Thursday, June 29, 2006

Coercion in the Workplace

Here are three common forms of coercion in the workplace:

Physical Coercion. The large, menacing employee or boss uses size or physical ability as a form of intimidation. Many employees, who fear the humiliation of being intimidated more than being beaten itself, defer to this individual. These individuals thrive in unregulated areas, where supervision is nominal and where there are no other forces to counter the aggressor.

Deceptive Coercion. This approach can be used by both large and small. The idea is to gain control over the other person through the manipulation of information. The most common application is the lie. Many people view lying as a simple character flaw. They miss the extent to which it is a tool of coercion. Individuals who cannot gain power through honest persuasion or through physical coercion use deception.

Manipulative Coercion. This approach may involve deception and even physical coercion, but it can also encompass the use of charisma and favoritism as well as the withholding and granting of privileges. As in the case of all of these approaches, the manipulator may rationalize the behavior by asserting that it is necessary to accomplish the mission. The charismatic manipulator can be especially effective as emotionally dependent followers suspend independent judgment in order to maintain the approval of the manipulator. Factions on teams may withhold approval from a co-worker

It is not unusual to find teams in which there are tacit alliances between coercive personalities. For example, a physically coercive person may be allied with a manipulator and both may use deception with each other and with outsiders.

Organizational success can be seriously determined by the degree to which physical coercion is banned, deception is scorned, and manipulation - which will always be with us to some degree - is minimized.


Anonymous said...


I think that your social workplace dynamic analysis of the non-progressive workplace concerning how they tend to uphold fear and coercion is correct.

Unfortunately, I have been working for one of these companies for the past 2 years. I have began recording conversations and documenting everything in order to help protect myself from the coercive tactics this company utilizes. I am in the process of developing a larger method to deal with the scenario I find my self within while simultaneously looking for another job. I am thinking that Sun Tsu type tactics may be useful in this type of scenario, i.e. keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I guess you have to appear to be a conformist as you continue to collect incriminating evidence on the fascist players in an organization who get off on the power they feel the keep through fear and coercion.

More latter...


A brother allied against the neo-facist workplace.

Anonymous said...

I have been working for an educational corporation - I work with children as a tutor. I have been coerced into signing documentation about my work that says negative things about myself. They misconstrue everything that the teachers say. I am very careful in what I say when I teach children. I had a student who was late to the session and told her not to be late and I was written up for this. I was given a choice- to sign a report about me (coercion) or else I would have to resign. At first I didn't want to sign it, but then decided to sign it even though I felt coerced. I had to appear to be a conformist and go by the rules.

Anonymous said...

Dont sign anything if you feel coerced. If all else fails use the magic words "I'll sue you!" Never be afraid to say "try and make me"