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The Blame Game: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure Hardcover – March 15, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dattner and Dahl explore the critical issue of how credit and blame are allocated in an organization. Blaming the wrong people at the wrong time not only can lead to frustration, anger, and ultimately disengagement from the tasks at hand but also can cause individuals not to speak up and take the right action when they should, for fear of retribution. This includes allocation of credit where it is not deserved. In our current difficult, uncertain economy, collaboration and new approaches are critical for success, and the mishandling of credit and blame can devastate the workplace. This is a handbook for CEOs and other leaders as they create cultures in which the dynamics of credit and blame either dramatically enhance organizational learning or they tragically constrain it. It also aims to help the reader avoid the trap of falling into the blame game personally by successfully engaging with credit grabbers and finger pointers in the workplace. An excellent, thought-provoking book; a must read. --Mary Whaley

Review

The Blame Game is a modern management masterpiece; one of the most well-crafted business books I have ever read. It is useful, timeless, and often counter-intuitive. This compelling gem weaves together rigorous research and commonsense to show how the wisest, most humane, and most effective leaders get ahead – and enable their teams and organizations to succeed – in surprising ways.”

—Robert I. Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of Good Boss, Bad Boss

“Packed full of intriguing, all-too-familiar stories, and based on a foundation of well established theories and research, The Blame Game is an excellent resource for developing greater self awareness about the dangerous allure, and greater social awareness about the contagious effects, of blame. Ben Dattner provides us with sound practical advice about how to stop playing the blame game, and how to instead create and maintain relationships and organizations based on honesty, trust and respect.”

—Annie McKee, co-author of Primal Leadership and founder, Teleos Leadership Institute

“Blame and credit constitute a hidden economy that, if not managed properly, can undermine even the most promising organizations and derail even the most promising careers. This book is an encyclopedia of blame in the workplace that anyone, at any level of their company and at any stage of their career, can benefit from reading.”

—Keith McFarland, #1 Best Selling Author of The Breakthrough Company and Bounce.

“We’ve all suffered from the blame game, whether we are the one getting unfairly blamed, or the one yielding to the temptation to unproductively blame others. Through the lens of organizational psychology, Ben Dattner explains why blame is so prevalent in the workplace and presents so many challenges in our careers. Then he shares practical advice for how to break free from the blame game by taking appropriate responsibility for our actions, learning from our mistakes, and giving others the credit they are due.”

—Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, author of Women Who Think Too Much and The Power of Women

“Through a wealth of stories and research, The Blame Game presents a compelling case that individuals, groups and organizations can benefit greatly by focusing less on blame and more on problem solving and collaboration. Leaders at any level of any organization will find practical guidance for how they can make this shift and also lead others in a better direction."

—Pamela Meyer, author, From Workplace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing Through Dynamic Engagement

"Ben Dattner has authored a brilliant and timely book. Unfortunately, the blame game is alive and all too well in business today. In The Blame Game the author offers us insights as to how to change the game and create healthy and productive companies."

—Doug Lennick, author, Moral Intelligence

"A handbook for CEOs and other leaders...An excellent, thought-provoking book; amust read." —Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143916956X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439169568
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Ben Dattner is an organizational psychologist, and has helped a wide variety of corporate and non-profit organizations become more successful by developing a better understanding of the impact of individual psychology and group dynamics on their performance. His consulting services enable organizations to make better hiring and staffing decisions, enhance the professional capabilities of managers and employees, configure teams more effectively, and reduce the amount of interpersonal and intergroup conflict.

Ben received a BA in Psychology from Harvard College, and his MA and Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from New York University, where he was a MacCracken Fellow. His doctoral dissertation analyzed the relationship between narcissism and fairness in the workplace, and his masters thesis examined the impact of trust on negotiation. Before graduate school, Ben worked at Republic National Bank of New York for three years, first as a Management Trainee and then as Assistant to the CEO. After graduate school, Ben was Director of Human Resources at Blink.com before founding Dattner Consulting.

Ben is an Adjunct Professor at New York University where he teaches Organizational Development in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology MA Program in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and has taught Strategic Career Management in the Executive MBA Program at Stern Business School. Ben is also an Adjunct Coach at the Center for Creative Leadership. Ben is a member of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, The Society of Consulting Psychology, and the Metro New York Applied Psychology Association.

Frequently quoted in the press, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Business Week, Inc Magazine, Crain's New York Business, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, HR Magazine, and The Globe and Mail, Ben has been interviewed on CNBC and CNN En Espanol and has served as the Workplace Consultant on Morning Edition on National Public Radio.

