- Slides: 14
SNAKES IN SUITS: WHEN PSYCHOPATHS GO TO WORK By: Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare A book review by Group K: Erin, Katherine, Kittima, Michelle, Danny, Henry and Eric
Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work This review summarizes the content from this novel and our response to it.
Overview Who is a psychopath? How to recognize a psychopath? Why they’re bad for business? How to avoid hiring psychopaths? What to do if they are already in? Ethical Issues? Conclusion
PSYCHOPATH “A PERSON WITHOUT CONSCIENCE AND INCAPABLE OF EMPATHY, GUILT, OR LOYALTY TO ANYONE BUT THEMSELVES. ”* “A personality disorder rooted in lying, manipulation, deceit, egocentricity, callousness, and other potentially destructive traits. ” * * (Babiak & Hare, 2006, p. 19)
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A PSYCHOPATH THIS IS NOT EASY–psychopaths are “social chameleons” and adjust their personality depending on the person they are interacting with. The “Psychopathy Checklist – Revised” could be used as it showcases “a list of twenty interpersonal, emotional, and lifestyle traits and behaviours” (Babiak & Hare, 2006, p. 24) of Psychopaths. Check into the person’s history using tools like social media to see if they showcase antisocial behaviours. Note how the performance of the division they are assigned within has changed. Since they often manipulate themselves for management’s point of view but are deceitful, their rash ways can be revealed through their co-worker’s lack of motivation.
PSYCHOPATHS AS MANAGERS (3% in companies, compared to 1% in US) Often psychopathic tendencies can be mistaken for “leadership” qualities The changing nature of business: “During the 1990’s change became a matter of business necessity and economic survival. Competing successfully now required the quick generation and movement of new information……with the need to embrace change came a switch from hiring ‘organization men and women’ who would maintain the status quo to hiring individuals who could shake the trees, rattle cages, and get things done quickly. This hiring switch inadvertently led to the selection of some individuals with psychopathic traits…. ”* Unfortunately, the general state of confusion that change brings to any situation can make psychopathic personality traits--- the appearance of confidence, strength, and calm. ” Psychopathic individuals found the new more flexible organization structures inviting…. so psychopaths are more attracted to work for businesses that offer fast- paced, high- risk, high profit environments (snakes in suits). * (Babiak & Hare, 2006, Preface)
WHY THEY ARE BAD FOR BUSINESS Main Problem Psychopaths bring financial harm to the company Underlying problems Psychopath may cause emotional distress among coworkers wasting valuable time that could be spent on defensive manoeuvres and also lowers surrounding employees morale. Psychopath’s behaviours can affect the reputation of the company in the eyes of their employees and customers
HOW TO AVOID HIRING THEM Target the lack of knowledge of hiring officials on psychopathic traits and teach about the red flags that this disorder provides. Build a team of interviewers to tackle hiring procedures; the different perspectives of the team can help ensure the decision to be unbiased. Check references thoroughly It is important to get your company to acknowledge that manipulation occurs within the interview processes so even after a hiring there should be a sufficient probation period to evaluate performance to prevent any further destruction.
RECOMMENDATIONS Indirect Avoid confrontation with the individual Have multiple people in the room when in a meeting with them. Try not to be left alone with them. In some severe cases, one should be prepared to leave the workplace.
ALTERNATIVES Direct Put it in writing—“any threats your boss makes should be noted either in your date book or a ‘memo to file, ’ which you should keep. ”* Communication— Report any psychopathic behaviour to human resource department or management *(Babiak & Hare, 2006, p. 305)
ETHICAL ISSUES Most likely end in a defamation law suit * (Lyon & Ogloff, 2000, p. )
OPINIONS AND CONCLUSION This book has a combination of business, psychology and criminology all rolled into one. Snakes and Suits has a refreshing viewpoint on psychopaths within business environments rather than the majority of research on psychopaths within prison environments. This book easily communicates the material to everyone through its scenario story telling while keeping the reader interested The main concern is how companies should tackle the problem of psychopathic individuals within their business when these kinds of individuals display inappropriate work behaviours. Also, it provides methods of prevention of hiring psychopaths. Furthermore, Snakes and Suits shows just how much of an affect the people you work with can have on you, and how important it is to avoid having a psychopath in the mix, as they are poisonous for both the people and the business.
References Babiak, P. & Hare, R. D. (2006). Snakes in suits: when psychopaths go to work. New York: Regan Books. Lyon, D. R. & Ogloff, J. R. (2000). Legal and ethical issues in psychopathy assessment. In C. B. Gacono (Ed. ), The clinical and forensic assessment of psychopathy: A practitioner's guide (p. 139 -174). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.