For occupying high positions in any company, many individuals are viewed as highly successful people worth being role models. A study, however, says business leaders are four times more likely to be psychopaths than ordinary people.
One in every 25 company high-flyers is believed to be having mental disorder but disguises it through their high status, charm and manipulation at the workplace.It's only favourable environmental factors - such as having had a happy childhood - that prevent their psychopathic tendencies turning them into serial killers, the Daily Mail reported.
The observation was made following a survey led by New York psychologist Paul Babiak to discover how many psychopaths had infiltrated major firms.
Revealing the results in Are You Good Or Evil?, a Horizon documentary to be screened on BBC2 next Wednesday, Babiak said: "Psychopaths really aren't the kind of person you think they are. In fact, you could be living with or married to one for 20 years or more and not know that person is a psychopath."
"We have identified individuals that might be labelled "the successful psychopath".
"Part of the problem is that the very things we're looking for in our leaders, the psychopath can easily mimic. Their natural tendency is to be charming. Take that charm and couch it in the right business language and it sounds like charismatic leadership," he added.
Babiak designed a 111-point questionnaire with the University of British Columbia's Bob Hare - the world's pre-eminent expert in psychopathy and a regular adviser to the FBI - to determine how many industry bosses were psychopaths. They found that nearly four percent of bosses fitted the profile, compared with one percent among the general population.
What made the findings quite shocking was the fact that "these were all individuals who were at the top of an organisation - ", said Babiak.