This is a hugely important subject for the process of candidate vetting. Last summer I addressed this topic at some length and linked other articles here: “The untold story of history: Political psychopaths (and other maladies of the mind).”
Here is an excerpt from a post at Forbes:
In The Sociopath Next Door, distinguished psychiatrist Martha Stout reported that sociopaths are more common than we realize. We’ve all seen organizations and empires collapse. Often, a sociopath or two is responsible.
I asked [Stout], how hiring managers and corporate boards can avoid unwittingly unleashing a sociopath within their organizations—especially at the senior levels.
“More and more businesspeople people are asking me about this,” she says. “After all, having a sociopath can be expensive.” Indeed, they often aren’t extracted from an organization until they’ve caused permanent injury.
The hallmark of sociopaths is that, though they can be charming and high-functioning, they lack empathy and conscience. Still, they are often able to disguise their shortcoming from people who matter, such as direct superiors and corporate boards. (It’s usually people at their side or below them who end up trampled or mercilessly discarded.)
Stout said such an estimate is reasonable enough. “Sociopathy is about money and power,” she said. “And a sociopath will stop at nothing to get it.”