Who doesn't love to hate a mean boss? They've been great fodder for TV, stage, films and cartoons. They're not always so much fun in real life, though.
Researchers are looking into what makes a bad boss tick, and what they are finding isn't always pretty.
Industrial organizational psychologist Paul Babiak said about 4 percent of the 203 executives he studied were diagnosable psychopaths, compared to about 1 percent of the broader population. A person is considered a psychopath if they score very high on an evaluation that looks at four factors and finds that they are particularly manipulative, without remorse or empathy, live a deviant lifestyle and are antisocial.
(Read more: Sometimes, the boss really is a psycho.)
Published 26 July 2013
Hollywood über-agent Ariel Gold (played by Jeremy Piven) was great at his job, but especially mean to his gay assistant and always ready with a crass homophobic put-down.
Meryl Streep stylishly played Miranda Priestly, the officious fashion magazine editor in "The Devil Wears Prada" who had no troubles stiletto-squashing her underlings. Her line: "Please bore someone else with your... questions."
In 1980's "9 to 5," Dabney Coleman plays Franklin M. Hart, Jr., a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" who passed off his employees ideas as his own, devised ways to topple onto his secretary (played by Dolly Parton,) and kept working conditions as inconvenient as possible.
Gary Cole plays slimy, callous boss Bill Lumbergh in 1999's "Office Space," a spoof on corporate life and downsizing. Key quote: "Oh, oh, and I almost forgot. Ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too."
In the TV show "Ugly Betty," Vanessa Williams plays Wilhelmina Slater, a conniving ladder-climber at MODE magazine.
Danny DeVito made Louie DePalma a household name in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Hurling insults from within the caged-in dispatch office was DePalma's favorite managerial style. Key quote: "All dispatchers are scum."
Alec Baldwin played an abusive boss in David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," the story of wheeling and dealing in the cutthroat real-estate business. His favorite line: "A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing."
Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns of the animated hit "The Simpsons" is the evil head of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, known for being horrible and heartless in all sorts of creative ways. Defining quote: "Smithers, release the hounds."