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Copy

copy_copiaIn Copy, the player sends paper or electronic copies to a boss,a colleague, or someone else who is not in the natural information loop. Copying can provide the copier with a sense of power. It can be used to communicate that the copier has clout. It can also be done to intimidate a third person, letting her know that a copy was sent so as to apprise the receiver of a given situation. Copying anyone outside the natural information loop automatically gets everyone’s attention—it can be used for multiple purposes, including offering documentation in case something goes wrong. The key, though, is that it is a sneaky form of communication, one that’s done with ulterior motives. It creates suspicion and distrust, as everyone knows the copier has a hidden agenda.

Example: Tojiro copied four different executives in his e-mails whenever he made a decision that entailed some risk. Tojiro, a young executive with a fi nancial services fi rm, played the Copy game with an eye toward protecting himself in case any of his risky decisions didn’t pan out. Because his company’s culture was highly results oriented and political, Tojiro saw this game as nothing less than self-preservation. The Copy game was widely played at Tojiro’s company, and people seemed to think that as long as they covered themselves by copying, they wouldn’t get hurt if a decision turned out badly. This wasn’t the case—the culture was highly punitive—but people comforted themselves with the illusion that if they copied,they would be safe.

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