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christine215's avatar

When (if ever) is it ok to stage a workplace Coup d'Etat?

Asked by christine215 (3158 points ) October 7th, 2011

The first thing you think of with that term is the violent overthrow of a government, but it also has the meaning of a sudden decisive exercise in force.

A group of co-workers are united in their opinion that the person directly above them is incompetent and unethical. It is the general consensus that this person does not ‘stand up’ for the group, adds additional responsibilities to the group without regard of their ability to do handle the extra workload, has botched communications with customers, has acted unethically within the organization and also in situations which affect customers of the organization.
The laundry list of complaints is extensive and the points are valid. Somehow, this person continues to fly under the radar of upper level management.

Is it ever a good idea for the collective to bring their documentation of the ethical lapses and incompetence to upper management?

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14 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would say yes except for one thing. Upper management is going to remember your group turned on their management.

christine215's avatar

damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@christine215 Exactly. The only thing I could think of would be to have someone completely outside the group mention the person’s performance, but you’re still taking the chance it could get back to the management what was going on.

Blackberry's avatar

Revolutions make the world go ‘round~!

picante's avatar

I think caution is your friend here. The situation you describe is (sadly) more commonplace than you might imagine; but you’re going to need to navigate a political minefield if you decide to pursue this course of action.

Some questions for the group to consider:
Do we truly have our facts straight, or are we victims of mob mentality?
How die Boss obtain his/her position – does s/he have a history of competency and success that now seems to have evaporated?
What are the likely outcomes of “outing” his/her failings?
What are the likely outcomes of doing nothing?
Were we to consider raising upper management’s awareness, do we know the specific protocol to follow (is this handled through HR or through the Boss’s boss or some other)?
Are we being truthful that the Boss is the problem here – is our current “group think” contributing to an environment that is clouding the truth?

These are rhetorical questions for you to ponder (I don’t need to know the answers), and I praise you for putting asking before acting in this scenario.

Good luck!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@christine215 The corporate world sucks, but you get a steady paycheck and benefits.

marinelife's avatar

You could go to your bosses’ boss with the list of complaints as a group. You could request a meeting without the boss being present. It may or may not work. Just make sure the complaints are organized and documented.

It may or may not be effective.

zenvelo's avatar

Group rebellion will not work.

I think the case needs to be broken into two: Incompetence and ethics.

Incompetence can’t be challenged by underlings in this manner because it challenges the competence of senior management. Staff needs to be as honest as possible though in dealings with other departments, senior management, or HR, by hewing to the directions of the incompetent boss, and communicating that is what you’ve been told to do by your boss. And document every bonehead move he tells you.

Truly unethical behavior needs to be documented, and then reported as a whistle blower to HR and management. But be very careful on what you call “unethical”. Playing favorites is bad management, but it is not unethical. Unethical is something that violates company guidelines or is almost criminal, such as ignoring sexual harassment, or accepting gifts from clients or vendors. And ask your HR department about whistle blower policies, because some companies do not protect the reporting person.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s not a good idea in the workplace unless you all are protected by a union. Most workplaces HR handbooks have stuff written in there to the point of anyone involved in disrupting the normal flow of business in the place they were hired to, those people put themselves in the position for immediate dismissal. In most companies I’ve worked for, it doesn’t matter who is at fault in a dispute among employees, all who are involved in a raucous get let go. Don’t be dragged in to anybody’s cause unless your butt is covered or you can afford to lose your job over principle.

Jeruba's avatar

Is this a question about your working situation, @christine215? To me it sound like a hypothetical question posed to a class by an instructor as an essay-writing assignment.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, a damned if you do/don’t polarity there.
Poses a great argument for being self employed. I don’t have management conflicts because I AM the management. lolol

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@christine215 I have been thinking about this over the weekend. I’m guessing upper management isn’t as clueless about this person as you think. It seems that way sometimes, but I’d guess they are aware, but haven’t come up with a plan yet. I’d like to suggest a little patience on your part and don’t take any action and just do your job well. I’ve been in similar situations and jumped ship, only to see the idiots get fired after I left.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

That’s the downside to States that do not have Unions. I have always believed in them even though some were made corrupt, the over all purpose is demonstrated here in your post. If you had a union representitive working in your corner this wouldn’t be necessary.

christine215's avatar

@Jeruba The incompetent and unethical boss is mine, sadly.

I have documentation of one incident of unethical behavior. It’s in a ‘grey area’ as far as legality is concerned. (she may have had permission to change the date on a document, I don’t know for sure if she did or not and if I would inquire with the originator of the document, I’d raise a red flag to one of my customers)

Playing favorites is a part of office “politics” sometimes. I understand that to a point. When she was promoted, she named her successor to her previous position and was promptly told that if that person fails, she’d be back down in the trenches. Unfortunately, what has happened is that she has assumed so much of the responsibility for this persons’ work, that the person that is in her old position, really doesn’t know what she’s doing.
It’s not her fault, but the back end of this is that the ‘boss’ is so consumed with one persons’ work, that the rest of the group receives no support. The ‘boss’ is the point of contact person for us for other departments, so when issues arise and corrections need to be made, or IT problems need to be corrected, the ‘boss’ is notified and it ends at that.

We all have multiple e-mails unanswered to the “boss” asking to have things done. Followed by e-mails directly to the people in other departments who will get them done for us.

Not one person in our department has received a review on time since she took this position.

There is a laundry list of other complaints. I try to be objective when it comes to dealing with this person. She lied to one of my customers, handed the customer off to “her” person, then lied to me telling me that it was by my customers choice that the account went to someone else. (I only learned of this when my customer contacted me complaining about the person handing the project, and asked me how they could go about having the project management changed over from that person to me)

I have learned that I am not the only one that she’s done this to either. She has basically ‘stolen’ work from the established customers of two other people to hand over to “her” person.

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