October 14, 2012 by madmountie
Modern organizational management and Human Resource Development have been keenly aware for nearly 30 years that organizational psychopaths woven in and walking among the organization can have a catastrophic effect on their “business”, profit, reputation and survivability. You need to look only recently at the Wall Street and Bay Street collapses that were perpetuated by classic psychopathic behaviour driven by greed and arrogance.
Now take what we know as police officers that a large portion of crime is committed by a small number of offenders. Within that group of criminals psychologists have identified the characteristics of “psychopaths”. They are responsible for the highest degree of repeat offences and damage to society. Now consider a psychopathic employee/manager that when analyzed is responsible for a far higher than normal degree of workplace dysfunction by bullying, harassing and unethical manipulation. Therefore, the repeat offender/bad employee poses tremendous risk to us all, do you know any in a Detachment near you? Could this over time left unchecked cause the downfall of organizational culture and morale to the point of crisis? ………………Absolutely, are we there yet?
Here are some quotes and links to much smarter and skilled people than myself, take the time to read some of these over. I think you will be as surprised as I was as to see how relevant some of the research conducted to date may directly apply to the type of organizational challenges we are facing today. I only hope this is on the radar of Human Resources inside the RCMP.
When any organization or company finds itself in a period of downturn, poor morale, or productivity decrease it has to look hard at it’s future. Understanding it’s past successes and failures combined with being acutely attentive to the current and relevant operating environment will provide a starting point for corrective analysis.
Is it an internal or external driven dilemma that is responsible? This should be the first question that is asked. How can “I’ as a leader, “we” as a management team or “all of us” (employees) as collective stakeholders alter and correct the imbalance at the root of our failure.
Self analysis is tough, especially if you lie to yourself. We are hard wired to believe in ourselves as a survival mechanism, only when we become objective and self aware can we be completely honest with ourselves. Worse yet as an organization, if we believe too much in our past reputation and iconic status we tend to defend that reputation rather than earn it day in and day out. Everyone wants to be on a famous or winning team, if we lie to ourselves about the current state of affairs and bury our heads in the sand or placate our critics about “we are changing” without an honest evaluation of the problem we will lose. The reputation will tarnish and sooner or later by our own hand we will have become insignificant and self marginalized.
Together let’s look for problems inside and with ourselves…………………
The below passage is taken from
“Research has shown that individuals with Psychopathic tendencies are attracted to
positions, occupations and professions that afford opportunity to obtain power,
control, status, and possessions. They thrive very well on uncertainty and often target
senior members of staff, seeking support from and affinity with them, showering
them with charm and flattery, malignant gossip and rumour about peers, and false or
exaggerated claims of personal success. They may also target colleagues who are
perceived to have substantial:
· Expert Power : those with good technical abilities will be lucrative targets; their
expertise can be exploited and manipulated for the Psychopath’s own benefit.
· Knowledge Power : colleagues and peers who have access to information are
strong political players, whom a Psychopath will target to obtain up-to-date
information on company policy, strategy, products, and services.
· Resource Power : who controls staff, money and assets are also important
Targets can expect to witness the following cycle of behaviour:
· Assessment : a Psychopath will assess potential targets’ level of power based
upon the targets’ position in the organisational hierarchy and on the three
power variables listed above
· Manipulation : a Psychopath will effect a parasitic relationship with their
targets, through the use of charm and deviousness, raising the Psychopath’s
profile and reputation at the targets’ expense
· Abandonment : a target will be abandoned when the Psychopath believes that
their relationship no longer offers any benefits.
To other, less ‘important’, staff members – subordinates; colleagues who apparently
carry little political importance; back office staff – expect rude and aggressive
behaviours, circumvention of team processes and procedures, conflict, blaming
others, and the undercutting of others’ opinions. “
This article also states:
” Whatever the true cause, or causes, of Psychopathy – a defective Amygdala is not yet
conclusive – an individual with Psychopathic tendencies will score high on what’s
called The Two-Factor Model Of Psychopathy, developed by Harpur and Hare:
Factor 1: Emotional Impairment – Interpersonal/affective terms
· Glib/superficial charm
· Reduced anxiety levels
· Grandiose sense of self-worth
· Pathological lying
· Lack of remorse or guilt
· Shallow affect
· Callous/lack of empathy
· Failure to accept responsibility for own actions.
Factor 2: Behaviour – Impulsive/antisocial lifestyle items
· Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
· Parasitic lifestyle
· Poor behavioural controls
· Early behavioural problems
· Lack of realistic, long-term goals
· Juvenile delinquency.
Other items to look out for that fail to load on either factor include:
· Promiscuous sexual behaviour
· Many short-term marital affairs
· Criminal versatility.
Factor 1, Emotional Impairment, is the key point in separating Psychopathy from
APSD. Research has demonstrated that Factor 1 variables cross Social Economic,
gender, and ethnic boundaries; what’s different is the frequency and methods of
behavioural manifestations – Factor 2. For example, a young teenage male with high
Factor 1 Emotional Impairment from a poor, unstable, socially deprived background,
will be more likely to demonstrate higher levels of physically violent, impulsive, and
reckless Factor 2 behaviours – what would be called Reactive Aggression – than a
highly educated, professional woman, also with high Factor 1 Emotional Impairment,
who would be more likely to indulge in more manipulative, devious, goal-directed
Factor 2 behaviours – what we might call Instrumental Aggression.
Detecting incidents of Instrumental Aggression are important in unveiling individuals
in your organisation whose behaviours are intended to meet their own selfish, callous
and shallow ends, at the expense of organisational productivity, goals, teamwork, and
group cohesion. These individuals may also pose a danger to the Health and Safety of
other employees, putting your organisation at risk of expensive litigation, loss of
reputation, and, perhaps, loss of accreditation. You should also ask yourself whether
acts of Instrumental Aggression are in line with your organisational culture; I.e.
implicitly, or even actively, encouraged. Possible definitions of Instrumental
Aggression masquerading as ‘virtuous’ and ‘desired’ traits include:
· strong command-and-control leadership
· risk taking
· strength of character
If you believe these traits are desirable, or necessary, take a long, hard look at LONGTERM productivity levels, and look for consistency; you might find a pattern of
sharp peaks and deep troughs. Examine records of employee turnover and
absenteeism and you may find that the minority of employees who have stayed are
those who, probably, have demonstrated desired ‘strong leadership’; those who have
left, taking all their knowledge, skills, and experience with them, may have
demonstrated more collaborative and intellectual approaches to business – qualities
you have now lost.
Think, also, of the ethical impact of promoting Instrumental Aggression, its
correlation with incidences of Bullying and Harassment, and the concomitant levels
of stress, depression, and illness. If none of these issues are of concern to you, or you
pay mere lip service, then your organisation can be compared to a febrile, septic Petri
dish, witnessing the organic growth of a nasty, devious, manipulative, and shallow
culture, encouraging and, indeed, attracting, symbiotic individuals who, perhaps,
demonstrate high Factor 1 and Factor 2 scores, mirroring your organisation, and
reinforcing its culture. You need to ask yourself: when will this House of Cards
eventually fall? “
Here are two more links, one is an article, the other a powerpoint presentation. Take your time with the powerpoint and really read it well. I have a third document for you that I have had to purchase, it is in pdf, it is phenomenal, and as soon as I can upload it I will post it as a stand alone page.
Again, thanks for letting me vent, it is therapeutic and I am learning from your comments that I am not alone. That in itself is very comforting,
As always, Be Safe out there,
The Mad Mountie