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We all have that one coworker that is a suspect. One that you wouldn’t like to work a night-shift alone, even if there are no concrete reasons for your paranoia. You just feel something is… off. A new study published in the Journal of Business Ethics may have an answer for your investigative mind. It suggests that psychopaths deal far better with mean and abusive bosses in the workplace. And you always felt weird that Stephen never trash-talked the evil Mr. Bossman around the water cooler.
Psychopaths don’t actually just “deal” or endure suffering better from abusive managers in command, they thrive under them.
Some indicators of an abusive manager are invading the privacy of their employees, gossiping and rudeness. This sort of thing makes normal people resent going to the office and make memes about their jobs and dreaded Mondays.
But psychopaths feel more positive and engaged with abusive bosses. The work showing this was actually done in two separate studies. In one, 419 volunteers received manager profiles and their reactions were measured. In a separate study, they were instructed to report on their real-life managers.
One of the authors of the study Dr. Charlice Hurst explained:
“There are primary and secondary dimensions of psychopathy. Both consist of high levels of antisocial behavior; however, people who score high in primary psychopathy lack empathy and are cool-headed and fearless. They don’t react to things that cause other people to feel stressed, fearful or angry.
Secondary psychopaths are more hot-headed and impulsive.
We found that primary psychopaths benefit under abusive supervisors. Relative to their peers low in primary psychopathy, they felt less anger and more engagement and positive emotions under abusive supervisors.”
This means that psychopaths may be good employees for certain types of managers and organizations, as they would experience low levels of stress and anger on the job. Yet, this doesn’t mean that this type of a relationship is good or recommended.
If you recognized yourself as a psychopath due to this study, just don’t apply for a job with us.