Psychopathic Leadership and Effects on Organization

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 2
Words: 563
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: Bachelor


Clive Boddy, in his article “Psychopathic leadership a case study of a corporate psychopath CEO,” published in the Journal of Business Ethics, demonstrated the effects of a psychopathic CEO on the performance of an organization. The article follows a case where such a CEO was recently appointed to that position, which led to a significant decrease in team effectiveness and increased levels of stress among employees (Boddy, 2015). This paper provides a short summary of Boddy’s work on corporate psychopaths.

Main body

The author focuses his research on leadership and its consequences. The study has been conducted within a company that experienced a rise in unethical behavior. The primary point of view of the author is that leadership depends heavily on a leader’s personality, especially if it is transformational leadership (Boddy, 2015). However, some people are not meant to be in charge of a corporate organization.

The CEO, in this case, is an example of a person unfit to lead. Through an interview with two of the company’s employees, Boddy has created a psychological portrait of a person who was in charge of the organization for the past few years. This data has been compared with a description of the previous CEO of the same company. By analyzing the results of the interview through a standardized psychopathy scale test, the author ensures that the subject of the study exhibited all defining characteristics of a psychopath (Boddy, 2015). The person appeared to be a highly functioning psychopath with a strong focus on career and predatory behavior (Boddy, 2015). However, there was also the need to connect the leader’s personality with his contribution to the company.

The next part of the research contains an analysis of the work environment and the organization’s performance under the leadership of these two CEOs. Despite being more charismatic than the previous CEO, the psychopath was often bullying employees (Boddy, 2015). Boddy describes several adverse effects on the work environment that took place since the introduction of the psychopathic CEO. For example, the author’s research reveals increased levels of stress-related illnesses, hostility at the workplace, cynicism among workers, and task neglect (Boddy, 2015). These effects stemmed from the inability and unwillingness of this CEO to manage his team properly (Boddy, 2015). In turn, the previous person who had this position was described as respectful, enthusiastic, and inspirational (Boddy, 2015). This difference reveals the key personality characteristics that define a suitable leader.

Through his analysis, the author delivers crucial information regarding the effects of a leader’s personality on the efficiency of his or her managerial style. This CEO has been reported to provide no motivation and support to employees (Boddy, 2015). Moreover, he appeared to be disinterested in his work and often did not show up at the workplace (Boddy, 2015). There was a noticeable increase in turnover rates and financial issues within the firm (Boddy, 2015). This damage implies a major adverse impact of psychopaths on businesses.


In conclusion, there are several adverse effects stemming from a corporate psychopath CEO within an organization, such as the absence of leadership, the disintegration of team cohesion, and a significant decrease in the company’s performance. People who exhibit the characteristics of a psychopath can appear to be charming, yet they do not possess the attitude needed for a leadership position (Boddy, 2015). Therefore, companies must remain vigilant when appointing new leaders.


Boddy, C. R. (2015). Psychopathic leadership: A case study of a corporate psychopath CEO. Journal of Business Ethics, 145(1), 141-156. Web.