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Media & ReviewsMediaSilicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal Review

Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal Review

Understanding the games office people play and how to stop them

by Jim Pawlak

August 21, 2009

Silicon_Valley_-_San_Jose_Business_Journal_article“Games at Work — How To Recognize & Reduce Office Politics” by Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read, Jossey-Bass, $24.95.

People play workplace games for two reasons: 1. They believe that win-win won’t help them climb the ladder. 2. In the hope of keeping their heads off the downsizing chopping block, they try to make themselves look better than their colleagues.

Time spent playing games like “Gotcha” (pointing out the mistakes of others) and “Blame” (you made mistakes and point the finger of failure at a scapegoat) keep you from doing what you’re paid for — your job.

Games do their damage beneath the surface, too. When a “watch your back” culture begins to thrive, collaboration, creativity, change, learning and innovation plummet. “Risk” becomes a four-letter word. Workplace gamesmanship verifies the reality of the “Dilbert” mentality.

Click here for the original article at sanjose.bizjournals.com

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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.


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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