Screening Corporate Psychopaths

Corporate Psychopaths are increasingly becoming part of the Human Resources zeitgeist.  Here are two articles that are examples of this shift: Is your boss a successful psychopath? and Is your workplace culture breeding narcissism?


Our local WEA (Workers Educational Association) recently ran a 2 hour session on Psychopaths & Sociopaths on Film &in Everyday Life.  One key theme in the workshop was that Corporate Psychopaths were suffering from the Anti-Social Personality Disorder which is a spectrum illness and that we all have some element of the corporate psychopath within our personality.  As a practitioner of the Humm-Wadsworth I can only agree with this hypothesis.


However what was interesting in workshop was when the facilitator discussed how you discover how much corporate psychopath is in a person.  The method suggested was some form of self-reporting scale based on a checklist.  She provided three examples:


  1. Kevin Dutton’s The Psychopath Challenge
  2. The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale
  3. Dr Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist (Revised) – PCL (R)


All three questionnaires are variants of the same theme. and all the developers highly recommend that when recruiting you screen candidates for their level of corporate psychopathy (using their own instrument of course).


My problem is this.  Let us say you are the standard organisation that uses either DISC or Myers-Briggs as your standard profiling instrument.  Because neither of these two tools includes psychopathy in their inventory you then have to use a separate instrument.  However self-reporting instruments are notoriously easy to fake, particularly by corporate psychopaths.  The secret if you want to pass any personality test is to pretend you are a conscientious optimist and lie accordingly.


For example take these two questions:


  • I quickly lose interest in tasks I start.
  • I make a point of trying not to hurt others in pursuit of my goals.


You would expect a person with strong corporate psychopathic tendencies would agree with the first statement and disagree with the second.  However the conscientious optimist would answer the opposite.  And of all people capable of faking the truth, the corporate psychopath is the most gifted.


This is a major reason I like the 7MTF/Humm-Wadsworth as a practical profiling tool.  Not only does it include the five factors in the Five Factor model, it also includes the corporate psychopath and corporate bully as two of its seven factors.  You do not need a separate instrument.



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