November 28th, 2016

Supply Chain Leaders: Are You Psychopaths or Saviours?

Supply Chain Leaders: Are You Psychopaths or Saviours?

According to a recent psychological study in Australia, supply chain leaders are a ruthless, calculating lot, drawn to their chosen careers because the supply chain is action-packed and opaque in nature. This commercial environment apparently appeals to the nature of those with psychopathic tendencies; traits which appear in the supply chain management profession at about the same level as in the prison inmate population.   An Objective View of Supply Chain Leaders? Was I shocked when I read the details of this study? A little, I must admit. Far be it from me to challenge the (presumably) objective research performed in the field of psychology, but my experience of supply chain management professionals (which can hardly be considered “limited”) doesn’t really concur with the findings of a Queensland-based group of forensic psychology researchers. For that reason, I felt compelled to write this post, to explore the research findings a little further, and then share what I believe are some of the benefits which supply chain leaders bring to society—achieved through leadership qualities which would seem to fly in the face of what we might expect from people with psychopathic tendencies.   Psychopathic Tendencies of Supply Chain Leaders Let’s start by looking at the findings of the research, conducted by a forensic psychologist from Bond University in Queensland and reported publicly by The Australian Financial Review Magazine. According to the study, 21% of participating supply chain leaders showed substantial levels of psychopathic behaviour, which include: Insincerity A lack of empathy Low levels of remorse Egocentricity Superficiality A ruthless and calculating ability to make decisions without emotion Presenting the study findings to a Melbourne congress of the Australian Psychological Society, the lead researcher stated that supply chain leaders are capable of a cold and clinical approach to decision-making, considering little else but the possibilities for commercial gain. So that’s the result of objective research, but what is it about the field of logistics and supply chain management that seemingly attracts psychopathic individuals like a floodlight attracts insects? Personally, I prefer to consider the profession, and those who work within it, as an honourable and essential segment of commerce without which, the world would be a much worse place in which to live.   The Good That Supply Chain Leaders Do If supply chain leaders really are prone to psychopathic tendencies, as the study would seem to suggest, the same might be...

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