Why 1 in 5 Supply Chain Managers Are Ruthless Psychopaths
when the discussion moved onto Psychopaths in the workplace.
Our focus was on CEO’s Top Ten Jobs for Psychopaths and whether excessive Control and Confidence could be signs of psychopathic behavior. This study of supply chain managers by Nathan Brooks, a Phd student at Bond University, as reported by Simon Evans in the Australian Financial Review, discusses psychopaths in the workplace and suggests it’s a broader corporate trait.
I should add these are Nathan’s findings, not mine, and that at least 4 out of 5 supply chain managers are as normal as you or I.
“Suppliers who’ve had bruising encounters with big retailers and other large companies may take some solace from research which shows that supply chain executives exhibit the highest levels of psychopathic tendencies in the corporate sector.
A study of 261 corporate professionals working in supply chain management found that 21 per cent of those individuals had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits such as insincerity, lack of empathy or remorse, egocentric behaviour and the ability to be both charming and superficial.
The study found the supply chain management professionals had similar levels of psychopathic traits to the broad prison population.
Nathan Brooks, a forensic psychologist from the Gold Coast who is working on a PhD at Bond University in Queensland with two other colleagues said the research showed supply chain executives and upper management were quite ruthless and able to strip emotion out of their decision-making.
“Ruthlessness is a big one. They’re very calculated,” Mr Brooks said.
“It’s a cold, clinical and calculated approach where they’re able to just look at what is in it for the company,” Mr Brooks said.
Mr Brooks presented the findings of the study into psychopathic traits in the business sector to an Australian Psychological Society congress in Melbourne on Tuesday. Co-researchers Dr Katarina Fritzon of Bond University and Dr Simon Croom of the University of San Diego also worked on the project.
Mr Brooks said he suspected that supply chain and logistics was an area of commerce which people with psychopathic tendencies gravitated toward because it was a segment where a lot of action took place and there was a degree of opaqueness about it.
Negotiations between suppliers and companies such as retailers who ultimately sold the end products were done behind closed doors and there was less transparency in that particular leg of the supply chain.
“There’s a lot of action, there’s a lot of gains to be made and there’s big money to be made,” Mr Brooks told The Australian Financial Review.
He said the research showed that “moral” judgements were not part of the consideration for a number of supply chain management professionals.
The trio of researchers had studied a range of data from various sub-sectors of the corporate world, but supply chain and logistics had been much higher than the others.
“It’s much higher than expected,” he said.
Mr Brooks said there had been a much greater emphasis on research in the corporate world on psychopathic tendencies around the world since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, which had been triggered by United States sub-prime mortgage defaults and the knock-on impact through the financial system.
He said at a general level about one person in every 100 in the broader community was considered to have the traits of a psychopath and the rate was one in five of those already in the prison system.
Mr Brooks said while the character traits of a psychopath enabled some to climb the corporate ladder and become successful, over the longer-term those same attributes often brought about their downfall.
“Long-term it probably brings them undone,” he said.
He said recruitment executives needed to place more importance on personality traits and a person’s character in hiring decisions than just having the right skills.”