teambuilding and leadership expert michael cardus

The workplace has the capacity to develop paranoia and/or trust. Psychologically when aroused either mechanism in people readily takes over. They magnify and distort the reality that is separate from our perception and experience. While at the same time these perceptions are reality.

Paranoiagenic Workplace

  • Extant (presently existing) structures and processes that stir deeper-lying feelings of suspicion and mistrust, and intensify selfishness, greed, destructive competiveness and bad working relationships.

Philogenic Workplace

  • Extant (presently existing) structures and processes that reinforce our deeper-lying impulses of love, trust, kinship and friendship, and release affection, creative co-operation and innovation.

– Above definitions from Elliot Jaques (1998) Requisite Organization

Which of these sounds like your workplace? Every workplace has both in various amounts and times.

Paranoiagenicprocess heavily influenced by anxiety or fear. 

  • Unequal gap between personal capability to complete great work, current work and compensation.
  • Excessive bureaucracy and top heavy management structure (too many levels within the organization)
  • Absent or non-existent relationship of managers and employees. Employees often have no clear understanding of who their manager is. Employees often lack clear understanding of what their manager is accountable for.
  • Lack of honest sharing of information.
  • Instability in what is expected for great work and the path to achieve great work.
  • Excessive “Reverse Peter Principal” abuse. Tasks delegated too low in the hierarchy; creating a scape-goat mentality of accountability.

Philogenic – process heavily influenced by trust and acceptance

  • Equal and felt fairness between personal capability to complete great work, current work and compensation.
  • Recognition is given appropriately
  • Correct distance in knowledge, responsibility, competency between manager and employee.
  • Managers are seen as competent and are held accountable for the output of employees.
  • Managers are involved in adding value and increasing the ability to make decisions and use judgment of employees.
  • Clearly defined accountabilities and structures of how work gets done, who has authority to do what, and what processes should be used for the completion of work.
  • Openness of information, and what is happening within the organization.