Workplace Issues

Workplace Issues

Workplace Issues Jonathan Poland

Workplace issues can negatively impact employee satisfaction and organizational performance. These issues often arise from cultural and systemic problems, and can sometimes originate from upper management. They can be difficult to address and may require a comprehensive approach to resolve.

Authoritarianism is the use of artifacts from authority such as rules, processes and procedures to establish a sense of personal power over others. This can occur where an employee has no actual authority themselves.

Biases are repeated failures of logic. For example, making assumptions about someone because of identity factors such as their age.

Groupthink is an environment where people can’t speak candidly without being penalized by a group for failing to comply with a dogmatic group opinion or ideology.

Failure of imagination is the incorrect assumption that the future will resemble the past. For example, marketing myopia whereby a firm continually optimizes what has worked in the past while ignoring large scale change to their industry.

Knowledge waste is a situation where an organization produces knowledge that it doesn’t use. For example, a team or entire division devoted to creating documents that nobody actually reads or acts upon.

Tone at the top is poor behavior by upper management that encourages poor behavior at every level of a firm.

Malicious compliance is the use of an organization’s own processes, policies, procedures and projects against it. For example, a customer service representative that uses a well-intentioned security policy to antagonize customers and enjoy a sense of power.

Mediocrity is a situation where individuals do the minimum required not to be fired such that they have no concern for actual results. Such individuals may actively work against any strategy that will cause them work or inconvenience. The mediocre also fear talent, risk taking and change and may work to suppress these elements. For example, a manager who works to undermine talent on their own team for fear of competition.

Mismanagement is a failure to direct and control resources in a diligent way.

Negative selection, in the context of employment, is a situation where talented employees quit with time and low performing employees cling to their jobs. This occurs in any firm with poor working conditions as talented employees have more opportunity and therefore have less incentive to tolerate a bleak job.

Reactance is a human tendency to react against restrictions on freedom. For example, employees that become hostile to a firm due to excessive monitoring.

Trained incapacity is an inability to see beyond the way things have been done in the past.

Here are some more examples of workplace issues.

  • Absenteeism
  • Authoritarianism
  • Biases
  • Broken Processes
  • Broken Systems
  • Change Fatigue
  • Communication Failure
  • Complaining & Defeatism
  • Compliance to Laws & Regulations
  • Cronyism
  • Discrimination
  • Disorganization & Chaos
  • Emotional Responses to Criticism
  • Employee Privacy
  • Excessive Overtime
  • Failure of Imagination
  • Failure to Manage Expectations
  • Financial Mismanagement
  • Gossip
  • Groupthink
  • Harassment
  • Health Hazards
  • Hostility Between Teams / Partners
  • Hostility Towards Customers
  • Human Rights Violations
  • Hygiene Factors
  • Ideology & Politics at Work
  • Incompetence
  • Interpersonal Conflict
  • Knowledge Waste
  • Lack of Accountability
  • Lack of Civility
  • Lack of Confidence in Management
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Lack of Training
  • Lack of Transparency
  • Lack of Trust
  • Lack of Values & Principles
  • Lateness
  • Low Engagement
  • Low Performance
  • Low Productivity
  • Malicious Compliance
  • Mediocrity
  • Misinformation
  • Mismanagement
  • Negative Politics
  • Negative Selection
  • Negative Work Culture
  • Passive Aggressive Behavior
  • Poor Ethics
  • Poor Management
  • Reactance
  • Red Tape
  • Resistance to Change
  • Sabotage
  • Safety Hazards
  • Slacking
  • Tone at the Top
  • Trained Incapacity
  • Unclear Responsibilities
  • Unfair Criticism
  • Unusable Systems
  • Workplace Bullying
  • Yes People
Learn More
Bank Derivatives Jonathan Poland

Bank Derivatives

Bank derivatives are financial instruments whose value is derived from an underlying asset, index, or other financial instruments. They are…

Branding 101 Jonathan Poland

Branding 101

Branding is the process of creating a unique and recognizable identity for a product, service, or business. This identity is…

Product Risk Jonathan Poland

Product Risk

Product risk refers to the potential for negative consequences that may result from the development, production, or use of a…

Advertising Strategies Jonathan Poland

Advertising Strategies

Advertising involves paying to disseminate a message or promote a product or service to a public audience through various media…

What is a Turnaround Strategy? Jonathan Poland

What is a Turnaround Strategy?

A turnaround strategy is a business plan that is implemented when a company is facing financial difficulties or declining performance.…

Price Umbrella Jonathan Poland

Price Umbrella

A price umbrella is a pricing strategy in which a company sets a high price for a premium product or…

Overhead Costs Jonathan Poland

Overhead Costs

Overhead costs, also known as “indirect costs” or “indirect expenses,” are the costs that a company incurs in order to…

Practical Thinking Jonathan Poland

Practical Thinking

Practical thinking is a type of thinking that focuses on finding timely and reasonable solutions to problems. This type of…

What Is Management? Jonathan Poland

What Is Management?

Management is the process of overseeing and coordinating the activities of an organization in order to achieve its goals. This…

Content Database

Market Penetration Jonathan Poland

Market Penetration

Market penetration refers to the process of increasing the market share of a company’s existing products or services within a…

Market Expansion Jonathan Poland

Market Expansion

Market expansion is a growth strategy that involves offering an existing product to a new market.

Competitive Factors Jonathan Poland

Competitive Factors

Competitive factors are external forces that impact a business’s strategy. They can be identified in any competitive situation. SWOT and…

Loss Leader Jonathan Poland

Loss Leader

A loss leader is a product or service that is sold at a price below its cost in order to…

Strategic Risk Jonathan Poland

Strategic Risk

Strategy risk refers to the potential for losses resulting from the implementation of a particular strategy. All strategies carry some…

Customer Needs Jonathan Poland

Customer Needs

Customer needs are the factors that make a product or service valuable to a customer. These needs can be functional,…

Market Failure Jonathan Poland

Market Failure

Market failure is a situation in which the market does not produce optimal outcomes for society as a whole. It…

Influence Jonathan Poland


Influence is the ability to have an impact on the thoughts, behaviors, and values of an individual. It can involve…

Augmented Product Jonathan Poland

Augmented Product

An augmented product is a product that includes intangible benefits beyond the physical product itself. These intangible benefits may include…