According to an article in Business Week in which CEO's were asked what drives them they all talked about success and personal fulfillment. A few might even admit to be driven by the desire for money and power, but revenge was rarely mentioned as a motivator.
"It's one of the great undiscussables," says Kenneth Siegel, a Los Angeles psychologist and coach to senior executives. "Just as you don't talk about lust in the executive suite, you don't talk about revenge as a significant motivator for success. But it clearly is."
Ernest Fehr, a behavioural economist at the University of Zurich, studies how our brains react when "social norms" are violated, and has come to the conclusion that there is a hedonostic force behind getting even. "Put simply, revenge is biologically, scientifically sweet" says Fehr.
"There is something delicious about getting back at someone who has hurt us. Or doing well as that person looks on. Savouring the balm of revenge does not require active stabs at retribution; it can also be a by-product of success"
"We hold the illusion that if the other person is as venomous as we think, then their knowledge of our success is psychologically damaging to them" says Jeffrey Sonnonfeld, senior associate dean at Yale School of Management.............this reaction is often acute in entrepreneurs or members of family businesses, whose sense of self worth is bound to their businesses...................there are many greater or lesser circumstances that can spur people to want to get even: a high-profile firing, being passed-over for promotion or simply having an idea shot down by a co-worker."
I wonder whether it is revenge, or seeking approval?