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Are (some) CEO's Sociopaths?


rhonda15

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CEOs in America (and elsewhere) make as much money as they do because there really is a shortage of people with their skill set. And it's such a serious shortage that some companies have to pay as much as $1 million a day to have somebody successfully do the job.

But what part of being a CEO could be so difficult-so impossible for mere mortals-that it would mean that there are only a few hundred individuals in the United States capable of performing it?

In my humble opinion, it's the sociopath part.

CEOs of community-based businesses are typically responsive to their communities and decent people. But the CEOs of most of the world's largest corporations daily make decisions that destroy the lives of many other human beings.

Only about 1 to 3 percent of us are sociopaths-people who don't have normal human feelings and can easily go to sleep at night after having done horrific things. And of that 1 percent of sociopaths, there's probably only a fraction of a percent with a college education. And of that tiny fraction, there's an even tinier fraction that understands how business works, particularly within any specific industry.

Are CEO's Sociopaths? - American Politics - Care2.com

It would be a serious mistake to suggest that most or all CEO's are sociopaths - however i would argue many of them very well may be.

the shenanigans that have gone on with the financial crisis and in this country with the property bubble, the businessmen and lawyers that have conned people out of their life savings (Madoff, Cheney and our own Breifne O'Brien)
How high-flying Breifne 'pulled in the suckers' - Analysis, Opinion - Independent.ie

It's time to face up to the fact that these people are capable of doing great harm to society - and systems should be put in place to deny them positions of trust and high political office - whilst also acknowledging the fact they can be quite gifted (in some areas) and they may have some benefits to society.

There has been much study done on this in the US and Canada.

Here are some great vids on the subject.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TWQgGSdB4U"]YouTube - Psychopaths in Marketing pt 1[/ame]

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA9-RB3runE"]YouTube - Psychopath - Psychopaths - Documentary - [part 1][/ame]
 
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Kensington

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CEOs in America (and elsewhere) make as much money as they do because there really is a shortage of people with their skill set. And it's such a serious shortage that some companies have to pay as much as $1 million a day to have somebody successfully do the job.
This is clearly not true. Most CEOs, particularly of the largest companies, have proven to be supremely incompetent. It appears that the higher paid a CEO is, the more incompetent he/she is.

They got the money purely because they could get away with it.
 

Raketemensch

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This is clearly not true. Most CEOs, particularly of the largest companies, have proven to be supremely incompetent. It appears that the higher paid a CEO is, the more incompetent he/she is.

They got the money purely because they could get away with it.
Incompetence is consistent with being a sociopath. The key factor is a brass neck. Recklessness. A bigshot financial CEO has to take massive risks with other people's livelihood on a regular basis and not be scared of the likely outcome of failure.
 

TradCat

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You could probably make the same claim about any group of people at the top of their profession from Trade Union leaders to football managers to politicians. Especially politicians. It's tiny little advantages that make a difference.

If Ronaldo was a bit slower we'd never have heard of him. If Steve Jobs was a little less single minded, Bertie Ahern a little bit more honest they would have been in the herd like most of us. A little edge and bit of luck is often enough.
 

BrendanGalway

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When you think about it, our society is setup for Sociopaths to prosper. Take a look at Business and Politics and note the similarities. To get to the top you need unwavering ambition and Ruthlessness. Psychopaths are believed to be quite common place. They are not as the movies would suggest cross-dressing knife-wielding maniacs. They are defined by a complete lack of empathy for fellow humans. They do not feel remorse for their actions at all.

Is it any surprise at the sense of disconnect we get from some of our Politicians? Or the sense of exploitation we feel from Big Business? Look at the mess we are in right now. Too many psychopaths worked their up the ladder and allowed their natural tendancies to set policy for our nation. We are in the crapper because Greed and ambition of the few have impacted on the lives of the many.

Dont be waiting for an apology. The Psychopaths greatest fear is getting caught. They can sleep soundly knowing what they have done.
 

cyberianpan

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This is clearly not true. 1) Most CEOs, particularly of the largest companies, have proven to be supremely incompetent. 2) It appears that the higher paid a CEO is, the more incompetent he/she is.

They got the money purely because they could get away with it.
Can you produce quality evidence proving your 2 points above ?

cYp
 

gaffer falls

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It is often said that if the actions and values of a typical corporation were transferred to a human being, the result would be a person with dangerous pychopathic tendencies.
 

Kensington

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Most CEOs, particularly of the largest companies, have proven to be supremely incompetent.
Well, what quality evidence do you want? AIB, BOI, Anglo Irish Bank etc. etc. There is a corner shop down the road from me that is surviving without Government bailouts, i think that is enough quality evidence on that point.

t appears that the higher paid a CEO is, the more incompetent he/she is.
Well, again, the highest paid CEOs have made the biggest loses. The huge banks in the USA, along with the auto companies, were the first to fall, causing this whole crisis. The CEO of the corner shop down the street did not go overborard in the Credit-default-swap market. That is enough quality evidence for point two.
 

