Saturday, July 10, 2010

Powerlessness Corrupts (Harvard Business Review)

The less there is to go around, the more infighting there is over the crumbs. Comparing companies that have lost dramatically during a previous recession with those that have succeeded, I found that the losers were twice as likely as the winners to be characterized by internal rivalries and intergroup conflicts — and only half as likely to employ cross-department teams. ...

The powerless retaliate through subtle sabotage. They slow things down by failing to take action — a form of pocket veto, in which a bill is killed simply because time runs out. Negativity and low aspirations show up in behaviors psychologists call defensive pessimism, learned helplessness, and passive aggression.
I think this explains a lot, and is also yet another arrow pointing towards the need to avoid office politics. I believe there's room enough for everyone, and hope I'll keep that attitude as I rise through the ranks.
Read the full article here.

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