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Psychopathy screening for public leadership


Boddy, CR, Psychopathy screening for public leadership, International Journal of Public Leadership, 12, (4) pp. 254-274. ISSN 2056-4929 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1108/IJPL-08-2015-0023


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to re-open a debate as to whether candidates for public leadership should be screened for psychopathy.

Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper which examines the diffuse literature concerning psychopaths in public leadership positions.

Findings: Psychopathy researchers have been divided as to whether psychopathic individuals should be screened out of leadership positions in public and corporate life. Recent evidence from bullying research and historical research into psychopaths in politics sheds new light on this issue.

Practical implications: There is increasing evidence that psychopaths are detrimental to the organisations they work for, to other employees, to the environment and to society. Screening for psychopathy should therefore be considered. This may help to prevent governments entering into illegal wars and committing crimes against humanity. Screening in the corporate sector may also help prevent the worst excesses of greed and fraud that were evident in collapses like Enron and the Mirror Group as well as in the events leading up to the global financial crisis of 2008.

Originality/value: The paper makes a contribution to the literature on public leadership by bringing together the diverse reports on the effects of psychopaths in public organisations like the National Health Service, publicly listed corporations, academia and politics. The paper uses historical and corporate examples to illustrate the initially favourable impression that psychopathic leaders can make but the ultimately disastrous outcomes they engender.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:leadership, corporate psychopaths, toxic leadership, psychopaths
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Research Field:Organisational behaviour
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in commerce, management, tourism and services
UTAS Author:Boddy, CR (Professor Clive Boddy)
ID Code:128011
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2018-08-28
Last Modified:2018-08-28

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