High self-control may support ‘success’ in psychopathic leadership: Self-control versus impulsivity in psychopathic leadership

Désiré Palmen*, Jan Derksen, E.W. Kolthoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract


In the last few years scholars have postulated that non-institutionalized psychopathic individuals may be overrepresented in leadership positions. In this paper we juxtapose theory and research on the profile of those high in psychopathy in leadership positions with the traditional profile of those high in psychopathy in prisons and institutions. We hypothesize that the psychopathic leader has a unique combination of traits that enables and drives him to be ‘successful’ in a position of power. We propose that the differentiating trait in the profile of the psychopathic leader may be the trait high self-control. This is in contrast with the traditional profile of institutionalized psychopathic individuals in which levels of self-control are typically low. Furthermore, we hypothesize that although the traits of high self-control and impulsivity are apparently contradictory, the conjunction of high self-control with one specific domain of impulsivity could further amplify the ‘success’ of the psychopathic leader.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101338
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Volume50
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020

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