Magazine article Communication World

Bang! Bang! You're Remotivated

Magazine article Communication World

Bang! Bang! You're Remotivated

Article excerpt

On these sorts of policies, a bang-up job is out of the question.

Does anyone besides me see a certain natural progression in the corporate herd mentality? Here in the U.S., companies by the thousands have flitted from Total Quality Management ("You employees need to get better at what you do") to Re-engineering ("There are too many of you employees") to Violence in the Work-Place Policies ("Hey, don't get mad about it!").

Of course, no sane person is FOR violence in the work place, so having a policy against it is a low-risk thing to do. It's an organization's way of saying, "We won't tolerate as employers what we tolerate as citizens. If our employees choose to engage in drive-by shootings, it had darn well better be after five p.m. and not involve a company car, or we will insist that they turn over their computer passwords."

I'll bet you my computer password that these policies fail. I have three reasons for that belief. First, it's hard for me to envision an angry, fully deranged person with more weapons than a terrorist being in any way deterred from a violent act simply because of a company policy. These people do not think, "It's worth the risk of a lifetime behind bars to shoot up the office, but violate a company policy in the process? No way. Handcuff me now."

Second, and maybe more important, the policies will end up encouraging that which they seek to discourage. Because work-place violence is such a serious subject to some organizations, many policies include provisions that prohibit jokes or "offensive comments" about work-place violence. The logic seems to be that work causes stress, stress leads to anger, anger causes violence, humor reduces stress, so let's outlaw humor for a safer work place. (A study by Northwest National Life showed that highly stressed workers experienced twice the rate of violence as less stressed employees.)

Does this make sense to you, or are you the deranged worker from the previous paragraph? …

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