Some time ago, I felt impelled to introduce "Control Freaks" as a new category for this blog. Wikipedia defines this term, here, saying that the entry is only a "stub." This doesn't seem to be a very well studied area of psychology, though psychologists have noted connections with narcissism, obsessive compulsive disorder, mania (or the up part of bi-polar disorder) and borderline personality disorder.
There's a good summary of the characteristics of a narcissistic executive in an article on suite101.com (a "best-of-the-web" directory) in an article, Corporate Executives and Narcissism (NY Times, NY Press and UPI) - bulletin. Among the more salient diagnostic criteria, the article provides:
- Grandiose statements and frequent, unwarranted boasting and lying.
- Feelings of unbounded entitlement and haughty superiority.
- A consistent and energy-draining pattern of exploitation.
- Blames every mistake of his, every failure, or mishap on others, or on the world at large.
- Hypersensitive and hyper-vigilant -- picks fights, feels constantly slighted, injured and insulted.
- Cruel, lacks compassion.
- A history of battering or violent offences or behaviour coupled with serial jobs and relationships.
- Possessive, control freak, and excessive, explosive jealousy.
- Lacks respect for your personal boundaries, wishes and privacy.
- Rapid cycling -- between moods, between idealizing and devaluing you, between preferences and beliefs, etc.
A related article on the same web page shows, that these symptoms closely parallel those of pathological, or malignant, narcissism, as given in the DSM-IV. If anything, the addition of "control freak" potentially raises the level of pathology from "serious annoyance" to "serious potential threat." The article on pathological narcissism states that only about 1% of the population has this affliction, but because of their in-your-face approach to life (i.e., disregarding normal social boundaries), they tend to make themselves known widely.