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Games At Work: How to Recognize and Reduce Office Politics

Games At Work: How to Recognize and Reduce Office Politics

Mauricio Goldstein , Phil Read , Kevin Cashman (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-470-45883-9

Mar 2009, Jossey-Bass

256 pages

$16.99

Description

AS LONG AS PEOPLE HAVE WORKED together, they have engaged in political games. Motivated by short-term gains—promotions, funding for a project, budget increases, status with the boss—people misuse their time and energy. Today, when many organizations are fighting for their lives and scarce resources there is increased stress and anxiety, and employees are engaging in games more intensely than ever before.

Organizational experts Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read argue that office games—those manipulative behaviors that distract employees from achieving their mission—are both conscious and unconscious. They can and should be effectively minimized. In Games at Work, the authors offer tools to diagnose the most common games that people play and outline a three-step process to effectively deal with them. Some of the games they explore include:

  • GOTCHA: identifying and communicating others' mistakes in an effort to win points from higher-ups
  • GOSSIP: engaging in the classic rumor mill to gain political advantage
  • SANDBAGGING: purposely low-balling sales forecasts as a negotiating ploy
  • GRAY ZONE: deliberately fostering ambiguity or lack of clarity about who should do what to avoid accountability

Filled with real-world, entertaining examples of games in action, Games at Work is an invaluable resource for managers and all professionals who want to substitute straight talk for games in their organizations and boost productivity, commitment, innovation, and—ultimately—the bottom line.

Foreword ix
Kevin Cashman

Introduction 1

1 LET THE GAMES BEGIN

What Games Are and How They Are Played in Organizations 11

2 PLAYING TO LOSE

The Negative Impact of Games on Core Business Activities 46

3 FERTILE GROUND

Why Games Are So Pervasive in Modern Corporations 65

4 EYES WIDE SHUT

Why People Don’t Deal with Games at Work 83

5 AN EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE

Awakening to Games 95

6 COUNT ME OUT

Choosing Not to Play 108

7 GAME, INTERRUPTED

Executing Your Choice 125

8 INTERCONNECTIONS

How Games Are Linked In to an Ecology 147

9 THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE

Toward a Games-Conscious Model of Transformation 164

10 GAMES AT THE TOP

The Impact of Playing in the Executive Suite 179

11 A SUSTAINABLE GOAL

Transforming Organizations in Small but Significant Ways 198

Appendix: List of Games 206

References 224

Acknowledgments 226

About the Authors 228

Index 230

"There's nothing funny about mind games in the workplace, say the authors of this sober-minded guide to understanding underhanded office maneuvers. Simply waking up to games people play and rejecting them is a big part of the battle for executives, say the authors."
—Andrea Sachs, TIME magazine, April 30, 2009