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Games At Work: How to Recognize and Reduce Office Politics [Kindle Edition]

Mauricio Goldstein , Phil Read , Kevin Cashman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"A terrific read not only for senior leaders and executives but also for employees seeking growth in complex organizations. Goldstein and Read dissect the interpersonal dynamics that affect a company's performance, provide a framework to understand the games that are commonly played in businesses around the world, and offer practical tools to correct these behaviors and improve the organization's effectiveness."
Jacopo Bracco, executive vice president, DIRECTV Latin America

"Whether you are an employee, manager, or CEO, this book will help you uncover the games that are going on around you and in your organization and will arm you with strategies to combat the negative effects of these games."
Corey J. Seitz, vice president, global talent management, Johnson & Johnson

"This book is a good warning sign for organizational life. A road map of potholes and wrong turns. Written in a clear and down-to-earth way, its strength is its concreteness."
Peter Block, author, Community: The Structure of Belonging

"Play or don't play, your choice. But if you need to manage and aspire to lead, you must read Goldstein and Read's helpful treatment of the games going on all around you all the time. Prepare to be entertained and disconcerted in equal measure."
Seán Meehan, Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and Change Management, IMD

"Goldstein and Read provide an accessible and penetrating discussion of the twenty-two most common games at work and their individual and organizational causes, business costs, and remedies. Every working person who has ever been a victim or perpetrator of political games will profit from reading Games at Work."
Harvey A. Hornstein, emeritus professor of psychology; former director of Columbia University Organizational Development Programs; and organizational consultant

Editorial Reviews


"There's nothing funny about mind games in the workplace, say the authors of this sober-minded guide to understanding underhanded office maneuvers. Simply waking up to games people play and rejecting them is a big part of the battle for executives, say the authors."
—Andrea Sachs, TIME magazine, April 30, 2009

From the Inside Flap

As long as people have worked together, they have engaged in political games. Motivated by short-term gains—promotions, funding for a project, budget increases, status with the boss—people misuse their time and energy. Today, when many organizations are fighting for their lives and scarce resources there is increased stress and anxiety, and employees are engaging in games more intensely than ever before.

Organizational experts Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read argue that office games—those manipulative behaviors that distract employees from achieving their mission—are both conscious and unconscious. They can and should be effectively minimized. In Games at Work, the authors offer tools to diagnose the most common games that people play and outline a three-step process to effectively deal with them. Some of the games they explore include:

  • Gotcha: identifying and communicating others' mistakes in an effort to win points from higher-ups
  • Gossip: engaging in the classic rumor mill to gain political advantage

  • Sandbagging: purposely low-balling sales forecasts as a negotiating ploy

  • Gray Zone: deliberately fostering ambiguity or lack of clarity about who should do what to avoid accountability

Filled with real-world, entertaining examples of games in action, Games at Work is an invaluable resource for managers and all professionals who want to substitute straight talk for games in their organizations and boost productivity, commitment, innovation, and—ultimately—the bottom line.

Product Details

  • File Size: 570 KB
  • Print Length: 255 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470262001
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 30, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00261OP8E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,785 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightfull and entertaining November 6, 2009
Games at Work help us to increase our awareness on games (conscious and unconscious) played within organizations. Goldstein and Read show their ability to give us insights on identifying and neutralizing these games that are so counterproductive for organizations. At the same time, give us a lot of fun reading it! Great book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind opening October 12, 2009
I wish Goldstein and Read had written "Games At Work" a few years earlier, while I was still working at a bank in New York City! After reading the book, I could recognize so many situations that, even though went "under the radar", clearly affected all of us, turning the workplace into a battlefield - and a much unnecessary one.

Besides the elucidative definition of the different situations, tricks and traps of the corporate world --and the brilliant ways that one can work around or escape them-- "Games at work" is a fun, catching read!

Mind opening for everyone.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rules for Games May 22, 2009
By Reader
There are many ways in which well-intended, hard-working people get tripped up in the workplace, and "Games" uncovers many of them. Goldstein and Read's account of the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, tricks and traps provides an eye-opening look into modern organizations.

The difficult choice for everyone, whether "to play" is presented clearly and with compelling support. Although the decision remains fundamentally challenging, the authors present a useful way to think about it.

