Fear in organisations

Chris Corrigan has a good post about how organisations talk the talk on “embracing failure” but don’t walk the walk.

This is because few of these articles talk about some of the real politiks of organizational life. It’s not that I’m afraid to fail – it’s that I am afraid to lose my job. When there is a scarcity of political capital and credit in an organization there are multiple games that are played to turn failure into a way to screw the other guy so I don’t lose my job. Blame is deflected, responsibility is assigned elsewhere and sometimes people will take credit for taking the risk but will lie the failure at the feet of someone else.

Organisations are quite good at making explicit, emotionally intelligent sounding policies. But there is always going to be a shadow side – and that’s often where the action is.

1 thought on “Fear in organisations

  1. Jon Husband

    Yes, the threat of losing one’s job / livelihood is a consistent menace and obstacle. I believe that the phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger” has long been associated with this … he or she who dares to speak up, to point out, to ask uncomfortable questions .. often if not always faces this menace.

    Ever wonder why so many smart and creative and honest people are independent or semi-independent workers ? Long ago I used to wonder. I don’t now.

    Reply

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