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Study: Psychopaths In The Workplace More Common Than You May Think

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Are you convinced you’re working for a psychopath?

Well, according to a new study, there is a chance that you are right.

About one-fifth of top corporate professionals have ‘extremely high’ levels of psychopathic traits, according to the study.

Forensic psychologist Nathan Brooks says many businesses have their recruitment screening backwards.

“Too often companies look at skills first and then secondly consider personality features. Really it needs to be firstly about the candidate’s character and then, if they pass the character test, consider whether they have the right skills.”

Brooks says studies show one in 100 people in the general community and one in five people in the prison system are considered psychopathic, and these traits are common in the upper echelons of the corporate world, with a prevalence of between 3 percent and 21 percent.

Brooks says this has major implications for the business sector.

“As the successful psychopath may engage in unethical and illegal business practices and have a toxic impact on other employees.”

As part of his PhD, working with research colleagues Dr. Katarina Fritzon, of Bond University, and Dr. Simon Croom, of the University of San Diego, he examined psychopathic traits in the business sector.

One study of 261 corporate professionals in the supply chain management industry showed extremely high prevalence rates of psychopathy, with 21 percent of participants found to have clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits.

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