A new study has warned that people with a psychopathic "dark side" could create toxic workplaces "and could seriously traumatize workers to the point of suicide".
Around one in ten New Zealand workplaces "harbour a psychopathically-oriented worker" capable of functioning within normal society but who victimises workmates with their "dark side," according to Dr Giles Burch, a psychologist and senior lecturer in management from the University of Auckland Business School.
As per the study, such people often function fine in normal society and even excel at work, but victimise co-workers, reports News.com.au.
"However, psychopaths are generally highly destructive and manipulative individuals with dark sides who have no remorse for their actions, which can result in a range of serious issues for organisation and the people within them," Burch told NZPA.
"They are typically only interested in power, control, domination and subjugation, and it is believed that female psychopaths are more dangerous than males as they are more socially skilful in their manipulation," the expert added.
Constant stress from a toxic workplace triggers anxiety and clinical depression in 30 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men, said Burch.
This can then affect co-workers, friends and family of the victim.
"Insomnia, intense self-doubt and mild depression are very common, and in more severe cases chronic anxiety, depression, despair and even suicidal ideation can result from the destruction of jobs, careers, joint ventures or businesses," he said.
Psychopathic behaviour covered a wide spectrum - from the devious, manipulative and bullying behaviour of an employee who was a high achiever and very sought after by management, to the compulsive violence of a hardened criminal.
The damage caused by psychopaths was potentially huge and impacted a business as a whole, individual staff, customers, suppliers and joint venture partners.
Genetic tendencies of a psychopath such as glibness or superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, cunning and manipulative behaviour, lack of remorse, guilt or empathy, a sense of impulsive non-conformism, sensation-seeking, egocentrism, disloyalty and narcissism, could take a huge toll on other employees, Burch said.
They could hide their tendencies and were often promoted to senior positions with power, the research showed.
They could be difficult to remove from businesses and were likely to become highly abusive and litigious when threatened with job termination.