Articles

The Psycho-path to Disaster: Coping with SOB Executives (2014)

Manfred Kets de Vries

"SOB effect on org life"

SOBs don’t usually end up in jail or psychiatric hospital but they do thrive in an organizational setting. SOBs can be found wherever power, status, or money is at stake. Outwardly normal, apparently successful and charming, their inner lack of empathy, shame, guilt, or remorse, has serious interpersonal repercussions, and can destroy organizations. Their great adaptive qualities mean they often reach top executive positions, especially in organizations that appreciate impression management, corporate gamesmanship, risk taking, coolness under pressure, domination, competitiveness, and assertiveness. The ease with which SOBs rise to the top raises the question whether the design of some organisations makes them a natural home for psychopathic individuals. This article describes SOBs, and explores ways of identifying such people, both from an organisational and individual perspective.

Organizational Dynamics, 2014

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