For more information about Ben Dattner and The Blame Game:

http://www.creditandblame.com

Customer Reviews

Really well-written with an easily accessible style and lots of engaging real-world examples.
Amazon Customer
These issues of credit and blame are the topic of Ben Dattner's book, "The Blame Game, How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure".
Dan Fisher, Ph.D.
This book is very helpful for team woriking people, you can learn a lot about professional life from it.
Juan Fernando Ramirez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dan Fisher, Ph.D. on May 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Concern over who gets the credit and who get the blame is at the core of so much of our emotional angst. Chances are, if you've ever worked, you've experienced at least one of the following: your boss took credit for one of your ideas, a co-worker blamed you for something that may or may not have been your fault, you pointed a finger at someone else to deflect blame, or you sought credit that perhaps you didn't deserve.

These issues of credit and blame are the topic of Ben Dattner's book, "The Blame Game, How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure". Dattner provides an eloquent account of the impact of credit and blame in our lives, particularly as they emerge in organizational contexts.

Through a wealth of psychological research, theory, and the author's own consulting experiences as an organizational psychologist, Dr. Dattner explains the origins of credit and blame (in terms of an evolutionary perspective, family influences, and human personality), and how individuals can apply practical strategies for dealing with the blame game to organizational situations with the goal of improving overall work experiences. "The stark truth is that credit and blame matter" and "We can all benefit by learning to be more strategic about credit and blame."
In order to make the issues regarding credit and blame come alive for the reader, Dattner provides many engaging anecdotes from his own experiences as a consultant. In one memorable example, he recounts the story of two professional acrobat partners with whom he consulted who "found themselves pitted against each other" when one of them had a terrible fall during a pivotal performance when they were trying a new routine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George Bradt on March 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ben Dattner explains in "The Blame Game" that "When credit and blame are managed properly, people are willing and able to experiment, learn and grow. When credit and blame are mismanaged and unfair, people shut down, become demotivated, and focus more on covering their rears rather than moving forward."

This is an important message, illustrated with wonderful stories, and useful, practical advice in section on "Practical Approaches".
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Format: Hardcover
"The Blame Game" is an engaging, insightful, unique take on the intricate workings of organizations and society. Witty, yet relatable examples tie concepts to reality in a way easily seen by any manager or employee alike. Dr. Dattner has a clear, full view of the issue of credit and blame within organizations and offers valid, credible, effective answers to open the eyes of others. The topic begins broadly and is narrowed ever so subtly. It is remarkable how apparent the need for credit is in our daily lives and how easily overlooked this necessity can be. Dr. Dattner breaks down the theory of blame and shows how commonly it is the root of evil. From pop stars to primates, examples show the various expressions of credit and blame. "The Blame Game" is a hands down, must read, allowing you to take a step back and consider the underlying possibilities to a wrench in the system.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Melissa F. on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As college graduation approaches, I feel as though I've been taught most of the skills necessary to successfully carry out assignments in my future career, but few skills necessary to navigate the workplace and successfully work with others. "The Blame Game" closed the gap.

Utilizing popular movies and books as well as the author's impressive experience coaching in the workplace, "The Blame Game" reveals that blame and credit are at the core of most workplace issues. Some of my favorite advice stressed separating your colleagues from the problem and warned of making internal attributions about colleagues' behavior - assumptions that your colleagues are naturally frigid and aren't simply having a bad day or worn down from a stressful environment. Stepping back, taking a breath, and trying to get to the true roots of the problem will fix many headaches. The author, Ben Dattner, said it best when calling upon years of coaching within large corporations to conclude, "Successful individuals focus less on the relative apportionment of blame and instead focus on fixing things in order to reduce the overall level of blame in their lives and careers." Best of all, Dattner gives numerous places to start looking, from loosely defined roles of a collaborative project to unwillingness to accept and act upon feedback.

I am now confident I will be able to prevent my own blaming behaviors before they cause damage and identify other issues slowing me and my colleagues down. Thanks to "The Blame Game," I'll spend my work hours obtaining results, and not an impressive stack of empty Ibuprofen packets.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Powers on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting read - thought-provoking, rich with humor, insight, theory, and fascinating stories that frame a fresh understanding of how to navigate workplace credit and blame with integrity. Appropriately, the book does not blame the blamers, but instead, contextualizes the social and psychological dynamics that lead us to unfairly blame others or seek undue credit. Dattner provides practical solutions for anyone who works with others - solutions such as increasing self-awareness and fostering learning cultures. Increasing self-awareness of our emotional triggers can help us think objectively and strategically, so we do not perpetuate the cycle of blame, but instead, redirect the dynamic towards a solution. Dattner also provides examples of organizations with learning cultures - in which exploring mistakes can lead to unexpected invention and improved processes. I will refer to this book in my work with groups.
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