The biology of leadership
The relation between leadership, psychopathy and hormones
Master thesis Economics and Business 8th of August 2012 Name student: Ricardo Westendorp Student number: 294819rw Supervisor: Wouter van den Berg
The biology of leadership PREFACE
Around October, 2011, I started looking for a subject to graduate on, when a neuro-economical subject, involving the connection of leadership to psychopathy and hormones, crossed my path. I had to jump into it, because this subject matched the field I am interested in. Now, 8 months later, I present you my final work and I have enjoyed working on it. I have to be honest, this product would not have been able to be written if it wasn’t for the help of certain people.
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A sample of 86 males is used to examine these relations. This research is based on a leadership questionnaire, a psychopathy questionnaire and saliva samples. The leadership questionnaire consists of 9 factors: Intelligence, creative thinking, empathy, charm, agreeableness, risk taking, need for achievement, need for affiliation and taking charge. The psychopathy questionnaire consists of the factors boldness, disinhibition and meanness. T-test analyses show that leaders score significantly different on most leadership factors compared to the control group. Bivariate correlation analyses show correlations between all leadership factors and psychopathy (with the exception of the leadership factor intelligence), which indicates that leadership and psychopathy are related. Additionally, leaders score significantly higher on the psychopathy factor boldness. The literature indicates that leaders should have higher testosterone levels and lower cortisol levels compared to the control group. The results of the saliva study suggests the exact opposite, leaders have a significantly higher cortisol level. This finding is probably the result of high stress levels. There are little significant results for testosterone, which is probably caused by high stress levels.
The biology of leadership TABLE OF CONTENTS