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Psychopathic Leadership A Case Study of a Corporate Psychopath CEO


Boddy, CR, Psychopathic Leadership A Case Study of a Corporate Psychopath CEO, Journal of Business Ethics, 145, (1) pp. 141-156. ISSN 0167-4544 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2015.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10551-015-2908-6


This longitudinal case study reports on a charity in the UK which gained a new CEO who was reported by two middle managers who worked in the charity, to embody (respectively) all or most of the ten characteristics within a measure of corporate psychopathy. The leadership of this CEO with a high corporate psychopathy score was reported to be so poor that the organisation was described as being one without leadership and as a lost organisation with no direction. This paper outlines the resultant characteristics of the ensuing aimlessness and lack of drive of the organisation involved. Comparisons are made to a previous CEO in the same organisation, who was reportedly an authentic, effective and transformational leader. Outcomes under the CEO with a high corporate psychopathy score were related to bullying, staff withdrawal and turnover as effective employees stayed away from and/or left the organisation. Outcomes also included a marked organisational decline in terms of revenue, employee commitment, creativity and organisational innovativeness. The paper makes a contribution to both leadership and to corporate psychopathy research as it appears to be the first reported study of a CEO with a high corporate psychopathy score.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:corporate psychopaths, leadership, transformational leadership, employee voice, leaderless-ness
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:128016
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2018-08-28
Last Modified:2018-09-10

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