Do corporate leaders share certain psychopathic traits? And if so, can these traits be harnessed to the benefit of both the individual’s organisation and wider society?
Nick Lawrence is on a journey to find out. A lecturer in business and management at Hallam, his current research focusses on the leadership tendencies of successful psychopaths. We’ve been speaking with Nick to learn more about his ambition to challenge our perception of psychopathy.
Firstly, what exactly is a psychopath?
This is an interesting question and a good one to start with. One of the challenges facing researchers in the area of successful psychopathy is that there is currently no definitive or agreed upon definition.
From a psychology perspective, psychopaths are people that have a personality disorder characterised by a group of emotional, interpersonal, lifestyle and antisocial tendencies; however, if we then look at current definitions of successful psychopathy, some researchers believe that it is simply a psychopath that has evaded incarceration, while others believe they manipulate people to succeed in society or business.
A few researchers, like myself, believe that some psychopaths can control their maladaptive (negative) tendencies and utilise their adaptive (positive) tendencies to benefit society and organisations.