Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace
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Research Companion to the Dysfunctional Workplace

Management Challenges and Symptoms

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski

A work exposing and exploring the phenomena of the dysfunctional workplace is long overdue. This fascinating book does just that, uncovering the subversiveness, counter-productive behaviour and unspoken ‘issues’ that managers struggle with on a daily basis.
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Chapter 15: The Dysfunction Territoriality in Organizations

Graham Brown and Sandra L. Robinson


15 The dysfunction of territoriality in organizations Graham Brown and Sandra L. Robinson Alex was the team leader in charge of developing a new program for WARE Inc. He had worked numerous months with his team of software engineers to develop this new program. Although he knew it was common for programs to be cancelled, he was still upset to learn that the company had decided that the product he developed was not viable. Fortunately, the code he was developing could be used as the base of a new program that the company decided was more lucrative and they wanted Alex to lead that new effort. But Alex refused to turn over the code, even when the organization threatened him with a demotion. The company was faced with an awkward situation. What was going on? At first glance, it appears Alex was manipulating the politics of the situation for personal gain. Much like the machine experts identified by Pfeffer (1981), who binned the manuals to ensure they were the irreplaceable sole operators of their machines, Alex was holding onto a valuable scarce resource. Yet, clearly, this could not explain it all. The company provided lucrative incentives, and Alex was going to lead the new program regardless. Moreover, Alex faced major repercussions from his actions and he knew his behavior was negatively impacting his reputation. The company was at a loss to deal with this predicament. Alex had produced the code using company resources, in company time, and...

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