This weekend column is brought to you by the founders of Niceties Tokens, Liz and Pete of Team Nice.
31. Office Sociology
We all know how we our personality type can be taken into account for our role within our work place. Sometimes our personalities are chosen to make the perfect team, like a manufactured boy band. But what about the subculture within the office itself? And then what about the effect on our lives?
If you worked in an office where no one said hello to each other, where no one chatted in the tearoom, even if you were the biggest extrovert in the whole wide world wouldn’t you be forced to change because:
Subconsciously, we take our cues from others, so if no one else was being nice, we wouldn’t initiate something. An example of this is bystander apathy.
Consciously – why would we want to talk to such boring miserable people anyway?
Authority figures – In the Milgram experiment – the famous social psychology experiment in which an authority figure asks the person being tested to torture someone using electric shocks – 62% of people obeyed up to 450 volts. Tenuous as it may seem, perhaps I am trying to justify why I didn’t think it was so shocking when an MD of a company I once worked for asked me to go and sit, bare-arsed, on the photocopier… I didn’t do it, but the group of work colleagues that I was with, and I, all laughed. Now I am not there, I see that that’s actually a bit gross… but at the time it seemed really funny.
Does the sub-culture of our office actually change us as people? Making us less nice, more nice, or even changing our self respect?
By Liz Akers
Last Updated 13 January 2008