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Games At Work: How to Recognize and Reduce Office Politics


Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read



9780470262009
Retail Price: $24.95
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Format: Hardcover, 256pp.
ISBN: 9780470262009
Publisher: Wiley
Pub. Date: April 20, 2009

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

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.



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Reviews

"A 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


"Whether you are an employee, manager, or CEO, this book will help you uncover the games that are going on around you and in your organization and will arm you with strategies to combat the negative effects of these games."
—Corey J. Seitz, vice president, global talent management, Johnson & Johnson


"This book is a good warning sign for organizational life. A road map of potholes and wrong turns. Written in a clear and down-to-earth way, its strength is its concreteness."
—Peter Block, author, Community: The Structure of Belonging


"Play or don't play, your choice. But if you need to manage and aspire to lead, you must read Goldstein and Read's helpful treatment of the games going on all around you all the time. Prepare to be entertained and disconcerted in equal measure."
—Seán Meehan, Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and Change Management, IMD


"Goldstein and Read provide an accessible and penetrating discussion of the twenty-two most common games at work and their individual and organizational causes, business costs, and remedies. Every working person who has ever been a victim or perpetrator of political games will profit from reading Games at Work."
—Harvey A. Hornstein, emeritus professor of psychology; former director of Columbia University Organizational Development Programs; and organizational consultant


 
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About the Author

Mauricio Goldstein is the founder of Pulsus Consulting Group. His passion is to catalyze organizational transformations by creating a deeper connection of people and organizations to their essence. Mauricio has applied his innovative approach to a number of Fortune 500 companies, such as AstraZeneca, Cargill, J&J, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Sodexo, and Schering-Plough, in Latin America, North America, Europe, and Africa.

Philip Read has worked in a number of senior roles in human resources for Fortune 100 companies over the last twenty-two years. He has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. Philip has won a number of awards for his work, including the PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Linkage, Inc. "Most Innovative HR Department" award as part of the leadership team of HR for Dow Chemical.



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Table of Contents

 
Foreword
Introduction
 
1LET THE GAMES BEGIN
What Games Are and How They Are Played in Organizations
2PLAYING TO LOSE
The Negative Impact of Games on Core Business Activities
3FERTILE GROUND
Why Games Are So Pervasive in Modern Corporations
4EYES WIDE SHUT
Why People Don’t Deal with Games at Work
5AN EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE
Awakening to Games
6COUNT ME OUT
Choosing Not to Play
7GAME, INTERRUPTED
Executing Your Choice
8INTERCONNECTIONS
How Games Are Linked In to an Ecology
9THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE
Toward a Games-Conscious Model of Transformation
10GAMES AT THE TOP
The Impact of Playing in the Executive Suite
11A SUSTAINABLE GOAL
Transforming Organizations in Small but Signifi cant Ways
 
Appendix: List of Games
References
Acknowledgments
About the Authors
Index



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