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How to spot a sociopath [psychopath] – 10 red flags that could save you from being swept under the influence of a charismatic nut job

This is an exceptional article that offers many tools we can use to spot psychopaths and empower ourselves when dealing with them. It is very comprehensive and I highly recommend it!


Characteristics of Corporate Psychopaths and Their Corporations

Summary by J. Scarlet

From the books, Snakes in Suits by Dr. Paul Babiak & Dr. Robert Hare, Corporate Psychopaths by Dr. Clive Boddy, Working with Monsters by Dr. John Clarke & Without Conscience by Dr. Robert Hare

“It is important to study [corporate] psychopaths because of the large-scale financial, environmental and human resources that many modern international corporations have at their disposal.  Many corporations are bigger financially than some nation-states: of the 100 largest economic entities in 2002, 50% were corporations,” (Boddy, 6).  The actions of some senior managers have destroyed corporations and such collapses have become more common in recent years, (1).  When these managers lie about their involvement in such catastrophes, walk away with huge payoffs and seemingly unaffected by the lives they have devastated, normal people wonder what kind of person would behave this way.  It is my hope that by compiling this paper the reader will understand the traits of corporate psychopathy and why it is important that employers screen for them.

Dr. Robert Hare states that a portion of the PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist-Revised), which was created to detect violent criminal psychopaths, also identifies corporate psychopaths, (Boddy, 7).  According to Dr. Hare, corporate psychopaths are glib, superficially charming, have a grandiose sense of self-worth, are pathological liars, conning, manipulative, lack remorse, are emotionally shallow, callous, lack empathy, and fail to take responsibility for their actions, (39).  He believes that criminal and anti-social definitions of psychopathy are inappropriate for corporate psychopaths so a revised definition should be used to detect them.

All psychopaths thrive off of the feelings of power and control they get from dominating their victims, but corporate psychopaths victimize people in primarily psychological ways, (Clarke, 10).  They seek out leadership positions because money, power, status and control are what make them tick, (Boddy, 5).  “Some psychopaths are violent and end up in jail; others forge careers in corporations.” (1).

Corporate psychopaths can control their behavior and that of others much more effectively than violent criminal psychopaths can, (Boddy, 42).  Although they appear charming, charismatic and likeable, corporate psychopaths are emotionally disconnected to others, viewing them as objects to be used, (2).  Of their psychopathic traits, the least noticeable are their manipulative behaviors and callousness, (42).

It is not difficult for these psychopaths to rise to very high levels in corporations, particularly in today’s uncertain and constantly changing corporate climates, (Clarke, 10).  There are actually three and a half times more psychopaths in senior managerial positions than there are in the general population, (Boddy, 104).  The managerial positions they move into exceed their abilities, but they are able to attain these positions because of the false personas they create, (3).  Corporate psychopaths masterfully fool others into believing they are talented and trustworthy, but in reality their behavior is extremely destructive, (2).

According to studies conducted by Dr. Clive Boddy, corporate psychopaths accounted for 26% of workplace bullying, (Boddy, 44).  When they were present in an organization, 93.3% of the employees witnessed bullying in the workplace, (60).  When they were not present, the percentage was 54.7%.  Not all corporate psychopaths are bullies, but the ones who are tend to be more abusive than charming, (Babiak & Hare, 187).  They humiliate, intimidate, harass and scare their victims, and will become vindictive if they don’t get what they want, (Boddy, 44).  They also encourage others to act these ways and such behaviors can spread through companies like a virus, (59).  “Employees who worked in organizations where corporate psychopaths were present experienced people yelling at them at work more than five times more frequently than did employees who worked in organizations where corporate psychopaths were not present,” (58).

Unethical leaders create unethical followers, which in turn create unethical companies and society suffers as a result, (Boddy, 169).  The more corporate psychopaths there are in a corporation, the less the corporation is socially responsible, environmentally friendly, beneficial to the community, and committed to its employees, (69).  Based on his research, Dr. Boddy developed the Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis: that corporate psychopaths, rising to senior positions within corporations, where they have considerable power and influence over the climates of the organizations have largely caused the financial crisis we are experiencing today, (164).

As Dr. Hare states in his book, Without Conscience, “If we can’t spot them, we are doomed to be their victims, both as individuals and as a society,” (Hare, 6).  Dr. Hare teamed up with Dr. Paul Babiak to develop the B Scan, a diagnostic tool used to screen for dysfunctional behavior in organizations.  More information can be found at

How Corporate Criminal Psychopaths Con Their Victims

How Corporate Criminal Psychopaths Con Their Victims

From Working with Monsters by John Clarke

Summary by J. Scarlet

Corporate psychopaths con their victims in stages, (Clarke, 134).  The first stage involves meeting the victim and bombarding them with so much information that the victim has no time to evaluate it.  The psychopath compliments the victim, who is often selected because of their loneliness or low self-esteem.  During this phase, the psychopath appears very friendly and helpful.  They will establish a rapport with the victim to ensure the victim’s false perception of them is solidified in the second stage, (134-135).

The third stage involves identifying the victim’s needs and emotional weak points, such as not feeling loved or being financially insecure, (Clarke, 135).  The psychopath then creates lies to make the victim believe their needs will be met if they trust the psychopath.

In the fourth stage, the psychopath creates emotional pain if the victim begins to doubt the psychopath’s credibility, (Clarke, 135).  At this point the psychopath may attack the victim for being ‘stupid’ not to trust them.  Since the victim has already imagined that their needs will be met, it is difficult for them to believe they have been conned so they continue supporting the psychopath, (136).

In the fifth stage, the psychopath employs reverse psychology on the victim, (Clarke, 136).  They criticize the victim for their lack of trust in the psychopath and suggest that the victim must lack courage or determination.  The victim loses confidence in their ability to make decisions because they’ve trusted the psychopath to take care of them and it’s proven to be a huge mistake, (137).

Consumer scams are effective ways for psychopaths to deceive larger numbers of victims, (Clark, 137).  The most common consumer scams involve property, superannuation, and investment seminars.  The needs of the victims are generally centered on financial success.

For example, the psychopath creates emotional pain by explaining to their audience that they are not millionaires, they don’t know how to invest, they are financially struggling, etc, (Clarke, 137-138).  Using reverse psychology, they suggest to their audience that it takes courage, determination and trust to invest in their ‘scheme’, (138).  At this point, the corporate criminal psychopath either sells them ‘investment packages’ that are over-inflated or they take their victims’ money and disappear.  It also is relatively easy for the corporate criminal psychopath to use their glib and superficial charm to steal a person’s identity in the process.

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