Healthy vs. dysfunctional organizations

With some 800+ articles posted to this blog since late 2008, I’ve been periodically collecting pieces on related topics for your reading pleasure. Here are eight posts from 2011 and 2010 that address various aspects of organizational behavior:

1. What workplace bullying teaches us about the integrity of American employers (2011) — An employer’s response to psychological abuse of its workers says a lot about its core ethics.

2. Confidential settlements in employment cases: Poof, as if nothing happened (2011) — Gag clauses in settlements of employment cases often shield the worst employers from closer scrutiny.

3. How lousy organizations treat institutional history (2011) — Not all organizations treat their past alike.

4. “Strategic planning”: All too often, a time-sucking bridge to nowhere (2011) — In bad organizations, a drawn-out strategic planning process helps to justify and promote more dysfunction.

5. When bad employers retain thuggish employment lawyers (2011) — The worst employers often hire the least-wonderful employment attorneys.

6. How well does your organization respond to employee feedback and criticism? (2011) — The question says it all.

7. Do organizations suppress our empathy? (2010) — On organizational “heart quality.”

8. Is your workplace psychologically and ethically healthy? (2010) — A great list of questions that yield insights into the culture of your workplace.

4 responses

  1. Excellent list of articles! I can certainly relate to the harm that a gag clause can cause. Not only do gag clauses, in settlements, cause further harm to the victim but it puts all others at risk to experience even worse from those involved in the wrongdoing. With a gag clause, all wrongdoing never happened. Even if the employer states openly, during a mediation process, that they know the person(s) is (are) a dangerous employee(s), and a high risk to do wrongdoing again, they will still protect those involved by making the victim sign a settlement with a gag clause. This gag clause has always made me sick about my settlement; but, I had to make a decision to go with the best of 2 evils- (not fair). The environment where wrongdoing occured never changes and actually becomes worse. It just seems so unethical especially when the settlement is with a university.

  2. Or when the settlement is with a national women’s health nonprofit. I did not sign the gag order (seven pages total, if I am recalling correctly) and thus I did not receive a severance package. I may be broke now, BUT, I am able to write about it here. So there! : )

    P.S. Excellent work and list, David. I remember reading each one of the articles as they first hit cyberspace.

  3. Unfortunately, both evils I had to choose from would silence me, one being with a gag clause. I was a student. With the choices this very powerful (and corrupted) university gave me, I had to go the route that would cause the lesser destruction and a way possible to try to move forward. Neither choice allotted me a financial gain. I have PTSD as a result of all the harassment and abuse and need to try to heal and move forward. That was the most important thing for me, I want my life back:)

  4. “How well does your company respond to criticism/ feedback?” Yup, the Engagement Survey has become a trojan horse, many companies gather the data, then sit on it until the next survey.

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