The computerised content-analysis tool can “reliably and validly” measure narcissistic and psychopathic traits in leaders of Fortune 100 companies, claim the researchers.
The app employs a built-in dictionary of words, phrases and rules that can be used to help predict certain negative personality traits, said William Spangler, associate professor at the school of management at Binghamton. “The app first looks for self-focus words, such as ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘mine’ and ‘myself’.
It then looks for words related to several personality traits. “For example, one form of narcissism, called confident of grandiose narcissism depends on extraversion – so the programme looks for words indicating exaggeration, confidence, enthusiasm and energy,” Spangler was quoted as saying in BusinessNewsDaily.
The content analysis programme also looks for words related to neuroticism, like doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, errors and mistakes, and combines those with the self-focus words to create a measure of defensive narcissism, said the report.
“Narcissism and psychopathy are aspects of maladaptive personality which can have a serious impact upon individuals and those with whom they interact,” Spangler said. “These characteristics affect the decisions leaders make, their relations with others, as well as the productivity and culture of their organisations,”
As part of the study, researchers used the programme to analyse nearly 1,800 publicly available transcripts of television interviews and conference calls with stock analysts, as well as print interviews from 150 CEOs from Fortune 100 companies.
“The ultimate use of this research may be to encourage boards of directors making hiring decisions, particularly CEOs, to look closely at candidates’ personality characteristics as well as other information, such as track records,” the report quoted Spangler as saying.