Succession's Roy siblings could easily get along – here's how

How Succession’s squabbling siblings could easily get along: Harvard psychologist reveals the four key mistakes the Roys make – from motivating through fear to offering insincere apologies

  • Psychologist Fancesca Gino claims the Roys could save themselves a lot of pain
  • Dishing out fake apologies and truth-dodging were among key mistakes made
  • She also added that a lack of trust is a root problem for the dysfunctional family  

A Harvard psychologist has revealed four key mistakes keeping the Roy family in a ‘vicious cycle’ of mistrust, following the release of Succession’s latest season.

For five years, viewers have been hooked on the mega-rich yet completely miserable Roy family and their media empire in the hit HBO series.

But amid the bickering and the truth-dodging, one expert claims that the Roys could save themselves a lot of heartache if they just followed a few simple rules.

Offering insincere apologies and taking a fear-based management style were among the major no-nos to be avoided, Francesca Gino wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

The family’s patriarch, Roy Logan, was pointed to as a big culprit of these, having dished out fake apologies to a number of his children. 

A Harvard psychologist has revealed four key mistakes keeping the Roy family in a ‘vicious cycle’ of mistrust’ 


A pivotal moment of the season is used to evidence this, when Logan seeks the support of Roman, Shiv and Kendall in a new business deal.

To get them onboard, he apologises for having behaved poorly in the past adding: ‘Look, I don’t do apologies. But, if it means so much to you, sorry.’ 

If Logan had been more sincere, Ms Gino claims that any lingering anger or resentment between family members could have been easily nipped in the bud.  

The empathy and forgiveness shown would prevent any other problems from festering as a result.    

She said: ‘Despite these benefits, we often avoid apologizing out of fear that it will make us look weak or because we don’t think it will do any good. However, a well-executed apology can improve our relationships, leaving us better off than before the mistake was made.’

Ms Gino flagged many of her concerns after watching this season’s Rehearsal episode, claiming that the family just don’t know how to have a heart-to-heart conversation. 

Failing to trust each other was another root problem, she said, as talking without honesty worsens misunderstandings within the family.

Avoiding hard truths through clever antics were also drawn attention to, with characters having used positive remarks to soften the blow of their true thoughts.

For five years, viewers have been hooked on the mega-rich but completely miserable family life of the Roys and their media empire in the hit HBO series

Ms Gino points to Kerry’s cringeworthy audition tape as an example of this, as she follows her dreams of becoming a TV presenter.

On the show, Kerry is Logan Roy’s ambitious assistant and assumed romantic partner. 

While it is quite clear that the performance was poor, characters sheepishly avoid acknowledging this before one of them eventually delivers the message.

Ms Gino continued: ‘It’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to break out of. Without trust, people may also be unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, leading to prolonged conflicts and making [resolution] harder.’

These thoughts come after MailOnline asked other psychologists to assess the dark personality traits of Logan and his children Shiv, Kendall, Roman and Connor. 

The findings suggest that Logan and Kendall are the worst of the bunch, both displaying all three in the form of greed, egotism and disregard for the feelings of others.   

Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox, is head of both the Waystar Royco media conglomerate and the Roy family.

The tycoon built his empire through cutthroat business tactics, and continues to impose these on his four children while they vie for his attention.

Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a psychology professor at UCL told MailOnline: ‘He is a master of manipulation, to the point that he can even surprise his viewers with his malicious master plans, engaging in sophisticated deception tactics and astute subliminal influence tactics.

‘This means he is highly Machiavellian, constantly scheming and plotting to accumulate power and control over everybody, including his own family.’

Ms Gino also adds that Logan uses fear as way to motivate people, pointing to a tense scene that takes place at the ATN newsroom during the Rehearsal episode.

Before making a fierce speech, he is seen to pace around the room in dark sunglasses while hovering over an employee typing up an email. 

The anxiety this communication-style induces can be detrimental to mental health, Ms Gino claims, with many characters already facing personal struggles. 

‘Fear-based leaders tend to be controlling and critical, leaving little room for employees to exercise their own judgment or creativity,’ she said.

Dr Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist and professor at California State University, says that Logan Roy’s (pictured) upbringing plays a part in his behaviour

‘This can result in decreased job satisfaction, increased stress and anxiety, and even mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders.’

Ms Gino’s thoughts come at a time when 44 per cent of British adults claim they are ‘at war’ with another family member.

Research also found that over one in every three also said they haven’t spoken to a relative in over three years due to ongoing conflict.

For the study, commissioned by online casino ICE36, 2,000 adult Brits were asked about their relationship with their family.

It revealed that over 60s, like the character of media tycoon Logan Roy, are most likely to hold a grudge.

Just over half of those polled said they will never make up with a family member they have fallen out with.

Selfishness (28 per cent), life choices (26 per cent) and relationship issues (21 per cent) were the top three most common reasons for disputes.


Logan Roy: Psychopath, narcissist and Machiavellian – Immediately withdraws attention from his children after giving it, mocks any sign of emotional vulnerability. 

Kendall Roy:  Psychopath, narcissist and Machiavellian – Fluctuates between grandiose actions and existential crisis, his struggles manifest as drug addiction.

Shiv Roy: Machiavellian – Undermines her husband to get what she wants.

Roman Roy: Narcissist – Ashamed of sexual problems so grabs at any change of impressing his father, constant cruel comments show his fragile ego.

Connor Roy: Narcissist – Runs for President of the US despite lack of political experience, satisfied with transactional relationship with younger wife.

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