Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

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Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

The Definition of Bully “to frighten, hurt, or threaten a small or weaker person clarifies how an individual can prey on the vulnerable or weak.

But what if an individual does not know he is being hurt or threatened?

Or, what if this scenario is happening in the workplace, to you, by a close coworker without your knowledge?  Yes, there is no recognizable threat now, but as the truth unfolds, there is a possibility that you’ll realize that the motives of some whom you have trusted are not pure.

Unfortunately, this form of workplace bullying has the potential to damage your emotional and psychological state (as you cannot face the fact that this deception has happened to you).

Bullying is not always physical or verbal abuse

Officespace

On more occasions than I care to admit, I have witnessed individuals manipulate others (sometimes unknowingly to the victim) to obtain information, to pile on excessive work (as in clever movies like “Office Space”), to rise above in the ranks, or to coast through without having to do much work. Just because bullying does not contain overt verbal or physical abuse does not mean that mental and emotional abuse is not happening as an effect of bullying.

Manifestation of the Passive aggressive mask

Passiveaggressive apple face

Passive aggressive behavior manifests as polite comments and gestures and inferior body language, although the individual can be thinking the direct opposite.  It’s all a part of a game of manipulation to allow a person to believe that they are maintaining one relationship with a co-worker or management when this fake relationship is being conquered up only for gain. Behavior’s that emulates passive aggressiveness are used to get closer, gain ground, with one’s motives going unnoticed.

Due to the non-threatening attributes of passive aggressive behavior, it can be used as a tool or weapon to deceive other co-workers.  Their demeanor and actions fail to impact with the same intensity as an aggressive physical bully, so it is often overlooked, or even questioned (with non-sustainable proof).  As a result, many do not see passive aggressive individuals as someone that can cause harm.  In fact, they never see them coming. “Passive aggressive” individual’s wear masks.

Merriam-Webster’s definition

Merriam-Webster states that passive aggressive behavior is “of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.”

It is in this nonaggressive behavior that individuals feel “safe” to state and do as they please.  In their eyes, it is not a terrible thing, because their behavior and actions are non-confrontational.

“Oh, I’m sorry, would you like to take the lead on this project Alice? (knowing that they are offering just so that Alice can offer it back to them, “thanks for offering Linda! If you will like to take the lead on this project, that is no problem, but if not, I can take it!” (Alice has hopes you will decline, she’s just too shy to admit it), “Thanks, Alice, I think I will take it!” (Just like that Alice lost out). Linda received the lead and did not have to display any aggressive behavior to get it.  Her deceptive behavior allowed Alice to offer it.

As Webster’s definitions denote, procrastination is another way a crafty individual can prey on the weak.  Management has been known to enlist the ideas of others as if they are going to use the feedback to make changes.

After receiving loads on top of loads of valuable feedback (generally from face to face feedback sessions) nothing comes of the situation.  Various employees ask about its progress just to realize that this particular manager either drags their feet or never does anything with the information at all.

Now employees are left with the sour taste that they have been lied to or used. Morale takes another hit.  Employees were transparent in hopes for the greater good, but they have gained nothing in return.  In fact, these individuals often use that information that they elicited to rise to another position.  The knowledge given to these particular managers by frontline workers allows them to sound “in touch” with the plight of the frontline employees and customers.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Have you encountered this in the workplace? If you are not sure, begin to watch those with their pleasantries after more times than not, an offense has taken place.

How can you protect yourself from such behavior?

Begin to watch the consistency of another’s actions.  Do not rely on what’s verbal cues; it is that easy. Watch their behavior.  Over and over again, it is their behavior that will tell the tale. Watching carefully for such behavior can help you avoid much corporate heartbreak that can ultimately be damaging to your psychological state or career.

Fandango MovieClips (1999). Office Space.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsLUidiYm0w

Office Space (1999). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjJCdCXFslY

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2017). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=webster+definition+of+bullying&*&spf=1

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The “Red Pill” of Cultural Change: Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI)

The “Red Pill” of Cultural Change: Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI)

Are you seeking to understand why workers and management are not on the same page? Does your manager demand that you produce more work than you believe can be completed in a day? Do you have a micromanager who is quick to point out your errors and/or lack of efficiency? How about that rowdy boisterous team, are they overly engaging and collaborative to the level that it is making you uncomfortable? Are your unique ideas unappreciated or underutilized?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are in no way alone.  For years, many have battled to understand why management “just did not get it.” No doubt, some managers have the same sentiment as their employees.