This is a fascinating read for anyone who works in or with a large organization today.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting Away From "Gotcha" July 3, 2009
This book should have a familiar ring to anyone who has ever worked in an office. It helps you recognize the games we have named "office politics". These games, however, are much more intense and with deeper consequences than Scrabble or Monopoly. They can derail success, waste time, cause physical and emotional woes, and end up in legal battles.

The authors describe twenty-two of the most common games for all of us to see. Thus, gossip, or gotcha grandstanding come alive with details and stories of how they work at work.

While many employees say "I don't do office politics" even pretending not to see what is going on or avoiding the group at the water cooler,this book shows how we can all be caught in this daily game.

The authors offer ways to get beyond this time consuming and mostly upsetting way to be at work. I do believe they have made a useful contribution to team dynamics and are a great step in the direction of making work a more user friendly environment.

Sylvia Lafair, author "Don't Bring It to Work: Breaking the Family Patterns that Limit Success"
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new concept to improve performance in the workplace August 31, 2009
By Lily
I have had a good time reading Games at work and it definitely makes me re-think how to improve communication! Mixing theory, reality based examples and practical methodology, Games at work is a tool for who wants to reduce office politics and more genuinely, for who wants to work better in an healthier environment.
I particularly enjoyed the way it links the Games, mapping them, detecting the "Games DNA" and preparing the action plan to dismantle these informal breaks for the company.
With their research, Goldstein and Read have developed a new concept. I really like the idea of their website [...] it gives more info and continues the reflection beyond the book through the discussion.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Organizational Dynamics October 12, 2009
Games at work is a very good surprise.
At this moment, when we've looked for new models and ways to understand and copy with organzaitional life, I read this book with pleasure and excitment
It's a very good "map" to identify our unconsciouness and invisible dynamics that make us feel weak. People and organizations. The authors have created a comprehensive tour of the forces that suround our life in organizations
As we live in a time of big transformations, is necessary to think about and to find creative forms to build new dynamics that helps us to bring back our basic humanity.
This is another essencal building block to understand human behavior
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Games at work can change your life - personally and organizationally." When Kevin Cashman, from Korn/Ferry, picked up these words to begin his foreword, I thought it was a little overestimated. When I started reading the book, I've changed my mind: he and also the authors are right!

As I came into the games description and their interconnections in a complex Ecology, I could remember many situations I've lived along my career as a communication executive. The difference is that in the past everybody plays games, but the games seemed to work. Nowadays, where change is not a circumstance any more, but a condition, and talent people don't stay in a company which they don't really believe in and identify with, any question regarded to organizational culture can strongly impact internal environment and business results and certainly must have the attention from leaders.

Goldstein and Read give us a simple and comprehensive language for all those political games practiced at work - any work, any company, any place. By doing that, naming what it hadn't any name yet, they also give us the opportunity to bring the games to the consciousness - and that is the first and maybe the most important step for changing.

As I 've been working as a business and human development consultant, the book helps me to help people to identify the games and to make a new choice, a choice of not playing them anymore.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and validating
I found the book helpful to validate and deal with situations. Really tells how unproductive games are affecting the workplace.
Published 8 months ago by Judy Zeller
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
It helped me out at work by, allowing me to see the games for what they are. Personally, I stay clear of the games playing by avoiding the culprits that have turned it into a... Read more
Published 11 months ago by CMShopper
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for an eye opening look at organizatonal games
Having a Batchler's Degree in Organizational Development and having experienced may of the games described personally, I must say this was a fascinating read for me. Read more
Published 18 months ago by David A. Waters
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is itself a "game".
I was very disappointed in this supposedly marvelous book. All the brilliant insights turned out to be just very ordinary stuff that happens everyday. I see them working though. Read more
Published 19 months ago by john brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary book in society today
this came very quickly and there were no issues. I have read portions and keep it at work so I can continue to look up specific behaviors.
Published 21 months ago by Leann Gilbreath
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough
While some reviews thought this book was repetitive, I liked that it discussed a topic and then gave an example. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Robin Macknicki
4.0 out of 5 stars Good...
Good articulation and summary of the various games played at companies. Would recommend... could be a bit more concise for 5 stars.
Published 22 months ago by MLL
5.0 out of 5 stars The best "eye-opener" book I have ever read
Absolutely fantastic book!

We all know that every corporation has politics and people playing games. Read more
Published on October 16, 2009 by Amazon Customer
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