Coporate Psychopaths

Recent research has demonstrated that many psychopaths are in control of senior management positions.

“A surprising research has found out that there could be an increased number of psychopaths in high levels of businesses especially at senior managerial positions. This correlation has been demonstrated by a talented undergraduate Carolyn Bate, aged 22, of the University of Huddersfield.

According to Bate, her project was triggered when she read about research which showed that while one percent of population were categorized as psychopaths, the figure rose to three percent when it comes to business managers.”

Several authors have researched this topic, as the following references demonstrate it. Be aware of it.

  • Leadership and the rise of the corporate psychopath: What can business schools do about the ‘snakes inside’?
    • “Leadership styles are reviewed and reassessed given recent research that links
      destructive leadership behaviours exhibited by unscrupulous executives with traits commonly identified as indicators of corporate psychopathy.”
    • Destructive leadership and the rise of the corporate psychopath
      • exploration of the ‘dark side’ of leadership is equally critical because of the negative impact that these leaders have on
        • productivity (Ouimet, 2010),
        • employee morale (Boddy, 2011)
        • the financial performance of the organisation (Takala, 2010)
    • Psychopathy
      • Clinically, psychopathy is a disorder of the personality (Andrews & Furniss, 2009),
        involving a lack of empathy and attachment to other s, superficial charisma and charm,
        manipulation, and the violation of social norms (Hart, et al., 1994)
      • Put simply, people without a conscience or empathy may be categorised
        as psychopaths (Hare, 1999)
    • Corporate psychopaths
      • Searching to explain unethical, deviant and criminal executive behaviour, scholars haveidentified a number of corporate executive leaders that portray sub-clinical psychopathy traits,
      • Such leaders have been referred to in the literature as successful corporate
        psychopaths (or executive psychopaths, industrial psychopaths, organisational psychopaths, or organisational sociopaths) in an attempt to distinguish a psychopathic individual operating in
        business from other successful psychopaths
      • Successful corporate psychopaths have been characterised as
        • self-serving,
        • opportunistic,
        • ego-centric,
        • ruthless and
        • shameless, and yet who are also charming, manipulative and ambitious
  • Leaders without ethics in global business: Corporate psychopaths (Boddy, Ladyshewsky, & Galvin, 2010)
  • Psychopathy, intelligence and emotional responding in a non-forensic sample: an experimental investigation
    • “It may be the case that higher levels of intelligence facilitate the regulation of emotional responses in individuals with high levelsof psychopathy. Given that psychopaths have been demonstrated to be capable of regulating their GSRs (Steinberg & Schwartz,1975), these individuals may
      understand and be able to reproduce normative physiological responses to
      evocative stimuli, which could facilitate their remaining undetected in wider
      society. Thus, our findings may have implications for understanding the phe-
      nomenon of corporate psychopaths (Boddy, Ladyshewsky, & Galvin, 2010)”
  • Boddy, C. R. (2011). The corporate psychopaths theory of the global financial crisis. Journal of Business Ethics, 102(2), 255-259.
  • Boddy, C. R. (2010). Corporate psychopaths and organizational type. Journal of Public Affairs, 10(4), 300-312.

Hippolyte Bayard and the first staged photograph

Hippolyte Bayard was a french photographer and pioneer who invented a photographic process known as direct positive printing. He claimed to have invented photography before the two other inventors that have the credit for the  invention of photography ( Louis-Jacques Mandé Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot ).

In protest, he photographed himself as a drowned men, in what is believed to be the first staged photography in history.

Hippolyte Bayard – Drownedman (1840)

More info on Hippolyte Bayard:

How Lewis Hine’s photos helped end child labor in the US

In the begining of the twentieth century, child labor was still a common practice in the US. Lewis Hine was an american photographer who documented this reality with his camera and helped changing the public opinion against it.

Child labor

Child labor

Child labor

Child labor

Child labor

Child labor

Child labor

Child labor

More info about Lewis Hine:

Cultures of fear and bullying in organizations

Culture of fear (from

Ashforth discussed potentially destructive sides of leadership and identified what he referred to as petty tyrants, i.e.leaders who exercise a tyrannical style of management, resulting in a climate of fear in the workplace.[28]

In a study of public-sector union members, approximately one in five workers reported having considered leaving the workplace as a result of witnessing bullying taking place. Rayner explained these figures by pointing to the presence of a climate of fear in which employees considered reporting to be unsafe, where bullies had “got away with it” previously despite management knowing of the presence of bullying.[27]

Typology of bullying behaviours

With some variations, the following typology of workplace bullying behaviours has been adopted by a number of academic researchers. The typology uses five different categories.[31] [32]

  • Threat to professional status – including belittling opinions, public professional humiliation, accusations regarding lack of effort, intimidating use of discipline or competence procedures
  • Threat to personal standing – including undermining personal integrity, destructive innuendo and sarcasm, making inappropriate jokes about target, persistent teasing, name calling, insults, intimidation
  • Isolation – including preventing access to opportunities, physical or social isolation, withholding necessary information, keeping the target out of the loop, ignoring or excluding
  • Overwork – including undue pressure, impossible deadlines, unnecessary disruptions.
  • Destabilisation – including failure to acknowledge good work, allocation of meaningless tasks, removal of responsibility, repeated reminders of blunders, setting target up to fail, shifting goal posts without telling the target.

Abusive workplace behaviours

According to Bassman, common abusive workplace behaviours are:

  • Disrespecting and devaluing the individual, often through disrespectful and devaluing language or verbal abuse
  • Overwork and devaluation of personal life (particularly salaried workers who are not compensated)
  • Harassment through micromanagement of tasks and time
  • Overevaluation and manipulating information (for example concentration on negative characteristics and failures, setting up subordinate for failure).
  • Managing by threat and intimidation
  • Stealing credit and taking unfair advantage
  • Preventing access to opportunities
  • Downgrading an employee’s capabilities to justify downsizing
  • Impulsive destructive behaviour

Bullying in information technology

Another interesting article about the subject, focusing in IT :

Robert Capa and D-Day

Robert Capa is one of the most famous photojournalists of the 20th century. He was also one of the founders of the Magnum Photos association. One of his amazing achievements was being present at the D-day landing at Omaha Beach, in Normandy. He managed to take 106 photos during this event, but unfortunatelly, only 11 have survived, because the film negatives suffered an accident in his London lab.



More about Robert Capa and D-day:

Downsizing: brief literature review

Downsizing is an enterprise management practice used for different reasons in different contexts. It has been widely studied in research literature.
For an introduction to the topic (and to be prepared to deal with it if it knocks on your door), I recomend the following articles. I recomend you to take a special look at the sections regarding the impact and consequences in the company culture and in survivors.
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Byzantium lives

The Byzantine Empire is also known as the East Roman Empire and it continued to exit for more almost 1000 years after the fall of Rome (476 AD), until the fall of Constatinople (1453 AD). Roman civilization and values were preserved during all this time in Constantinople, now Istanbul. It’s a very inspiring civilization.

Celebrating this new site, I recomend some interesting books about the Byzantine Empire:

  • Byzantium: The Early Centuries, by John Julius Norwich
  • Byzantium: The Apogee, by John Julius Norwich
  • Byzantium: The Decline and Fall,
  • A History of the Crusades, Vol. I: The First Crusade and the Foundations of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, by Steven Runciman
  • A History of the Crusades, Vol. II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100-1187, by Steven Runciman
  • A History of the Crusades, Vol. III: The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades, by Steven Runciman

More tech and art comments to follow !