It is Halloween and time for our special edition!

Did you already notice that your boss is a little weird sometimes and often shows strange behavior which you do not understand? A possible explanation is that s/he is a serial killer (though there may be other reasons).

Let’s have a closer look at four points a serial killer and your boss have in common:


  • A serial killer: The vast majority of serial killers are “white males with middle-class background, possessing IQs in the bright normal range” (Scott, Shirley Lynn, What Makes Serial Killers Tick?). The FBI states, “serial murderers often seem normal; have families and a steady job.” (Morton, Robert J., Serial Murder, Federal Bureau of Investigation).
  • Your boss: Look around in your office. Are most of your bosses white men and seem to be normal? I know this is frightening but does not yet mean that the entire executive team of your company is composed of serial killers. Read on to gain better understanding of what is going on in your company.


  • A serial killer: often “lacks empathy, is egocentric and impulsive and often follows a distinct set of rules which he has created for himself”. He may appear to be “normal and often quite charming”, a state of adaptation that psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley called “the mask of sanity” (Morse, Stephen J., “Psychopathy – What Is Psychopathy?”).
  • Your boss: Your boss could show more empathy and control his feelings better when things do not go the way he wants, right? And rules are made for everyone after all, not only for the staff. “Leading by example” is the key word. And did you already think that your boss wears the “mask of sanity”? No? You will as of now!

Operating model:

  • A serial killer: Serial killers have established certain rituals and perfect them over time. The FBI places them into three different categories: “organized, disorganized, and mixed” (Crime Classification Manual, Vronsky 2004, p. 99-100).
  • Your boss: Does your boss sometimes show organized behavior but is disorganized on other days? Does he have strange habits which he repeats over and over again like for instance interrupting his peers or leaving paper cups in the kitchen sink? If he has one of these or any other habits, this could be an indicator that he is a serial killer.


  • A serial killer: The motives of serial killers are “generally placed into four categories: visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic and power or control. However, the motives of any given killer may display considerable overlap among these categories” (Holmes, Ronald M., Serial Murder).
  • Your boss: Does one of these four categories apply to your boss? Can he be visionary when he talks about where the company will stand in 2025, mission-oriented during negotiations with major accounts but power-driven in other situations? Now you have a likely explanation for this strange behavior. And the more I am writing, the more destabilized I get myself…


If your boss is a middle-aged white man with an average IQ who is seemingly normal but should show more concern for his followers, if he has established a set of certain rules and behavior which only he understands and if his motives change from visionary to hedonistic and back, then he could be a serial killer.

There is no guarantee.

But there is this unsettling doubt, right…?