. Sounds like we'd hvae a field day discussing books. Oops, I never finished that comment on your book post. Will try to get there now.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

GEL, i am certain we could spend hours discussing all types of books! Yes your right, i did say i don't like to lend them. I used to at one stage, but i never seem to get them back,strange as it sounds my books are part of me :)

7:18 PM  

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