Companies hire ‘dark’ personalities for unethical behavior

As a journalist who has interviewed a whole lot of prime CEOs, I can report that lots of them aren’t overflowing with humanity. Now we might know why: In an eye-opening peek into the enterprise of evil, a new study within the Journal of Enterprise Ethics finds that firms purposely hire individuals with unsavory persona traits when earnings manipulations are so as.

Researchers from universities in 4 states performed a trio of experiments finding out government hiring underneath varied organizational earnings calls for. They discovered that, sure certainly, when firms have to report earnings that stray from actuality, no, they don’t hire a CFO with tremendous sturdy moral foundations. They hire executives with “darkish” personalities which might be weak on ethics and powerful on narcissistic traits. “Our analysis discovered that that is usually no accident,” said coauthor Nick Seybert, an accounting professor on the College of Maryland, in a information launch.

Additionally they discovered that these “darkish” persona varieties are typically one-trick ponies, purposely employed to falsify and evade. The examine included a survey of potential candidates’ skills, and the solely class on which darkish personalities out-ranked different candidates was moral boundary manipulations. “Lots of people assume that these managers will need to have nice self-presentation, promotion, individuals expertise, or confidence” famous Seybert. “However our analysis reveals in any other case.”


The researchers emphasize that sturdy leaders are not naturally imply nor narcissistic. In truth, firms that don’t inflate their earnings additionally don’t are inclined to hire darkish personalities.

How do you match into this? The researchers’ recommendation is to steer clear. “The perfect takeaway for staff is to keep away from firms which may have use for managers with darkish personalities, and to not anticipate help from higher-ups when that is the case,” says Seybert. “The corporate might need picked a foul boss on objective.”