90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
When Workplace Jerks Get Promoted

When the boss is a bad apple. How some pretty dark traits can push some to the top.

A comical sign suggest the modern workplace is anything but collegial . (KW Reinsch / Flickr)

A comical sign suggest the modern workplace is anything but collegial . (KW Reinsch / Flickr)

It takes all kinds to turn the world.  In the world of work, some kinds are harder to take than others.  Psychologists point to what they call a “dark triad” of traits that mark a particular kind of corporate climber, workplace striver, who can rise but can also make a mess.  The triad of traits, they say, is this:  that ambitious colleague who is also narcissistic, anti-social, and manipulative/Machiavellian.  A little bit of that mix can be rocket fuel.  A lot can be a problem.  Maybe you’ve seen it.  This hour On Point:  the “dark triad” at work.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Sue Shellenbarger, work and family columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

Seth Spain, professor of organizational behavior at Binghamton University-SUNY’s school of management. (@SethMSpain)

Nancy Koehn, historian and professor of business at the Harvard Business School. (@nancykoehn)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: What Corporate Climbers Can Teach Us — ” So-workers may possess a dose of one of the personality traits that psychologists call the ‘dark triad': manipulativeness, a tendency to influence others for selfish gain; narcissism, a profound self-centeredness; or an antisocial personality, lacking in empathy or concern for others. These traits are well-known for the bad behavior that they can cause when dominant in people’s personalities. At milder levels, however, they can actually foster skills that can help people rise through the ranks.”

Inc.: What Leaders Can Learn from Narcissists, Manipulators and Psychopaths — “Sometimes scientific research teaches us things we might not want to know. That happened when organizational psychologists studied West Point cadets to learn what personal qualities were most likely to predict success. The No. 1 answer? Narcissism.”

Psychology Today: Shedding Light on Psychology’s Dark Triad — “Lurking beneath the surface of people who use others to their own advantage is psychology’s ‘Dark Triad.’ Defined as a set of traits that include the tendency to seek admiration and special treatment (otherwise known as narcissism), to be callous and insensitive (psychopathy) and to manipulate others (Machiavellianism), the Dark Triad is rapidly becoming a new focus of personality psychology.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

 
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
1 Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment