This is an interesting question, gmwilliams. I happen to know two people who fall in this category-one male, one female. I've had many conversations with other people about this. Most of the opinions are one worded. "Lazy," is the most popular.
The psychological components are probably as complex as anyone's psyche. There seems to be a self-esteem issue which, in my opinion, stems from being left powerless and unsupported as a child. For both sexes, there is a 'castration' of the child's power from the 'almighty' father figure. I say for both sexes because when you are dealing with the psychological aspects there is no gender specific. The emotional component is the same: the father can do all good and is always right; while the father diminishes all attempts to follow in his footsteps from son or daughter. So, instead of praise there is criticism.
There is a natural ability of a toddler to copy the father, (and mimic the mother in other aspects), in regards to being able to do things that are 'mighty'. If this is usurped at an early age the child is rendered helpless and weak. If this is not later corrected, the child grows up with the "why bother...I can never match what my father does, much less surpass his greatness," because there is a lack of confidence in the self, and a lack of trust that what they do will not be met with praise. Of course, these are all subconscious messages and therefore the child/teen/young adult/ adult will act out to validate his unworthiness-the self-fulfilling prophecy syndrome. "My dad thinks I am worthless, so I am worthless."
If the adult becomes successful and keeps a job, becomes a positive and functioning member of society, and the working force, etc,, he is defying his father's established position of who he thinks his son is. Therefore, there would be a jostling of position or power, which doesn't usually happen in those types of personalities.
No matter how aggressive a man is towards his father who puts him down, or a woman gets frustrated with her father's criticism, the 'little child' has not resolved the preposterous in-congruency of the truth-which is that a grown, mature adult does not need to live up to her father's expectations or need for recognition.
The end result, sadly, is that the person becomes an adult cripple. Even if there is a prompting towards therapy, there is little real change unless the client clearly sees this illusion of power and changes the belief within.