Historical champions of shareholder capitalism: were they corporate psychopaths? The case of Albert Dunlap
Boddy, CR, Historical champions of shareholder capitalism: were they corporate psychopaths? The case of Albert Dunlap, BAM2018 Conference Proceedings, 4-6 September 2018, University of the West of England, pp. 1-23. ISBN 978-0-9956413-1-0 (2018) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Reflectively harnessing a tool to assess whether a prominent industry figure and "champion of shareholder capitalism", in 20th century US business history, could be classified as being a corporate psychopath, this article examines aspects of the career of Albert Dunlap who was CEO at Sunbeam Corporation. Psychopaths and corporate psychopaths are defined as background to the article. A measure of corporate psychopathy is outlined to identify corporate psychopaths in business history. This measure is then used in relation to Albert Dunlap. The article concludes that at least some ethical scandals and failures such as those at Sunbeam Corporation, have been characterized by the presence of CEOs who were simultaneously the lauded agents of capitalism and high scorers on a measure of corporate psychopathy. The article concludes that using this historical approach to the study of potential corporate psychopaths informs ideas about what types of organizational outcomes corporate psychopaths can generate.
Refereed Conference Paper
corporate psychopaths, leadership, toxic leadership, business history, shareholder capitalism, ethics