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The impact of psychopathy on managers' wellbeing and burnout: The role of authenticity

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of psychopathy on individuals’ wellbeing and burnout amongst a sample of managers across a wide range of organisations in New Zealand. This study also investigated the role of authenticity in an attempt to examine its influence amongst these relationships. In addressing gaps in the literature, the current study employed the Triarchic model of psychopathy to examine the effects of three dimensions of psychopathy (disinhibition, meanness, boldness) separately rather than unidimensionally in order to demonstrate a thorough assessment of how each dimension exerts its influence on individuals in the workplace. Through the utilisation of the Job Demands-Resources model, this study proposed that disinhibition and meanness, being more maladaptive, would limit individuals’ access to job resources and exacerbate the negative effects of job demands thereby resulting in lower wellbeing and higher burnout. Conversely, boldness was hypothesised to be more adaptive for individuals and therefore would assist in the attainment of job resources while decreasing the negative effects of job demands. In turn, bold individuals would be more likely to demonstrate higher wellbeing and lower burnout. Authenticity was proposed to act as a personal resource operating as both a moderator and mediator in these relationships. Moderation and mediation analyses were conducted in SPSS to test the proposed hypotheses. A number of hypotheses were supported; boldness predicted higher wellbeing; both disinhibition and meanness predicted higher emotional exhaustion; boldness predicted lower emotional exhaustion; both disinhibition and meanness predicted higher depersonalisation; and boldness predicted lower depersonalisation. Moderation analyses produced no significant findings, however some mediation effects were found. Authenticity mediated the relationship between; disinhibition and wellbeing; meanness and wellbeing; disinhibition and depersonalisation; meanness and depersonalisation and boldness and depersonalisation. Some hypotheses were not supported indicating that there are likely factors other than authenticity which influence these relationships and therefore, further research in this area is advised. This study presents a number of implications for theory as well as practice. While there is a great deal of research assessing the impact of manager psychopathy on subordinates, there is very little research pertaining to how those with psychopathic traits are impacted by these traits themselves. The current study addressed this in an attempt to shed light on the wellbeing and workplace functioning of those who demonstrate both maladaptive and adaptive psychopathic traits. Furthermore, this study investigated a previously under-researched personal resource - authenticity, both as a moderator and mediator in order to gain a more robust understanding of its influence. This study highlights that organisations should screen for psychopathy in the workplace to identify those who demonstrate maladaptive tendencies and to put strategies in place to support these individuals as well as implement processes to protect others in the workplace from those who have maladaptive traits. It is also evident that those who demonstrate boldness may potentially be an asset to organisations given their potential to accumulate important resources on the job. Results suggest that through the promotion of authenticity at work, organisations can cultivate a healthier and more functional working environment.
Type of thesis
Preston, A. K. (2020). The impact of psychopathy on managers’ wellbeing and burnout: The role of authenticity (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13579
The University of Waikato
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