Parallels Between Workplace Politics and the Family Dynamic

Every workplace has a standard cast of characters. They’re mirrored in sitcoms and movies and are humorous because they’re based on truth. The office jokester, the mother hen, the imposing father figure, the meddlesome middle child.  All of these personalities can be seen in just about any workplace.  Some employers have tried to tap into this dynamic as a way to better organize teams and to tackle inter-office personality conflicts.  Recently, T-Mobile commissioned an organizational psychiatrist to delve deeper into its own personality types. image

The resulting data, compiled in the T-Mobile Workplace Motivation Report, concluded that 15% of those interviewed found the “office joker” was an un-motivating influence in the workplace, while 25% said that the can-do attitude has a positive effect on morale.  The NYT recently reported that some companies have retained experts to help executives understand the role that birth order may have in their office politics.  First-borns, for example, have dominant personalities and have a more difficult time accepting directions from others.  Middle children, on the other hand, tend to be peace-makers and often compromise their own needs for the sake of keeping others satisfied.

Pardon me for saying so but, Duh!  Is this really a new insight to Corporate America?  I can’t believe it.  If you didn’t know that personality types play as big a role on the unofficial (and official) workplace hierarchy, then shame on you.  The workplace is the closest you can get to recreating the annual holiday scene, where all of the extended relatives are gathered together to drive one another totally bonkers–in a good way, of course. 

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