Relationship between the extent of psychopathic features among corporate managers and subsequent employee job satisfaction

Ryan James Spencer, Mitchell Keith Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Possessing subclinical psychopathic personality traits may provide a selective advantage in corporate environments. Known as ‘successful psychopaths’, these individuals often procure senior positions in respected companies. Prevalence of specific personality dispositions among leadership groups can promote a ‘corporate culture’ whereby subclinical psychopathic managers pressure their employees to embrace similar personality dispositions. As a result, these employees often demonstrate a greater vulnerability toward experiencing workplace psychological distress and developing a psychopathology. The current study aimed to examine the extent and effect of primary psychopathy in a major advertising agency. It was predicted that there would be greater levels of primary psychopathy in senior-level managers, and that this would result in their subordinate's decreased job satisfaction. Results indicated that greater levels of primary psychopathy were predominately observed within senior-level managers compared to the other corporate designations. Additionally, it was apparent that senior-level managers valued homogeneity in their subordinates' personality and behaviour, which were identified by high conformance and dependability ratings. However, the role of primary psychopathy in attenuating subordinate job satisfaction was less clear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-445
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


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