Puppet Master: Possible Influence of the Parasite Toxoplasma gondii on Managers and Employees

The article reviews recent literature on the effects of host manipulation by the parasiteToxoplasma gondii (prevalent in about a third of the world’s population) on perception, cognition, and behavior of humans, and on the changes in their physical appearance and personality characteristics. I argue that the mind-affecting parasite paradigm offers many research opportunities for management sciences, especially for organizational psychology and neuroscience. The article summarizes the parasite’s physiological mechanisms of affecting the host; highlights important behavioral effects of the infection in humans; and speculates on the possible impacts on skills and careers of employees and managers, organizational dynamics, intercultural management, and gender work roles. The conclusion shows limitations of the presented speculations and possible directions for future research on Toxoplasma’s effect on organizational dynamics.

Citation: Houdek, P. (2017). Puppet Master: Possible Influence of the Parasite Toxoplasma gondii on Managers and Employees. Academy of Management Perspectives, 31(1), 63-81. doi: 10.5465/amp.2015.0163