S NAKES IN SUITS
When Psychopaths Go to Work
Paul Babiak, Ph.D., and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.
In memory of Cheryl, and Paul
Act I, Scene I - Grand Entrance
1. Nice Suit. Would a Snake Wear Such a Nice Suit?
2. Who Are These People?
Act I, Scene II - Off and Running
3. What You See May Not Be What You See
Act II, Scene I - Hail-Fellow-Well-Met
4. Psychopathic Manipulation: How Did He Do That?
Act II, Scene II - Plucking the Apple
5. Enter the Psychopath, Stage Left
Act III, Scene I - Panic Time
6. Pawns, Patrons, and Patsies: Roles in the
Act III, Scene II - An Honest Mistake?
7. Darkness and Chaos: The Psychopath’s Friends
Act III, Scene III - Let’s Do Lunch
8. I’m Not a Psychopath, I Just Talk and Act Like One
Act IV - Doubts Dance Away
9. Enemy at the Gates
Act V, Scene I - Circle the Wagons
10. Hot Buttons and Weak Spots: Personal Self-Defense
Act V, Scene II - Unraveling the Puzzle
11. The Fifth Column: Psychopaths in Our Midst
Act V, Scene III - The Rise and the Fall
About the Authors
Other Books by Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.
About the Publisher
Most workers are honest, loyal, law-abiding citizens, concerned with making a living, contributing to society, and raising a family in a fair and just world. Others, though, are more selﬁsh, concerned only about themselves with little regard for fairness and equity. Unfortunately, there are some individuals in the business world who allow the responsibilities of leadership and the perks of power to override their moral sense. A rise in the number of reports of abuse in major corporations should not be a surprise, given the increased access to unrestricted power, resources of startling proportions, and the erosion of ethical standards and values. Some who have faltered may have experienced a weakened moral sense of “right” in the face of excessive temptation and easy access to power. Others may feel justiﬁed in reaping the rewards in proportion to the size of the organization they lead, arguing that their extravagances seem excessive only to those who have little hope of being so rewarded. Still others have embraced the self-serving mantras that “greed is good” and that success at any cost to others is justiﬁable and
even desirable. But another group exists, one whose behaviors and attitudes are potentially much more destructive to the organization and its employees than those noted above who are motivated by greed or big egos. This group, the subject of this book, displays a personality disorder rooted in lying, manipulation, deceit, egocentricity, callousness, and other potentially destructive traits. This personality disorder, one of the ﬁrst to be described in the psychiatric literature, is psychopathy.
A dozen or so personality disorders have found their way into the psychiatric nomenclature. What makes psychopathy unique is that its deﬁning characteristics and traits often lead to behaviors that conﬂict with the generally accepted norms and laws of society. Some people with psychopathic personalities are in prison because of their crimes against people and property. Others are in prison for committing economic or white-collar crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement, or stock manipulation. These are crimes against businesses and institutions, as well as the employees who work in them. In addition to the problems their abusive behaviors cause to spouses, friends, and family members, individuals with a heavy dose of psychopathic traits are potentially harmful to professional relationships. For example, their grandiosity, sense of entitlement, and lack of personal insight lead to conﬂict and rivalry with bosses and coworkers, and their...
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