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Historical champions of shareholder capitalism: were they corporate psychopaths? The case of Albert Dunlap

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 13:40 authored by Boddy, CR
Reflectively harnessing a tool to assess whether a prominent industry figure and “champion of shareholder capitalism”, in 20th century US business history, could be classified as being a corporate psychopath, this article examines aspects of the career of Albert Dunlap who was CEO at Sunbeam Corporation. Psychopaths and corporate psychopaths are defined as background to the article. A measure of corporate psychopathy is outlined to identify corporate psychopaths in business history. This measure is then used in relation to Albert Dunlap. The article concludes that at least some ethical scandals and failures such as those at Sunbeam Corporation, have been characterized by the presence of CEOs who were simultaneously the lauded agents of capitalism and high scorers on a measure of corporate psychopathy. The article concludes that using this historical approach to the study of potential corporate psychopaths informs ideas about what types of organizational outcomes corporate psychopaths can generate.


Publication title

BAM2018 Conference Proceedings








British Academy of Management

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Event title

BAM2018: Driving productivity in uncertain and challenging times

Event Venue

University of the West of England

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in commerce, management, tourism and services

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