The strange sign that your coworker is a psychopath

Psychopaths deal better with mean bosses, a new study published in the Journal of Business Ethics has revealed.

Two studies were conducted, which found that some psychopaths thrive under abusive supervisors.

Markers of an abusive manager include invading the privacy of their employees, engaging in gossip and being rude.

Understandably, most people find this kind of behaviour stressful. But psychopaths feel more positive towards and more engaged with abusive bosses.

Researchers gave 419 volunteers manager profiles and measured their reactions. In a separate study, they were asked to report on their real-life managers.

Dr Charlice Hurst, one of the authors of the study wrote:

There are primary and secondary dimensions of psychopathy.

Both consist of high levels of antisocial behaviour; however, people who score high in primary psychopathy lack empathy and are cool-headed and fearless.

They don’t react to things that cause other people to feel stressed, fearful or angry.

Secondary psychopaths are more hot-headed and impulsive.

We found that primary psychopaths benefit under abusive supervisors.

Relative to their peers low in primary psychopathy, they felt less anger and more engagement and positive emotions under abusive supervisors.

The study’s authors went further to suggest that in a work context, psychopathic traits could enable employees to experience higher levels of well-being and lower levels of anger.

However, this manager/employee model isn’t necessarily a good thing.

At the extreme, [companies] could end up with a highly engaged workforce of psychopaths.


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