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Organizational (Corporate) Psychopaths

From the book, Working with Monsters by John Clarke

Summary by J. Scarlet

Psychopaths generally have an over-inflated, narcissistic sense of self-importance, (Clarke, 36).  It is common for them to pursue authoritative careers that give them status as opposed to “hands on” work. “It is the sense of ‘owning’ other people that is important for them, along with the challenge of gaining even more power and control in their workplace,” (95).

Organizational psychopaths find organizations that are constantly transitioning more desirable, (Clarke, 104).  They prefer them because these organizations allow them to use the confusion within the companies to mask their behaviors.  They can hide their actions more easily because they are seen as creative and dynamic, which are traits the companies need to move forward in a difficult business world.

These psychopaths possess good verbal skills, effectively manipulate others, are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals and may be creative in developing new ideas, (Clarke, 188). They “can quickly work out what they want people to hear, and create a story that corresponds with their listeners’ expectations…listeners are generally deceived by how the story is told rather than the story’s content,” (98).

“The psychopath might bully their way through a conversation, and by sheer force of their charm and personality, people will believe them.  If questioned about their facts the organizational psychopath will attempt to steer the conversation in another direction.  When the organizational psychopath’s lack of knowledge is found out, they show very little if any concern, and gloss over the gap in their story by reworking the facts.  Some organizational psychopaths are very proud of their ability to persuade people to do things they would not normally do by using their charm and good communication skills,” (Clarke, 100).

The organizational psychopath manipulates established social systems to cause confusion, to further their own careers and/or destroy the careers of others, (Clarke, 89).  They generally have two main goals, (59).  The first is to get to the top of their profession because of the financial rewards and power.  Their second goal is to be able to inflict suffering and misery on the people they work with, (60).

“Once the organizational psychopath has established how the company works, and how useful each colleague is, they set in motion a series of strategies that help them rise through the company ranks.  As they are promoted higher in the company, the organizational psychopath has greater power and control over the people around them.  Often it is when they reach the higher levels in an organization that they implement strategies designed to cause unnecessary stress for their workers, for no other reason than to watch them suffer,” (Clarke, 112).

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