Managers and directors will not like this

Before I begin with today’s post, please remember that on Friday’s I focus on quirky and weird results that are not meant to be taken seriously. But if you are a corporate executive or director of a company and can’t laugh about yourself, you shouldn’t read this one.

Okay, now that the people who have no sense of humour left, I want to show you a study that made me smile. There is growing evidence that there is a partial link between our genes and risk-taking in general. As I have described here, people with a specific genetic make-up of the Dopamine Receptor D4 gene take on 25% more risk in all kinds of risk tasks ranging from financial risk-taking to risky activities like para shooting or car racing. They are also more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol since they are constantly seeking the next thrill.

However, they are also more likely to become self-employed, entrepreneurs, or achieve high managerial positions in business. Risk-takers take on more risks (duh) in their profession and while many of them fail, there are some that will be successful, and they are rewarded with promotions.

Thus, when two researchers from Yale and Purdue University looked at the correlation between the genetic make-up of corporate managers, CEOs, and directors and other activities and skills, they found that these high achievers all were more likely to engage in riskier activities outside the boardroom. In fact, below is the list of traits that have the highest correlation with being a manager at a corporation. The factors that had the highest correlations were a tendency to speed while driving, drinking alcohol, having many sexual partners and a high metabolic rate (they are literally hot-blooded).

Correlation between being a manager and other activities and skills

Source: Lin and Zhao (2021). 

The above chart shows correlations for all kinds of managers, but what if we restrict the sample to CEOs and directors? Well, the same traits emerge, just this time speeding while driving, having more sexual partners and a high metabolic rate are even more pronounced than other traits.

Correlation between being a CEO or director and other activities and skills

Source: Lin and Zhao (2021). 

So, the next time you meet a sex-crazed, sports car-driving, drinking, and generally ill-tempered CEO, rest assured, he cannot help himself. He was born that way…