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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds If you are a manager and you have got any kind of power, then you can start with a strategy. If you have got a little bit less power, you can start an operation and as a new manager you can just start a personal but there is also the possibility of doing some research. So strategic level organisations have got to be looking at doing four different steps. One is radical transparency that literally you can read stuff about Google, you can read stuff about Bridgewater, it’s the idea that everybody knows what’s going on and everybody knows why people are getting promoted. Everybody has to question, everyone has to critically question ideas, everyone has to be involved in conversations.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds So its not just about somebody’s opinion, it’s about the data and how the data gets looked at and how it gets turned into strategy and if you cant do that and if you are just running through a couple of, sort of … a little power group that is deciding this is the strategy and nobody actually understands why they are doing what they are doing then you immediately start getting into the stage of why do I have to do this? If you know because everything is radically transparent the chances are that you are going to understand the purpose of your job and what you are doing, and you will feel relatively motivated to start doing it.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds So radical transparency would be the first level. The second one comes out of Amy Edmondson’s

Skip to 1 minute and 25 seconds research: psychological safety. When we train this, we say it is about not being a wimp, so W I M P. So, psychological safety comes out of a theory called impression management. So that when, and again this is sort of almost the role acting stuff I have talked about earlier in that when you are faced with an audience there is two different impressions that you will be giving off.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 seconds You are trying to give off the impression of who you are and who you want to be, but you are also trying to give the impression that the audience is expecting and very often in organisations the audience just wants you to be defferential because they are powerful guys who just go right I have already made the decisions, so you are just going to have to agree with me. So, we say that organisations don’t want WIMPs and by WIMPs we mean Weak Impression Managers and Performers, so W weak, I impression,

Skip to 2 minutes and 12 seconds manager, performer: WIMP. That basically means, and again they Amy Edmondson

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 seconds lays it out beautifully: people don’t want to be WIMPs because and they don’t want to appear ignorant, so they don’t ask questions. They don’t want to appear incompetent, so they don’t admit mistakes. They don’t want to appear intrusive, so they don’t offer ideas and they don’t want to appear negative, so they don’t question the status quo. So even as a starting point, you can just start rewarding people or encouraging people to ask questions, to admit mistakes, to offer ideas and to question how the status quo. Then you are already beginning to open up the space for different behavior and to reduce the bad behaviour.

Skip to 2 minutes and 49 seconds And this is really what we say the ironists already do - they are having to do it under the radar, but they are voicing all of these things. The third one is just flexibility. If you have to commute two hours a day every day into work you are already pissed off by the time you get there, and by the time you get home you are absolutely shattered and you have still got more work to do. You know, if someone is doing that, let them work from home every now and again, you know, once a week, twice a week.

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 seconds Not all of the time but certainly enough for them to feel like they have got a bit of a life and they don’t have to spend so much time a day doing the commute and that level of stress, because happiness goes down, motivation goes down, you get too tired, all kinds of stuff. And finally an effortless employee experience. So, make sure that the soft… the software the person needs to use, and the hardware the person needs to use works simply and safely and efficiently.

Skip to 3 minutes and 46 seconds So, a little story about a friend who I talked this through with, and he said he was in a limousine going to the airport in Jakarta, which is about a three hour drive, all wified it was all beautifully set up and he just decided to do performance reviews while on his computer. He felt they had three hours, it was a good time to do something, he wasn’t that motivated to do it but he felt he had to spend proper time doing it.

Skip to 4 minutes and 13 seconds And he found out that his laptop only had 2% power and so he wanted to do it on his iPad and then he had to download a programme and then he had to go and find a code, A password out of 20 that he had only used once previously, which he couldn’t find so in the end he ended up watching YouTube videos. So that’s three hours of time that he could have done meaningful work and effortless employee experience - it just works - that didn’t work so he gets frustrated and takes it home with him he gets to the aeroplane and he is just like I could have just done all of this.

Skip to 4 minutes and 46 seconds If that’s effortless, if it just works, then you are less likely to get stressed.

The way forward

Misbehaviour at an organisational level is much more likely to be detected by a whistle-blower than by an organisation itself and its internal audit systems.

In the audio, Dr Richard Claydon discusses ways in which organisations could reduce misbehaviour at work.

Many organisations tend to safeguard themselves from misbehaviour through their internal control systems and frameworks, focusing on a preventive approach through their policies and procedures, internal audit and other forms of monitoring.

With the developments and increased usage of technology, the risk of misbehaviour has grown, but there is a positive side to this. Organisations can move from preventive approaches to proactive forms of monitoring (eg real-time monitoring) and put in place interventions which alert the organisation (eg blocks on restricted data emails). The new forms of technology enable organisations to be better equipped to manage the risk of misbehaviour, to some extent.

Your task

Considering misbehaviour at an organisational level, you are now invited to explore strategies and tools companies can put in place to protect themselves. You could draw on your experiences and/or search online.

What do you think is the way forward for organisations in addressing and managing the growing challenge of misbehaviour at work?


Edmondson, A. () ‘Psychological Safety and Learning Behaviour in Work Teams’ Administrative Science Quarterly [online] 44 (2), 350-383. available from https://doi.org/10.2307%2F2666999 [9 October 2018]

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An Introduction to Organisational Behaviour: How to Understand Your People

Coventry University