Credit and Blame at Work

Exploring the psychological forces at play while you work.

An Overview of The Blame Game

The Blame Game in brief

The Blame Game: How the hidden rules of credit and blame determine our success and failure

I decided to write this book because as an organizational psychologist I work with companies for profit and non-profit, small and large in the US and abroad and regardless of what my specific mandate is, whether it's helping a company improve its culture, hire the right employees, and motivate people, credit and blame is a very important part of whether individuals, teams, and organizations are going to be open minded to learn or are going to shut down and reflexively blame other individuals, organizations or other factors.

It's very tempting in the short term to blame other people when things go wrong, when a failure occurs, or when a mistake is made, but unfortunately the blame game is quite dysfunctional for individuals and organizations because it shuts down or prevents learning. If your default reaction is to blame other people, it's unlikely that you are going to have a nuanced understanding of all the complex factors that determine organizational outcome. If you blame other people, while it can build your self esteem and energy in the short term, it's going to be quite costly in the long term.

Hopefully this book will help readers cultivate mindfulness about credit and blame. Each of us, because of our own family backgrounds, because of our socialization, and acculturation, have our default ways to reacting to credit and blame. Often these reactions are quite self serving when we take credit and deny blame in a quick and almost mindless fashion.

I'm hoping what people what readers get from this book is a reminder to slow down, to be mindful, to look at things from a different perspective, to be your own devil's advocate, and to argue opposing point of view. Perhaps you deserve less credit, perhaps there are ways you can take responsibility, perhaps you are fighting too hard for the credit you believe you deserve, but that other people don't believe you deserve.

So, after reading this book, I'm hoping people will reconsider how they are navigating the realms of credit and blame, so they can navigate more effectively.

For more information, here is the Blame Game's page on Facebook.

Ben Dattner, Ph.D., is a workplace consultant, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and an adjunct professor at New York University.

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