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The Psychopaths in the Office

Former Nottingham Trent University business professor Clive R. Boddy is hot on the trail of one of the crucial social questions of our time: Are the people at the helm of our financial institutions “corporate psychopaths” who lack a “conscience, have few emotions and display an inability to have any feelings, sympathy or empathy for other people”?

Unfortunately, Boddy’s short essay, published in the Journal of Business Ethics, is inconclusive. But the evidence promises a fascinating debate for those who take it up, one that could lead to a radical reworking of the way we organize and run all of our major institutions. –ARK

San Francisco Chronicle:

Boddy doesn’t name names, but the type of personality he describes is recognizable to all from the financial crisis.

He says the unnamed “they” seem “to be unaffected” by the corporate collapses they cause. These psychopaths “present themselves as glibly unbothered by the chaos around them, unconcerned about those who have lost their jobs, savings and investments, and as lacking any regrets about what they have done. They cheerfully lie about their involvement in events, are very convincing in blaming others for what has happened and have no doubts about their own worth and value. They are happy to walk away from the economic disaster that they have managed to bring about, with huge payoffs and with new roles advising governments how to prevent such economic disasters.”

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