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By Elizabeth Allen
The Courier-Mail
March 05, 2009 12:01am
AUSTRALIAN businesses under pressure have been warned to be on the lookout for corporate psychopaths within their ranks.

Jason Blaik, an organisational psychologist, said yesterday psychopaths created workplace conflict, caused top talent to flee and could damage a company’s reputation.

“Businesses should be vigilant at any time but particularly now when companies are so vulnerable,” he said.

Mr Blaik, of Brisbane-based human resources firm Onetest, said psychopaths were believed to have contributed to some high-profile company collapses in recent years.

Psychopaths’ main failings were that they did not show honesty, modesty and trustworthiness; did not experience emotions such as love, empathy and guilt; exhibited impulsive behaviour; and led anti-social lifestyles.

Mr Blaik said psychopaths were believed to make up 1 per cent of the general population but about 3 per cent of the corporate world.

“While people generally associate the term psychopath with murderers, the majority ply their trade in more subtle ways,” Mr Blaik said.

“They actually exhibit characteristics highly valued by the business world because their lack of empathy and conscience can be seen as an ability to make tough decisions, and they don’t seem to experience stress.”

Signs an employee might be a corporate psychopath included being smooth and charming, redirecting conversations to themselves, putting down others, telling lies, demonstrating a lack of empathy, creating internal power networks and using them for personal gain.

http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,27753,25138998-5012426,00.html

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