The Sunday Times printed an editorial by UCL psychology professor Adrian Furnham that’s so shocking in the blatant ableism it endorses that I’m really at a loss for words. Here’s the conclusion:
Psychiatrists have grouped those with personality disorders into three similar clusters: dramatic, emotional and erratic types; odd and eccentric types; and anxious and fearful types.
There are three important questions. The first is how you spot these people at selection so you can reject them. This is easier with some disorders than others. It is virtually impossible to spot the psychopath or the obsessive-compulsive person at an interview. Clearly, you need to question those who have worked with them in the past to get some sense of their pathology, which many are skilled at hiding.
The second is, given that they have already been appointed, how to manage them. There is, alas, no simple method that converts the antagonist into a warm, open, honest individual or the disinhibited worker into a careful, serious and dutiful employee. Sometimes it is a matter of damage limitation.
The third is how to rid your workplace of these maladaptive personalities, and that is the toughest question of all.
Yes, we should definitely fire all the people who the DSM might classify as ‘odd and eccentric types’. Like Steve Jobs, for example:
A search of the Nexis news database turned up the word “obsessive” in connection with a Steve Jobs-related article a total of 68 times in the past week.
Numerous news reports have noted Mr. Jobs’ “obsessive” attention to detail and perfection in the products he brought to life. Indeed, when you get past the tribute articles and dig deeper into Mr. Jobs’ past, you find stories of him being tyrannical and harsh as a leader, paying exacting attention to details that he undoubtedly paid other top executives to monitor. But the vision of Mr. Jobs that we seem to get is of someone who just can’t help but be involved in every single minute step of the process of product development and marketing.
Clearly too odd to be successful, that one! Get rid of him!
(Thanks for the tip, N!)
10 thoughts on “Shocking ableism from the Sunday Times”
May I ask what ableism is?
Prejudice, stigma, and discrimination specifically targeted (whether consciously or otherwise) at the disabled. Ableism is the disability-analogue of racism, sexism, etc.
This is why creative people avoid those who judge them based on psychological standards.
I’m sure it’s all very complicated.
I think that the Times should be ashamed of publishing this piece. Would they have known better if it had been about nationalities or sexual orientation? Or gender?
I think they would, and so one might be hopeful that ableism will become as recognizably bad as sexism, say.
[…] Shocking Ableism From The Sunday Times June 19th, 2014 — “The Sunday Times printedan editorial by UCL psychology professor Adrian Furnham that’s so shocking in the blatant ableism it endorses that I’m really at a loss for words. Here’s the conclusion: Psychiatrists have grouped those with personality disorders into three similar clusters: dramatic, emotional and erratic types; odd and eccentric types; and anxious and fearful […]” 5 Comments […]
Suppose an employer decides not to hire someone with a personality disorder like narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder because the personality disorder causes that particular person to fail to meet one of the qualifications of the job in question: e.g. collegiality or the ability to maintain a good work environment. Are they being ableist in this case? Or is it only ableist if the person is qualified for the position, but isn’t hired because they have a personality disorder?
No one is saying that it is discriminatory to fail to hire someone who isn’t qualified for a job.
Reblogged this on Melinda C. Hall and commented:
I asked this because the author talked about what makes people successful at the beginning of the article, so it seemed to me that he was saying you wouldn’t want to hire people with certain personality disorders because they wouldn’t be successful in the job, and not merely because they have a disorder.
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