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Media & ReviewsMediaASK magazine (NASA)

ASK magazine (NASA)

NASA_articleGames at Work: How to Recognize and Reduce Office Politics, by Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009)

Goldstein and Read analyze the all-too-common games that undermine the morale and effectiveness of organizations. "Gotcha" (identifying and communicating other people's mistakes), "Marginalize" (exiling people who don't "fit"), and "No Bad News" (suppressing negative information) are among the interpersonal games they consider. They also describe games played by leaders, including "Kill the Messenger" (blaming the person who brings you bad news) and "Token Involvement" (pretending to consult with people after you've made up your mind).

The authors know how hard it is to stop game playing once it becomes part of an organizational culture, but they offer solid advice on how to try. Recognizing which game is being played is key. That makes it possible to short-circuit the game by calling attention to it or choosing not to play the expected "role." Anyone who has spent time in organizations will be familiar with some of these games. Games at Work is a helpful guide to countering their destructive power.

Click here for the original article at nasa.gov

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Games of the Month

Token Involvement

To play Token Involvement, a manager conducts opinion surveys, focus group, or involvement meetings to communicate that "your opinion matters", but these activities are done only to make people feel involved rather than actually to involve them. The real intention is just to get rid of the complaints and for managers to show their management that they´re doing the "right" thing-involving their people in the decision-making process. The same game is played when leaders involve their direct reports supercially, soliciting their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on thei own view. Cynicism becomes employees´ultimate response to this game, and they lose respect for management. Perhaps evens worse, when management really needs employees to be committed and contribuing to a major project, they have great difficulty securing this involvement.

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Praise for Games at Work

jacopoA terrific read not only for senior leaders and executives but also for employees seeking growth in complex organizations. Goldstein and Read dissect the interpersonal dynamics that affect a company’s performance, provide a framework to understand the games that are commonly played in businesses around the world, and offer practical tools to correct these behaviors and improve the organization’s effectiveness.

Jacopo Bracco Executive Vice President DIRECTV Latin America

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