Corporate Psychopaths and the Global Financial Crisis

A paper called “The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis” was published in the Journal of Business ethics in 2011 and quickly became the most frequently downloaded paper on the journal’s ninety-day measure of downloads. The theory appeared to give voice to a commonly held belief among financial insiders and was cited by journalists around the world and discussed on web-sites, in newspapers, radio programmes and in TV documentaries. Such documentaries include Channel 5’s (UK) series “Meet the Psychopaths” where the edition called “Power Psychopaths” discusses psychopaths in leadership positions.

Within those websites financial insiders discussed the applicability of the theory and many people agreed with it, saying that the knowledge that psychopaths were active in corporate banking was commonly known within the financial sector.

The theory basically states that corporate psychopaths, drawn to corporate banks in disproportionate numbers because of the material rewards on offer, played an important part in the Global Financial Crisis through their participation in the corporate banking sector and their influence on the culture, ethics and risk profiles of the banks that employed them. One British corporate bank, according to a report in “The Independent” newspaper, even used a psychopathy measure to recruit new employees.

For more details see the paper: "The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis", by Boddy, C. 2011. In the Journal of Business Ethics.