Dr. Robert D. Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak, specialists in psychopathy studies, were interviewed on the subject of corporate psychopaths who commit fraud thus causing serious damage to organizations, their affiliates, and clients. It is emphasized that not all psychopaths are fraudsters, but some fraudsters are psychopaths. The interview is focused on who psychopaths are, why they are dangerous to corporations, and how corporate psychopaths can be detected and treated.
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First of all, the interviewees speculate on what constitutes psychopathy. Associated with the lack of compassion and the inability to experience deep emotions, psychopathy causes egocentric, manipulative, and remorseless actions. Psychopaths only care about their well-being and ignore the needs, feelings, or problems of other people. They are also incapable of feeling guilty. However, people may display irresponsible or predatory behavior that does not make them psychopaths. There are scientific methods of diagnosing psychopathy. They are based on the ability to bond emotionally, care for others, etc. On the scale of 0 to 24, most people receive a score of 0 or 1, meaning they are not psychopaths, although they may or may not at times do things associated with psychopathic personalities. Probable psychopathy starts at a score of 18 out of 24.
The next concern is why psychopaths are a threat to corporations where they work. By definition, psychopaths do not pursue corporate goals or serve clients’ interests. They are only after their profit. Corporate psychopaths lie to their supervisors, colleagues, and clients about their backgrounds, experiences, actions, etc. They strive for gaining access to resources, for which purpose they are ready to do things considered immoral. Once they have access, they tend to abuse it. Hare and Babiak mention cases where corporate psychopaths committed fraud that cost their companies millions of dollars. After taking as much as possible from their positions, psychopaths leave for other corporations, thus completing the three-phase behavior pattern of assessment, manipulation, and abandonment. Sometimes they are not even reported because their previous employers do not want to admit that they had hired a psychopath, we’re manipulated and failed to detect the manipulation.
Therefore, it is critical to identify psychopathic fraudsters. The problem is that psychopathy often features excellent mimicking and pretending skills. For example, psychopaths know how to make good first impressions. That is why corporate psychopaths are difficult to detect at the job interview stage as well as after they are hired. They secure their positions in corporations by manipulating decision-makers and getting formal and informal leaders to like them. A way to reduce the risk of hiring a psychopath is to check all the facts on a person’s resume and have several HR specialists interview the person. However, if a psychopath is already hired and his or her fraudulent actions are exposed, it is suggested by Hare and Babiak to avoid labeling a person a psychopath because it is “rarely useful.” Instead, a standard procedure should be conducted with presenting verified facts and, if necessary, beginning legal actions.
Hare and Babiak conclude that psychopaths cannot be “rehabilitated” because they are aware of their motivation and comprehend the consequences of their actions. Thus, the main concern is that organizations should be aware of corporate psychopaths’ manipulative strategies. It will help avoid damage from psychopathic fraudsters.