A valuable look at the insidious way bullying cultures can thrive at work, and how they can be eliminated.

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FINDING THE GOOD IN THE WORKPLACE BULLY

A debut guide focuses on eradicating on-the-job bullying and building healthier office environments.

“A lifetime of experience with bully types” led Stewart, who has a doctorate in organizational psychology, to write this book. She hopes that she can teach others to “respond professionally and with compassion and a lasting unquestionable forgiveness” to bullying behavior. It arrives at an opportune moment, as more people have come to recognize that aggressive, cruel, and manipulative behavior is a serious problem in many companies. As the author explains, workplace bullies do more than make life miserable for their direct targets. They also harm those who witness the bullying behavior and do serious damage to a company’s culture and reputation. Stewart’s goal isn’t to provide victims with techniques to cope with their difficulties. Rather, she looks at organizational factors that can create a bullying atmosphere, then suggests ways leaders can change that situation and create a healthy work environment. The key is not seeing the individual bully as the source of the predicament, because he or she is “only using skills and talents inappropriately.” In fact, many bullies are inadvertently created by companies because of policies that reward toxic behavior. While the knee-jerk solution to a crisis might be to fire the bully, that won’t actually solve the problem, since new antagonists will likely arise. Instead, the author offers practical, helpful tools leaders can use to assess workplace culture, identify “bully triads” (bully-victim-bystander), and create an office environment focused on wellness. While this is a fresh look at a timely topic, Stewart’s work does have its weak spots. No clear definition of bullying is ever provided (though a few real-life stories are included near the manual’s end), leaving readers on their own to differentiate between bullying behavior and a generally noxious work milieu. And the book, which grew out of the author’s doctoral studies, sometimes reads like an academic paper, potentially making it less accessible and engaging to the readers who would most benefit from her worthwhile insights.

A valuable look at the insidious way bullying cultures can thrive at work, and how they can be eliminated.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5434-5440-6

Page Count: 108

Publisher: XlibrisUS

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2018

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

REIMAGINING CAPITALISM IN A WORLD ON FIRE

A well-constructed critique of an economic system that, by the author’s account, is a driver of the world’s destruction.

Harvard Business School professor Henderson vigorously questions the bromide that “management’s only duty is to maximize shareholder value,” a notion advanced by Milton Friedman and accepted uncritically in business schools ever since. By that logic, writes the author, there is no reason why corporations should not fish out the oceans, raise drug prices, militate against public education (since it costs tax money), and otherwise behave ruinously and anti-socially. Many do, even though an alternative theory of business organization argues that corporations and society should enjoy a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit, which includes corporate investment in what economists call public goods. Given that the history of humankind is “the story of our increasing ability to cooperate at larger and larger scales,” one would hope that in the face of environmental degradation and other threats, we might adopt the symbiotic model rather than the winner-take-all one. Problems abound, of course, including that of the “free rider,” the corporation that takes the benefits from collaborative agreements but does none of the work. Henderson examines case studies such as a large food company that emphasized environmentally responsible production and in turn built “purpose-led, sustainable living brands” and otherwise led the way in increasing shareholder value by reducing risk while building demand. The author argues that the “short-termism” that dominates corporate thinking needs to be adjusted to a longer view even though the larger problem might be better characterized as “failure of information.” Henderson closes with a set of prescriptions for bringing a more equitable economics to the personal level, one that, among other things, asks us to step outside routine—eat less meat, drive less—and become active in forcing corporations (and politicians) to be better citizens.

A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-3015-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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