One in five chief executives are psychopaths, study says

Jessica Morris
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Not everyone agrees that having psychopaths in the workplace is an inherently bad thing (Source: Getty)

Most of us have listened to a family member, friend or colleague moaning about a "psychopathic" boss, but it appears there’s a chance their complaints are actually justified.

Australian forensic psychologist Nathan Brookes' study found 21 per cent of 261 corporate professionals displayed psychopathic traits — far greater than the general population in which the rate is about one per cent.

Read more: Here's where Trump sits on the psychopath scale

ABC reported that Brookes said employers should use the findings to screen new recruits for psychopathic traits. He warned that an inability to empathise means they have the potential to wreak havoc on organisations.

"If [candidates] were to come up high [on the psychometric test] it would then be a thorough clinical interview, potentially looking at problem-solving and reasoning based scenarios," Brookes said.

"And then the next step, if they still passed that, would be looking at a prolonged probation period where they were rated on the third party measure by co-workers and also a manager."

Read more: Is it better or worse to be a corporate psychopath?

However, not everyone agrees that having psychopaths in the workplace is an inherently bad thing. Academic Kevin Dutton and ex-SAS author Andy McNab have argued “good psychopaths” are beneficial to society.

Dutton and McNab used fictitious characters like James Bond to illustrate their point, counterposing them against that of the surgeon who is unable to insert a scalpel into their patient due to a paralysing overdose of empathy.

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