Games at Work

Goldstein, Mauricio; Read, Philip
May 2010
Games At Work - Business Book Summaries;5/5/2010, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p1
Book Summary
Book summary
Every company engages in some form of game play, whether knowingly or not, yet most companies don’t understand the detriment these games can have on productivity and profitability. In Games at Work, Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read provide readers with a thorough overview of myriad games that are commonly present in organizations, as well as the kind of effects they can have on the overall workplace. Goldstein and Read define a game as “a competition between two or more people in which the object is to win.” Although this term is clearly defined in the world of sports, it can be a little more ambiguous in the workplace. It is part of human nature to play games, whether for attention, recognition and other means to personal gain, yet when these behaviors are brought into a working environment, they can have a significant impact on the efficiency of any corporation. Game play at work also has a purpose. Trying to get the boss’s attention, trying to establish authority among peers, trying to make others look bad to make oneself look better are all subtle games that people play in the corporate environment. But unless people are aware of the tactics used, it is hard to delineate this type of game play behavior. Productivity is progress, yet when people devote their energy to game playing and non work-related tasks, the impact of games becomes evident. Not only does game playing have a grave effect on productivity and overall corporate culture, it also impedes learning within an organization; affects overall morale; lowers motivation and risk-taking; and promotes fear of change. Every component of running a business is affected by game play, including strategic planning, decision making, budgeting, performance measurement and leadership. Although impossible to completely eliminate game play from any business, it is the goal of Goldstein and Read to increase awareness of organizational games using analysis and a multitude of real-world...


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