Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 495–504 | Cite as

Corporate Psychopathy: Can ‘Search and Destroy’ and ‘Hearts and Minds’ Military Metaphors Inspire HRM Solutions?

  • Alasdair J. Marshall
  • Melanie J. Ashleigh
  • Denise Baden
  • Udechukwu Ojiako
  • Marco G. D. Guidi


Corporate psychopathy (CP) thrives perhaps as the most significant threat to ethical corporate behaviour around the world. We argue that Human Resources Management (HRM) professionals should formulate strategic solutions metaphorically by balancing what strategic military planners famously call ‘Search and Destroy’ (SD) and ‘Hearts and Minds’ (HM) counter-terrorist strategy. We argue that these military metaphors offer creative inspiration to help academics and practitioners theorise CP in richer, more reflective and more balanced and complementary ways. An appreciation of both metaphors is likely to favour the use of hybrid strategies comprising SD and HM elements, which may provide the best HRM solutions to CP for the same reasons as the military now considers parallel hybrid solutions optimal for combating terrorist and guerrilla insurgency.


HRM strategy Corporate psychopathy Metaphor Machiavellianism Narcissism The dark triad 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alasdair J. Marshall
    • 1
  • Melanie J. Ashleigh
    • 1
  • Denise Baden
    • 1
  • Udechukwu Ojiako
    • 2
  • Marco G. D. Guidi
    • 3
  1. 1.School of ManagementUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Faculty of ManagementUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Adam Smith Business SchoolUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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