If you would like to learn more about your culture and may be ready to consider change, I recommend the “Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument” (OCAI) – OCAI-Assessment. Like the “red pill” in the 199o movie, The Matrix, the OCAI can help you find the “truth of reality” in your organization, and knowledge is the first step toward enacting change.

According to authors Cameron and Quinn (2011) people are unaware of their culture until it is challenged until they have experienced a new culture, or until it is made overt and explicit. Their research has also found that organizational culture can impact individuals in many ways including morale, commitment, productivity, physical health, and emotional well-being. The OCAI can help you determine your organization’s culture and begin the process of addressing cultural change.

Is your organization considered a “Clan, Hierarchy, Adhocracy, or Marketing” culture?

Most organizations have developed a dominant culture style. An organization rarely has only one type. Often, there is a mix of the four organizational cultures that are described in the Figure below: Clan, Advocacy, Hierarchy, or Marketing (OCAI online, 2017).

Competing Value Framework with link in picture

Clan (Collaborate) –

Clan cultures are collaborative, family oriented environments that have a significant amount of interaction between the employees and management. Management is a part of the building and mentoring process for the team (Cameron and Quinn, 2011). Loyalty, tradition, and commitment are highly regarded, leaders assume parental roles, and this warmth trickles down to its internal/external customers (Cameron and Quinn, 2011).

 Hierarchy (Control) –

In a Hierarchy culture, you have a controlled, formalized, structured environment where policies and procedures are established, and protocol and boundaries are set (Cameron and Quinn, 2011).  Implemented for uniformity and control, those who run such organizational cultures are more concerned with pushing out consistent, efficient productivity to remain a step ahead of its competitors (Cameron and Quinn, 2011).

BlogspotInternal-External FocusAdhocracy (Create) –

The Adhocracy culture values the “creativity “that employees produce and foster in the workplace. Innovation and commitment are regarded over loyalty, tradition, and family. Success is governed by the new opportunities that creativity can render, for example, new innovative products such as the iPad. Without restrictions, employees are given the freedom to create.

Market (Compete) –

The Market culture is an aggressive, competing, results-driven culture.  Leaders drive employees to increase profitability and meet company objectives (Cameron and Quinn, 2011). These organizational cultures are very intense. The bottom line is to compete for results that establish and maintain a brand amongst its competitors while also increasing the organization’s market share.

Knowing your organization’s current dominant culture, as well as what is preferred by you and your fellow employees, creates an opportunity for the organization to retain quality people, increase profitability, generate innovative products while unifying and presenting consistent and quality branding. The OCAI assessment is a wonderful tool that can identify where you and your organization’s expectations lie and it can help further the discussion on how to bridge the gap between the two.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How would you characterize the culture of your organization? Is it a Clan, Advocacy, Hierarchy, or Marketing culture?
  2. How effective is your organization’s culture? How might a different culture be more effective?

Reference:

Cameron, K.S., & Quinn, R.E. (2011). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Giritli, H., Oney-Yazici, E. Gulfer T., Emarah Acar. (2013). The interplay between leadership and organizational culture in the Turkish construction sector.  International Journal of Project Management, 31, 228-238.  Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/figure/257094681_fig1_Fig-1-The-Competing-Values-Framework-Cameron-and-Quinn-1999

OCAI – Online. (2017, January 22).  OCAI Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.ocai-online.com/about-the-Organizational-Culture-Assessment-Instrument-OCAI/OCAI-Assessment

OCAI – Online. (2017, January 22).  Organizational Culture Types. Retrieved from https://www.ocai-online.com/about-the-Organizational-Culture-Assessment-Instrument-OCAI/Organizational-Culture-Types

Useful in Parts. (2013, May 15).  5steps in considering culture and business process improvement. Retrieved from http://usefulinparts.blogspot.com/2013/05/5steps-in-considering-culture-and.html

Using baby steps to implement Cultural Change Efforts

Have you been involved in an organizational culture change, only to see your organization pick up the bad habits just as quickly as they vowed to destroy them?

In large organizations, cultural change is not something as easily undertaken as the conversation about it unveils.

Frustration faces many of us as we encounter how things are done versus how things should play out.

“Culture defines core values, assumptions, interpretations, and approaches that characterize an organization” (Cameron and Quinn, 2011, p. 35).

