Conflict and bullying are discussed by a number of psychologists in terms of what can be expected from corporate psychopaths. Psychopaths may create conflict and bullying because it amuses them to do so. Seeing people get hurt emotionally or otherwise provides stimulation to the psychopath as they try and understand and thereby more easily control those around them. Evidence suggests that at least a quarter to a third of all workplace bullying is associated with the presence of corporate psychopaths as managers.
Corporate psychopaths may also create conflict and bullying as a part of their divide and conquer tactics, so that people are distracted from monitoring the activities of the psychopath, who can then get on with their aims of deception and personal advancement. The psychopath’s aim is to camouflage their other, more nefarious activities by distracting employees’ attention away from organizational interests and longevity. Further, their abusive example creates further bullying as junior employees mimic their behaviour. Their divisive tactics create an atmosphere where bullying is encouraged and facilitated.
Whatever the reason for their bullying, our research has found that in both Australia and the UK, conflict and bullying increases dramatically in the presence of corporate psychopaths. Employees report much greater levels of getting into arguments with other people and greater levels of yelling at work, when corporate psychopaths are present. For example, in a sample of British employees, of those working under normal managers 60.3% reported that they never get into arguments with others at work, whereas 100% of those working under corporate psychopath managers reported that they sometimes or often got into arguments with others at work.
Similarly, in the sample of British employees, of those working under normal managers 83.7% reported that they never get yelled at in the workplace, whereas 78.8% of those working under corporate psychopath managers reported that they sometimes or often get yelled at work.
Additionally, employees report much greater levels of rudeness and bullying when corporate psychopaths are around. As one example, in a sample of British employees, of those working under normal managers 33.0% reported that they sometimes experience rudeness at work whereas under corporate psychopath managers this was 93.9% who sometimes experience workplace rudeness.
In the same sample of British employees, of those working under normal managers 34.0% reported that they sometimes witness bullying at work whereas this was 99% under corporate psychopath managers.
Corporate psychopaths thus create large amounts of workplace conflict and bullying.