A new study has found that one in five CEOs are psychopaths, equating to roughly the same amount amongst prisoners.
The study of 261 US Senior Professionals in the supply chain management industry found that 21% had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits – The Telegraph reports.
The rate of psychopathy in the general population is approximately one in every one hundred (one per cent).
The researchers, including Nathan Brooks, a Forensic Psychologist who conducted the study with a colleague from Australia’s Bond University and a researcher from the University of San Diego have been investigating ways to help employers screen for potential psychopaths.
Brooks says the findings suggest that businesses should improve their screening methods when recruiting, claiming: “Typically psychopaths create a lot of chaos and generally tend to play people off against each other.
“For psychopaths, it [corporate success] is a game and they don’t mind if they violate morals. It is about getting where they want in the company and having dominance over others.
He said that recruiters mainly look for skills over personality features, which has led to firms hiring “successful psychopaths” who may engage in unethical and illegal practices or have a toxic impact on colleagues.
The research is due to be published in the European Journal of Psychology.
Brooks adds: “We hope to implement our screening tool in businesses so that there’s an adequate assessment to hopefully identify this problem - to stop people sneaking through into positions in the business that can become very costly.”