Codependency -Jealousy, Rage, Anger,at workplace.

Companies resemble Families

Some affected by alcoholism or other addictions are very much attuned to every nuance in the work environment. Hyper alert to change, they are guardians to real or perceived danger. They learned this as children so they could hide and not risk a beating. Many have residual effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

Startle response, nightmares, reliving the events from the past, sudden outbursts of anger(which is a cover for fear, of course) are common symptoms. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and sucessibility to somantic disorders, as well as a lack of or over-interest in sex is typical..

With the suffering economy and shifting political climate, companies are alert to anything that might have a negative impact on the bottom line. the unofficial organization comprised of cliques, shifting alliances, and story tellers keep the buzz going. these individuals may carry weight with management so that one offended may feel they have more power than is realistic. Nevertheless, they are expert at making new rumors or fanning the flames of the old to increase their perceived power.

The point is that the unofficial organization is a force to be reckoned with. How situations are handled to the company's benefit is the subject of marketing, organizational, and business classes, which shows the importance that business places on the flow of communications in a company.

There is an increasing trend for business to isolate itself from consumers. this isn't new, of course. Back in the 1800's, a fellow by the name of Frederic Tayor described organizational structure in a book titled: The Principles of Management. He used a pyramid to illustrate how, management at the top, controls all management decisions by sending orders down to floor level.

The rule is absolute. No information flows from the bottom up or from the outside This worked well for the military and companies that forcefully applied work rules to uneducated and untrained workers in repetitive jobs. Systems seem to come go, but rules that give the company a feedback policy from workers and customers as well may allow steam to escape when there are many customer and worker complaints. Of course, a company that puts customer service on the back burner will create customers for competitors. Every lost customer will take as many as sixteen other customers with him when he changes the company.

Frequently over-reaction results from poor communications and may cost the company losses in prestige or status and more directly on the bottom line. Every day companies are brought under attack because someone didn't keep up with ever changing laws and regulations. A discrimination case was won in San Francisco when the apartment building manager refused to allow a handicapped persons attendant the right to a space. The settlement? Over a million.dollars. Old prejudices and bias from the family have a way of impacting judgment.

Crazy making behavior is described by Virginia Satir, writer and family counselor, as behavior within a group that has no boundaries within a Calderon of arbitrary rules that are constantly in revision. One person has the key to the rules. Ironically, everyone in the group must scramble about to get a handle on the rules.

when a consultant is brought into a company, they have lot of latitude to root out, label, and make small to sweeping recommendations so that management is left fully in charge and understands exactly how and why certain behaviors are negatively impacting on the company.

If a family therapist came to the company as a consultant, very often the same problems seen in a family are evident. Heavy drinking and illegal drug use, sexual harassment, scapegoating, where one person, perhaps with a physical or mental flaw, is chosen by the family to hang the nasty labels on and all the blame.

There is often a clown whose purpose is to take some of the steam out of overheated situation. then there is the perfect one who constantly looks good at everything and may take on much more than is reasonably expected.

Control flows from board rooms and from the supper table. At the right hand sits the right hand man or woman to mediate between the "brute" and other members of management or family members. It happens so frequently across business and family systems it almost carries the weight of law.

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Comments 3 comments

Loni L Ice profile image

Loni L Ice 8 years ago from Lawrence, KS

Great article! If I can point out, corporate culture can't be created but it certainly can be encouraged to grow in a particular way. Corporate culture is what happens when employees find ways to interact with the corporate rules. If the rules make no sense, people with good flattering abilities rise to the top while the competent die slow cubicle deaths.

The "Dilbert" comic gets all of its humor from the difference between stated corporate culture and actual corporate culture. The sooner corporations get a handle on this and start looking at their people realistically, the better. The ability to flatter does not imply the ability to make a product launch flow well.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Every time an employer has called his workplace a family, I have involuntarily cringed and thought "abusive and dysfunctional." This is an eye-opening Hub. Thumbs up!


Deborah 6 years ago

Oooh, I love a good opinion exchange! Here is mine: In the past 20 years, I have worked at a few really big corps - MCI, Microsoft, FedEx, and AT&T. I have yet to see functionality. There are rules, but they were usually developed by those individuals who were already in good favor with upper management. It's almost like a reward "You've played the game well so now we are going to let YOU be in charge of...". In any large group of people, there is a LOT of creativity to be tapped for the benefit of the company. However, allowing everyone to come up with a solution, product idea, etc means one or two people don't get to make a name for themselves, so those ideas are generally thwarted. Undermining and political situations arise and most have NO problem at all ruining someone else's reputation for their own profitless gain. I say profitless because they didn't gain anything except attention which MAY translate to promotion, but usually not. I haven't seen that. Usually it just means they get to be recognized in front of the entire group of employees and a day off or something. NOT a cut of the profits in the company. THAT to me is the dysfunction of it, people throwing each other under the bus for....WHAT exactly? Sometimes it is unconscious, sometimes it is overt. And then the company may do things like bring in union representation (which just means you pay dues in AT&T's case cuz they are USELESS), or let everyone send an email with their "contribution" to make it seem like everyone has equal input. But here's the real test: When that new idea or new product idea, etc doesn't work, do they keep enforcing the new programs/rule/business models? If so, then they are not truly interested in change for the better. There is an illusion that there are rules, because it is hands off and let people fend for themselves until there is a problem, then someone has to be found to punish. They will be systematically culled from the herd. The thing is, you lose good people that way. That is dinosaur thinking.

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