Employee Psychopathy: Effects on Job Performance and Well-being – Public Talk At The 32nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP), July 18-23, 2021, in Prague, Czech Republic
You have surely seen my articles and posts about the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Yes, there are measurable personality traits that make it more likely for certain people to be successful entrepreneurs.
Over the past 6 years, I have specialized in psychopathy, a fascinating segment of clinical psychology.
And that is how I became named as the third author of a presentation at the prestigious 32nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP), July 18-23, 2021, in Prague, Czech Republic (see here certificate_of_contribution).
The question is now: how can that knowledge be transferred to employees?
We have started with the hypothesis – based on the general data on psychopathy – that the two facets of psychopathy also correlate negatively with well-being, and lo and behold, it only applies to secondary psychopathy. And NOT to primary psychopathy.
Primary psychopathy characterizes the affective aspects of psychopathy. This goes back to how we are internally wired up. Whatever happens or whatever training you undergo, this aspect almost never changes, similar to your eye color. Primary psychopathy materializes as a lack of empathy for other people and tolerance for anti-social orientations.
Secondary psychopathy are the anti-social aspects of psychopathy. It is all about rule-breaking and lack of effort towards socially rewarded behavior. People with a high degree of secondary sub-clinical psychopathy often had a bad upbringing. Secondary psychopathy can change during the course of a life.
People with secondary psychopathy often have visibly bad behavior in general. Consequently, people with extremely high secondary psychopathy quickly end up in jail. Where they are looked after by people with relatively low secondary psychopathy. Both the inmates and their guards often have a relatively high degree of primary psychopathy.
And Here Comes The Official Abstract of Our Talk
Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship of employee psychopathy to job performance and well-being. It was hypothesized that primary psychopathy (interpersonal/affective features, e.g., lack of empathy, manipulativeness) and secondary psychopathy (antisociality and behavioural deviance, e.g., impulsivity, rule-breaking) are negatively related to job performance and well-being.
Methods: Employees in Singapore (N=276), enrolled as university part-time students, participated in this study for course credits. They provided self-ratings using the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy scale and scales on Work Performance, Job and Career Satisfaction (for work-domain specific well-being), Positive/Negative Affect, and Satisfaction with Life. To minimize common method variance, well-being measures were obtained on average 11 days after measuring psychopathy.
Results: Hierarchical regression analyses showed for all outcome variables that psychopathy significantly explained additional variance over and above the control variables age and gender. Both primary and secondary psychopathy were significantly negatively related to job satisfaction. Only secondary psychopathy was significantly negatively related to work performance, career satisfaction, positive affect, and life satisfaction; it was significantly positively related to negative affect.
Conclusion: Results are of theoretical and practical importance, as they show different effects of the psychopathy traits. Secondary psychopaths perceive themselves as less performing on the job, experience less positive and more negative mood, and are generally discontent with their job, career, and life. As organizational employees, primary psychopaths experience equally low job satisfaction, but there are no negative effects on performance and other well-being outcomes. This can explain why not all psychopaths are unsuccessful psychopaths.
Keywords: Psychopathy, Well-being, Performance.
And here are the slides from SlideShare