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Corporate Psychopaths, Transcript of Interview with Clive Boddy, Author, part 1

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Clive Boddy : Well I think people come to be bully's for a variety of different reasons, including their upbringing, the way they've been taught to deal with other people, whereas a psychopath bully's for more instrumental reasons, they tend to bullying to create in groups and out groups, they tend to bully to show other people that they're not to be taken lightly and shouldn't be challenged, unless the people who are challenging them can expect to be, to meet some degree of force in retaliation. So they're spreading a ruthless reputation for themselves so people tend to leave them alone, and that enables them to get on with what they're really doing, which is self aggrandization and self promotion. But they also, they'll create divide and conquer tactics, they'll instigate bullying among other people. Some people will start to bully people in the out group that the psychopath has created. So to try and create, to get in favor with the psychopath to make sure they're not bullied themselves. So they create a culture I think of bullying and intimidation that goes on around them. So it's not just them doing it, it's them facilitating other people to do it as well, and creating the environment in which bullying flourishes.

Rob Kall : You did a study looking at bully's and psychopaths and bullies among managers, right?

Clive Boddy : Yup.

Rob Kall : What did you find?

Clive Boddy : Well I found in the presence of corporate psychopaths within an organization, all types of conflict go on. So arguments go through the roof, yelling goes up, conflict goes up,  and bullying goes up enormously. And the presence of psychopaths in my Australian research seemed to account for about, I think its twenty six percent of all bullying, or a quarter. In some research I've just writing up in the UK, I've found even more, I've found about a third of all bullying is due to the presence of corporate psychopaths. So when they're not there, there's hardly any bullying, but when they are there, there's often frequent and repetitive bullying.

Rob Kall : What percentage are psychopaths in the corporate setting?

Clive Boddy : Well I follow Hare again on this, it seems to be about one percent of the whole population, therefore there's no real reason to believe that, I mean less than one percent shouldn't be in organizations. But the theory is that they're better at getting promoted than other people are, because of their superficial charm, and there willingness to lie, and their willingness to manipulate other people, their willingness to claim the good work of others as there own work, the lack of remorse about what they do and how they do it. And so it seems to be, from some studies that have been published in the U.S., that it could be three and a half percent of senior managers who are corporate psychopaths. There may well be on, top of that, an institutional effect, because they are after power, money, and prestige. They will tend to go towards the organizations that can provide those types of rewards. So that means they're probably trying to avoid the caring professions, for example nursing maybe-- that comes to mind, and go towards, gravitate towards the financial services, corporate banking services in particular. And so the three and a half percent at the top of most organizations, may be even more when in the corporate banking sector, and especially if  they've actually been recruiting these people to begin with.

Rob Kall : Do psychopaths, are they able to work with other psychopaths? And what does that look like? That sounds really scary.

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Clive Boddy : It is really scary. I've just started reading about political psychopaths, and I found that Adolf Hitler was diagnosed by a Norwegian psychiatrist in 1933, long before his major atrocities, committed he was diagnosed as a psychopath. His deputy Hess was diagnosed as a psychopath by a British psychiatrist in 1941, when he flew to Scotland. Goebbels was diagnosed as a psychopath at the Nuremberg war trials by a U.S. psychiatrist. So all three of the top Nazi's were psychopaths. So that answers the question can they work together and what happens when they do? So when they do work together, not only do they have no conscience of their own to restrain their behavior, but those around them have no conscience as well, so the whole thing just becomes nightmarishly bad to the point of being evil, I think you'd say.

Rob Kall : How are corporate psychopaths different from other psychopaths?

Clive Boddy : We think that they have better executive control abilities, stemming from, either their better educational background and socioeconomic upbringing, or it might be brain event related as well, but that's relatively unexplored at the moment. Psychiatrists, because the first people to study psychopaths were prison psychologist, like Robert Hare for example, and because psychopaths are easy to find in present populations, there is now confusion between what the criminals do and what the psychopaths do. There  was a confounding issue. What people tended to forget, that psychopaths exist among us in society, working alongside us. And they aren't always the very antisocial, very violent individuals that we have come to associate with psychopathy. So, they're more restrained, they can control and modify their behavior better, in terms of its violent outbursts, and therefore they can exist relatively successfully in organizations, and get to the top through other means, or through the means of manipulation that we've talked about.

Rob Kall : Have there been any CEO's or high executives in corporations who have been clearly identified as psychopaths, that you can name?

Clive Boddy : Because it's such a value laden term, hardly any CEO's, so far, have been named as psychopaths. There are obvious candidates, who might be associated with having a high psychopathy score. And I am just in the process of writing about those people at the moment, by comparing what they have done in history, to common measures of psychopothy. So a potential candidate, for example would be a guy called Robert Maxwell, in the UK, who used to be a media baron, he owned the Daily Mirror, for example, he was found to have defrauded the pension fund of about three hundred million pounds, I think it was at the time, back in the late eighties early nineties. When the fraud scandal was about to emerge into the spotlight of the media, he reportedly fell off his yacht in the Atlantic and drowned. But he's been mentioned in a few websites and a few newspapers as a possible candidate for a high psychopathy score.

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Rob Kall : So part of the criteria for diagnosing a CEO or a high level corporate executive is to be dead first? (laughing)


Clive Boddy : It makes the possibility of libel less uh,

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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