Empathy is getting a lot of critical attention now, Paul Bloom from Yale has given several talks on the topic, where is tagline is: “I am against it”.. his argument is that empathy is in part sympathy, and together with the fact that we have more sympathy for those closer to us than distant, it can cause us to make bad judgements and decisions. (For example, why do we care more about one girl how has been harmed in our neighborhood, than the plight of thousands of girls fleeing their homes in Syria?)
He argues it nicely in the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/09/the-violence-of-empathy/407155/
See also a video presentation at: http://www.aspenideas.org/session/empathy-it-all-its-cracked-be
Similarly, in their research, Messrs. Galinxy, Maddux, Gilin and White showed the benefit of taking the other persons perspective, rather than empathizing with them in bargaining situations, a finding that also held true for the task of finding mutually beneficial, but hidden solutions in a bargaining situation
Why this backlash? Possibly as a reaction a previous rise of empathetic leadership, and focus on empathy; such as that presented by Simon Sinek in his 2014 book: “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t”. His impact can be surmised from the fact that his two TED talks have been seen 24 and 4 Million time respectively.
A summary of this perspective can be found at: http://www.success.com/article/why-the-empathetic-leader-is-the-best-leader
This is a post to be developed…