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Sociopaths in the Workplace: How to Identify Them to Protect Yourself

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Abstract

On any given day, sociopaths are responsible for 80% to 90% of all conflicts and turmoil in any given workplace. They know what they are while most of us are completely ignorant of their true nature. Most sociopaths deliberately wear a mask-a disguise like that is used like the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing-with the understanding that ignorance of who and what they are gives them the advantage in their predatory behavior against people. What is a sociopath? After years of studying them and their victimization, the following is my confident definition: A sociopath is a person who rejects all models of morality and, therefore, rejects all notions of "right" and "wrong." This rejection causes them to lack a conscience, that is, they experience no remorse or sympathy (such as pity or sorrow) or empathy. In essence, most of us are raised within moral frameworks of what is acceptable behavior. These frameworks can be based on religion, political ideology or secular ideas of right and wrong. There are even overlaps in these three main frameworks or models. As children, we adopt core values, beliefs and ideas about what is moral. This is reinforced by the behavior of others and by being personally rewarded for "doing the right thing." However, for a tiny few, there is no integration into any of these models. Nothing "sticks." The sociopath is aware of these models of morality but simply does not follow any. Instead, he or she sees morality as weakness-as a self-restriction of action. Moreover, the sociopath also sees the advantage of others complying to the restrictions placed by morality while they themselves remain unrestrained. What is important to them is not to reveal their true nature by wearing a mask of normalcy to fit in and incur limited risk in their predatory activities. Is sociopathy a mental illness? No, sociopathy itself is not a mental illness. Studies have indicated that approximately 5% of the adult population in any given country are sociopaths. Sometimes this number is broken down as 4% sociopaths and 1% psychopaths (with 75% to 80% of this 5% figure consisting of males). A psychopath is an extreme form of sociopathy where there is a far higher tendency to use criminal behavior, including extreme forms of violence, to engage in predatory behavior. Until the last decade, much of the literature on sociopathy dealt with serial murderers and other psychopaths-an unfortunate trend that focused on the worse within the 1% and almost nothing on the other 4% who are far more prevalent and more likely to do you harm.
Sociopaths in the Workplace:
How to Identify Them to Protect Yourself
Alexander Franco, PhD
Director, Centre for International Business and Educational Research
Strategy First Institute, Myanmar
 
             
!
"#"


What is a sociopath?
$ %  &
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(    )*  )*  (    
        +          ,      
-.   
     
 
  $   
              
)*
/    0
)*           
 .     " 1 
!advantage
2

&
Is sociopathy a mental illness?
0                3      
+  4                   
356,
744&-$+
                        
+8

"   6 
5

9  

      &       
:1
1:
     / :
  
3 ; 02 

!<1
                      9
                        
.
                      
  1    =#  
                      
                     
 
 )* 

If sociopathy is not a mental illness, what is it?
3      
 (1 :
>                      
 ,6
   - as per Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development 
  ? 

2
                    +%
%
9
?: +
 0
   !   ; @  
   ;2
A6
+
                      
 8  
      '
    .
    .                      

What are the signs of a sociopath?
 <
($
    1                
   , ends-    means
      2                &  
B
          &        
$    1  ,  1-              
$
 ,  -

                              
  .                    
<1
1/

&
(&.C1
"
 
    
C
!     
  C              &  
:  D   
              <        
 
/C(
C!
& 
%
'
    
+

)*
      

E

:
C
.1
          (              +

Romanticizing the sociopath
B%      >   
      < ,.F-  G H
2
1
/
                      
..F
2+E
H+
                    
      8            
        /        

H          +      11  
        
&  sociopaths as role models
    !    
1 D         
 
% 
    C 
1
        (&  
                      
#
2;H#
#             
outside

 
              I          ;
3    %      1      
)* Don’t like it? Don’t want to play
along?Go work somewhere else! ."
" 
 +    
       C  + 1

>"#
          &      
              .    <  
    C
             $ 

>
          
     <     
/
<

          (          
%
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