"Psychopaths commit an offence, go to prison, then come out and commit the offence again, because they fail to learn from the prison experience," according to Benjamin Walker of Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales.
"Our study showed the novel result is that participants high in entrepreneurial intentions showed the same pattern," Walker, a doctorate student, said.
Psychopaths, like the serial killer Charles Manson are born with temperamental differences that lead them to being risk seekers, impulsive and fearless, he said adding that the study found that these personality traits also allow a person to persist in risk-taking and succeed in business.
During the study over 600 participants were assessed. Walker and Chris Jackson of Business Psychology found that people with either psychopathic or entrepreneurial intentions persisted through adversity in a risk-taking task.
"Even when the experimental conditions changed from rewarding to punishing, participants who were high in either psychopathic tendencies or entrepreneurial intentions continued to behave as if still rewarded," Walker said.
He said it was no surprise that some entrepreneurs, such as Virgin founder Richard Branson, do adventure sports in their spare time.
"The personality traits of fearlessness and insensitivity to punishment lead entrepreneurs to jump off buildings – and that is why they may also be unafraid to start multiple businesses," he said.
However, higher risk-taking can also increase losses - and that can be why so many entrepreneurs end up with a series of bankrupt ventures.
Walker said that the study suggested organizations should be careful who they promote to CEO level. It is important that the CEO is supported by more inhibited staff members to ensure appropriate risk-taking within a company.


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