Daily Archives: January 20, 2012

Bad Boss? The Psycho-Path To Success.

  • One study found senior managers are four times more likely to be a psychopath
  • Office psychopaths mimic rather than feel emotions, often leading to destructive behavior
  • While associated with violence, psychopathic behavior doesn’t necessarily lead to crime
  • Psychologists believe 1% of people have the mental disorder, which is rooted in genetics

Think you suffer from a “psycho” boss? A small but growing body of global research suggests you might be right.

Call it the “Psycho-path to Success.”

Psychopaths — narcissists guided without conscience, who mimic rather than feel real emotions — bring to mind serial killers such as Ted Bundy or fictional murderers such as Hannibal Lecter or “Dexter,” the anti-hero of the popular Showtime TV series. But psychologists say most psychopaths are not behind bars — and at least one study shows people with psychopathic tendencies are four times more likely to be found in senior management.

“Not all psychopaths are in prison — some are in the boardroom,” said Dr. Robert Hare, a Canadian psychologist who is co-author of the book “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work.”

And British researcher Clive Boddy goes further: He thinks the 2007-2008 financial crisis may have resulted in the growing proliferation of psychopathic personalities in the corner office — an offshoot of the erosion of single company employment in the last generation.

“If you worked at a company over the course of 20 or 30 years, people got to know what you’re like, how they treat people, regardless of how you appeared in an interview,” said Boddy, whose “Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis” was recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics. “Obviously these days, as people move job to job every two or three years, that’s not possible any more.”

His paper follows a 2010 study Hare co-authored that found about 4% of senior managers displayed psychopathic tendencies, up from the 1% that researchers say could normally be found in society.

Psychopaths are great bullies — they feel no remorse or guilt about what they’ve done
UK researcher Clive Boddy

“People tend to think of psychopaths as criminals. In fact, the majority of psychopaths aren’t criminal,” said Hare, a pioneer in the study of psychopathy who developed the first diagnostic test for the mental disorder in 1980. “They don’t go out and maim, rob and rape but find other ways to satisfy themselves without doing something necessarily illegal … such as taking risks with someone else’s property or money.”

Which raises a disturbing question: Why are psychopaths four times more likely to be found in senior management?  Read the full article by Kevin Voight for CNN.com here.


Ford Salaried Workers Get Increases, Bonuses. UAW Disappointed.

DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. is showing confidence in its turnaround and the U.S. economy by giving pay raises and bonuses to 20,000 white-collar workers mainly in the U.S. and Canada.

Workers got letters from President of the Americas Mark Fields last week saying they’ll get 2.7 percent base pay increases on April 1. They’ll also get bonuses this year based on their individual performances, spokeswoman Marcey Evans said.

Ford made $6.6 billion in the first three quarters of last year. It will report fourth-quarter earnings later this month. The company’s U.S. sales rose 11 percent last year. It has made a huge turnaround since 2006, when it lost $12.6 billion and had to borrow more than $20 billion to stay in business.

Salaried workers didn’t get pay raises last year, but many were granted performance bonuses. They got only merit pay in 2010 and no raises or bonuses were given in 2009, Evans said.

The raises are necessary to keep Ford’s pay competitive with other Fortune 100 companies, Evans said. Each year, Ford studies pay at competitors and other companies, she said.

Ford also raised its matching contribution to the salaried employees’ 401(k) retirement plan. The company now pays 60 cents for every dollar an employee contributes, up to 5 percent of their salary. This year the contribution will rise to 80 cents, Evans said.

She would not say how much the raises, bonuses and additional contributions will cost the company.

The raises rankled some United Auto Workers members because they did not get annual pay raises in a new four-year contract negotiated with the company last year. During the contract talks, the company told union negotiators that it didn’t want to give raises to avoid recurring annual expenses.

But the workers got signing bonuses and lump-sum profit sharing payments that are worth at least $16,700 over the four-year contract. Workers at General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC agreed to similar contracts with payments smaller than those given to Ford workers.

“I’m disappointed to hear that,” Mark Caruso, president of a UAW local at a factory in Saline, Mich., said of the white-collar raises. Caruso said morale already is bad among workers at his plant west of Detroit. A Ford holding company is trying to sell the factory to an auto parts supplier.

A UAW spokeswoman in Detroit said Thursday that she would check with her superiors to see if the union will comment on the white-collar raises.

The pay raise announcement was reported early Thursday by the Detroit Free Press.

Ford compensation records obtained by The Associated Press last year show that UAW-represented hourly workers have seen larger increases in pay and benefits over the last decade than many white-collar workers.

The UAW, according to the records, was able to protect longtime factory workers from changes to health care, overtime and other benefit cuts that salaried workers were forced to take. The average hourly worker at Ford received wages, benefits and overtime totaling $109,020 in 2010, up 17 percent from 1999. But the average salaried factory supervisor made $99,760 in wages and benefits, up just 2 percent in the same period, the records showed.  Source:  battlecreekenquirer.com

Keystone Pipeline: How Many Jobs Are Really At Stake?

Alain Sherter for CBS News.

President Obama’s move Wednesday to reject a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline drew fire from supporters of the project, with a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner telling CBS that the decision threatens to “destroy tens of thousands of American jobs.”

Yet exactly how much work Keystone, a proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast, would generate remains in dispute. Transcanada (TRP), the energy giant bidding to build the pipeline, projects the undertaking would create 20,000 jobs in the U.S., including 13,000 positions in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing.

That figure, based on a report by a consulting firm hired by Transcanada to assess the project’s economic impact, has been widely cited by Keystone backers on Capitol Hill. Other estimates advanced by supporters of the pipeline have been even more optimistic, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claiming it could create 250,000 permanent U.S. jobs.

Obama denies Keystone XL permit
Official: White House to nix US-Canada pipeline 
Transcanada: New route for pipeline nearly done

But subsequent analysis suggests that Keystone’s job-creating potential is more modest. The U.S. State Department calculated last year that the underground pipeline would add 5,000 to 6,000 U.S. jobs. One independent review of Keystone puts that number even lower, with the Cornell University Global Labor Institute finding that the pipeline would add only 500 to 1,400 temporary construction jobs. The authors of the September report also said that much of the new employment stemming from Keystone would be outside the U.S.

Transcanada itself cast doubt on its employment forecast when a vice president for the company told CNN last fall that the 20,000 jobs Keystone would create were temporary and that the project would likely yield only “hundreds” of permanent positions.

Another reason for the discrepancy appears to stem from what that 20,000 figure really means. As Transcanada has conceded, its estimate counted up “job years” spent on the project, not jobs. In other words, the company was counting a single construction worker who worked for two years onKeystone as two jobs, lending fuel to critics who said advocates of the pipeline were overstating its benefits.

The Cornell researchers concluded:

The construction of KXL will create far fewer jobs in the U.S. than its proponents have claimed and may actually destroy more jobs than it generates….

The claim that KXL will create 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is unsubstantiated. There is strong evidence to suggest that a large portion of the primary material input for KXL — steel pipe — will not even be produced in the U.S.

In a statement, President Obama attributed the decision to block construction of the pipeline to “the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans,” saying it “prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.”

The furor is likely to continue, highlighting the intense election-year politics around Keystone. Inurging Obama to approve the project, for instance, Boehner said on Wednesday that the pipeline would create 100,000 new jobs

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