Types of Workplace (Corporate) Psychopaths
From the books, Working with Monsters by Dr. John Clarke and Corporate Psychopaths: Organizational Destroyers by Dr. Clive Boddy
Summary by J. Scarlet
Most psychopaths are successful at avoiding detection, because they do not engage in violent criminal behavior. According to Dr. Hare, these types of psychopaths are able to control their anti-social impulses and are so clever and charming that they are able to avoid getting in trouble with the law, (Boddy, 39). Dr. Boddy characterizes these psychopaths as glib, superficially charming, having a grandiose sense of self-worth, accomplished liars, conning and manipulative, lacking remorse, emotionally shallow, cold and calculating, lacking empathy, and refusing to accept responsibility for their actions, (14).
Dr. Babiak, Dr. Hare, and Dr. Boddy have labeled this subtype as ’corporate’ psychopaths. Labeling them as ‘corporate’ can be misleading, however, because they do not all work at corporations. They can also be found in religious organizations, law enforcement, the military, politics, and even in medicine and education.
Dr. John Clarke is more specific and places these ‘successful’ psychopaths into three categories: ‘occupational’, ‘corporate criminal’, and ‘organizational’, though some psychopaths fall into more than one category. “Everything they do is in their own self-interest. How they satisfy their needs is what sets them apart,” (Clarke, 183). For the purpose of this paper I will explain Dr. Clarke’s subtypes.
The Occupational Psychopath
The occupational psychopath uses their occupation to satisfy their desires while avoiding or minimizing punishment, (Clarke, 76). They don’t necessarily want to climb the company’s ranks, because they enjoy the power and control that they already have. Psychopaths who are police officers, army officers, parking officers, security guards, or those who work for government agencies fall into this category, (76-77, 168 & 172).
Occupational psychopaths can exhibit violent and non-violent criminal behaviors and manipulate others in the workplace to escape detection, (Clarke, 180). They employ multiple tactics to gain complete control over their victims, (179). They play on their victims’ fears and emphasize their victims’ fates for disobeying them. Obedience is gained by getting the victims to think they are the only person that can be trusted, (180).
The Corporate Criminal Psychopath
The corporate criminal psychopath commits crimes in their workplace, or as a part of an organized ring devoted to corporate crimes, (Clarke, 65). “This category includes bank employees who defraud their employers, stock brokers involved in scams, builders who ‘con’ clients, real estate agents who dupe home owners, lawyers who spend their clients’ trust funds, second-hand car salespeople who alter cars to get a sale, gangs who are involved in identity theft and the use of fraudulent checks and so on,” (65-66). They rely on peoples’ greed and their low self-esteems to help them commit their crimes, (133).
When these psychopaths enter companies they make connections with people they can use to help them cover up their behavior, (Clarke, 125). They are usually superficial and brilliant at giving the ‘right’ impressions to con their victims, (67). They find weak spots in the systems that allow them to steal large amounts of money and avoid detection for long periods of time (125). They blend so well into organizations and societies that it is difficult to detect them until it is too late, (143).
The Organizational Psychopath
The organizational psychopath craves a god-like feeling of power and control over other people, (Clarke, 95). They prefer to work at the very highest levels of their organizations, because this allows them to inflict harm the most amounts of people, (60). Psychopaths who are political leaders, managers and CEOs fall into this category.
Organizational psychopaths generally appear to be intelligent, sincere, powerful, charming, witty, and entertaining communicators, (Clarke, 84 & 99). They quickly assess what people want to hear and then create stories that fit those expectations, (98). They will con people into doing their work for them, take credit for other people’s work and even assign their work to junior staff members, (92-93). They have low patience when dealing with others, display shallow emotions, are unpredictable, undependable and fail to take responsibility if something goes wrong that is their fault, (90-95).