Prester Jim

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I have met 1 woman I absolutely know to be a psychopath.
the percentage I read is 2-4% men 1-2% women are psychopathic.

very scary people. not really human at all in my opinion and experience. Biologically human but without empathy, ethics or soul (in a religious and non religious sense).
the percentage says we all know a few, but the factor 1 types can cshow a genius for mimicking humanity, remorse, emotions etc.
they do not really fear anything and wothout any moral compass they can develop truly twisted motivations.

there is every reason to believe that many people at the top of organisations are psychopaths (depending on the psychologist the same as sociopaths) as they have charm, ruthlessness and a will to succeed that many of the rest of us who care for someone such as a family could never hope to equal.

even scarier I have read they can recognise each other and I presume that means they can assist each other, cover up, promote etc.

they often gravitate to positions in charity work or other worthy causes to cover up their intentions etc. not just CEOs but plenty of other positions, you may be married to one and not know.

Factor1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"

* Glibness/superficial charm
* Grandiose sense of self-worth
* Pathological lying
* Conning/manipulative
* Lack of remorse or guilt
* Shallow affect
* Callous/lack of empathy
* Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Recognize anyone you know?


Factor 2s end up in prison, they are more chaotic with poor impulse control and often end up seriously assaulting someone. wouldn't want to piss one off but the factor 1s are scarier IMHO.

academic:
The Interpersonal World of the Psychopath
The Inner Landscape of the Psychopath: Hervey Cleckley
The Inner Landscape of the Psychopath

very scary the more you think about it...
 
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Prester Jim

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DCon

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even scarier I have read they can recognise each other and I presume that means they can assist each other, cover up, promote etc.
Like CJH recognised Bertie?
 

cyberianpan

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Most CEOs, particularly of the largest companies, have proven to be supremely incompetent.
Well, what quality evidence do you want? AIB, BOI, Anglo Irish Bank etc. etc. There is a corner shop down the road from me that is surviving without Government bailouts, i think that is enough quality evidence on that point.
That isn't quality evidence p it is a collection of anecdotes. A properly designed survey would look at a number of CEO performance factors (company performance relative to market, internal "soft" people focused scores, peer rating etc etc) And would have to be carried out of wide group of companies before you could use the word most.

However some evidence that would aid you here is in the book The Halo Effect.


t appears that the higher paid a CEO is, the more incompetent he/she is.
Well, again, the highest paid CEOs have made the biggest loses. The huge banks in the USA, along with the auto companies, were the first to fall, causing this whole crisis. The CEO of the corner shop down the street did not go overborard in the Credit-default-swap market. That is enough quality evidence for point two.
Again large scale study is needed and this is one, where I'm skeptical that your hypothesis would be proven by the research

cYp
 

DCon

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Factor1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"

* Glibness/superficial charm
* Grandiose sense of self-worth
* Pathological lying
* Conning/manipulative
* Lack of remorse or guilt
* Shallow affect
* Callous/lack of empathy
* Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Recognize anyone you know?
The entire FF party
 

Prester Jim

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Like CJH recognised Bertie?
Actually exactly what I was thinking.
I think they perceive themselves as superior, ruthless, cunning predators...
Subhuman IMHO and experience, deluded by lack of understanding of the rest of us.
 

Prester Jim

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I would love to do a study of the "elite" in this country and ind out the % of psychos.
problem is they (factor 1s) are hard to catch out and usually will not reveal themselves unlike the guy in the video.
 

Prester Jim

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I may well sound a little mad saying this myself but would it not make a lot of sense that many many politicians are indeed psychopaths.

It would be terrifying to be one of the few normal human politicians if you had the sudden revelation in the Dail bar.
 

Kensington

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That isn't quality evidence p it is a collection of anecdotes.
It is suported by empirical evidence. The banking institutions had amongst the highest paid CEOs in the world, yet proved to be supremely incompetent. The results of this detailed model can be seen all around you. It was demonstrated in real life.
 

cyberianpan

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It is suported by empirical evidence. The banking institutions had amongst the highest paid CEOs in the world, yet proved to be supremely incompetent. The results of this detailed model can be seen all around you. It was demonstrated in real life.
But such needs to be carefully gathered up & studied in order that you can use categorical words like most

Most CEOs, particularly of the largest companies, have proven to be supremely incompetent.
and again:
t appears that the higher paid a CEO is, the more incompetent he/she is.
Aren't high tech CEO's well paid ? Jack Welch in his day, oil company CEOs.... You really would need to go properly through that data before making such categoric statements on matters of fundamental importance

cYp
 

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