According to an article on OCAI’s website, Conditions-for-Successful-Organizational-Change many organization consultants are faced with the challenge of developing a cultural change model for an organization, just to see it quickly buried.  Why? Because of the hard work that revolves around getting people on the same page for one, getting them committed (for two), and three, keeping them committed.  Since we do not have control over another person’s will, this can be a daunting task. That, in a nutshell, is enough to rattle any involved in the change efforts, nerves.  Therefore before you say that you want a change in your company culture, beware that not only does it not come easy, it can come at the price, of stress and frustration.

Small Victories go a long way

One of the main things that can be adopted, according to “Diagnosing and changing organizational culture” (Cameron and Quinn, 2011), is “celebrating small” victories, no matter how small that victory may be. In fact setting certain benchmarks for those small victories can help maintain the change model instituted. Building and keeping momentum, are critical to the success of change efforts.

Employees have the opportunity to see that “yes, this cultural change can actually happen”, or “there is progress being made!”  Nothing excites an employee more than seeing that in which upper management has instituted come to pass.  Trust and reliability is established as they begin to see the change effort is not just another fad, you’re your CEO may have read about and decided to implement.  Therefore I urge you to implement celebrating small victories.  The moment doubt enters and spreads through your organization is the very moment your change efforts has just tanked.

Cameron, K.S., & Quinn, R.E. (2011). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

 

“Don’t Fall into the Capability Trap: Does your organization work harder or smarter?” -The Imperfect Org

We have reposted this upon our Google plus page recently, however the article “Don’t Fall into the Capability Trap: Does your organization work harder or smarter?” makes one think about the current state of their organization.

As one comment states: “I have been in multiple organizations that have worked harder, instead of working smarter and adjusting or even creating ways to shrink performance gaps within the organization. The organizations I have been a part of would rather layoff first, and then divide (if possible) those tasks left by departing individuals to anyone that is left, in a supervisory role. Most of the time, the supervisors are ill-equipped or ill trained to complete these tasks and then the tasks are given to an outside third party. Once that fails the organization tries to hire additional staff to bring those tasks back to individuals from outside the organization who although are well trained are now being paid less than those who were previously laid off. The refusal of these organizations to work smarter and in turn, do the exact opposite of the five principles listed in the article, is evident and not lost on employees, even to those who do not have a background in Organization Development. This lack of investment creates its a cycle of high employee turnover among the new staff because these new well-trained individuals realize that there are better opportunities elsewhere.”

When developing employees an organization must be careful to not “burnout” or overuse the highly productive employees while trying to balance organizational expectations for a team or department. As the article states the organization must invest in downtimes in all their employees so that employees are not forced to “work harder but smarter”, if this happens you have a probability of a high turnover rate occurring. Of course, no one wants that, but organizations are more likely or prone to implement this type action or process than the strategies listed in this article.

Of course, no one wants that, but organizations are more likely or prone to implement this type action or process than the strategies listed in this article. Although understanding how organizations realistically approach such issues we can use the strategies in the article, to circumvent and come up with effective solutions to these type of problems.

People resist change with John Izzo (YouTube video) -The Imperfect Org!

This is a great Youtube video with John Izzo that has a few tips regarding creating a better organization and pushing through organizational change by engaging employees. Izzo goes on about engaging employees to build better productivity and help create an employee perspective of self-responsibility for how they are accountable for their work. It does start with a short generalization then Izzo fleshes out what he talks about early in the video later on.

Here is the video called : “John Izzo: Organizational Development Expert, Author and Keynote Speaker” please click the link here:

Happy viewing and learning from the Imperfect Org!

Organization development explanation (YouTube video) -The Imperfect Org

This is a link for a Youtube.com video that will give you a detailed but long (30 minute) explanation about what Organizational Development is. The description below the video is for the text version of what is covered in the beginning of the video also this video is for those who are visual impaired.

 

If you need lots of details regarding Organizational Development for an academic reason I would recommend this video as it will give you a lot of material for writing a paper.

Here is the video called : “Organization development” please click the link here:

Why Learning & Development is connected to Organizational Development (YouTube video) -The ImperfectOrg

This is a link for a Youtube.com video by David Smith that explains how and why Learning and Development is linked to Organizational Development. The video is moderate in length 12 minutes long but it details the many things that are common in Organizational Development and how it can be integrated into training (Learning And Development).

This author has combined a various group of graphs and diagrams that assist in presenting his view why different models and systems can assist core competencies in an organization.

Here is the video called : “Learning & Development = Organizational Development” please click the link here:

Happy viewing and learning from the Imperfect Org!