An Australian study has found that about one in five corporate executives are psychopaths – roughly the same rate as among prisoners.
The study of 261 senior professionals in the United States found that 21 per cent had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits. The rate of psychopathy in the general population is about one in a hundred.
Nathan Brooks, a forensic psychologist who conducted the study, said the findings suggested that businesses should improve their recruitment screening.
He said recruiters tend to focus on skills rather than personality features and this has led to firms hiring “successful psychopaths” who may engage in unethical and illegal practices or have a toxic impact on colleagues.
“Typically psychopaths create a lot of chaos and generally tend to play people off against each other,” he said.