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Watch Out for the Scapegoat Syndrome

99332788_62d53bf99c_m.jpgCould the economic crunch and increasing job pressures make people more likely to blame others for their mistakes?

No question about it, writes Garry Kranz in Workforce Management: You can count on an escalation of the scapegoat syndrome.

"As economic woes mount, companies should be on guard for a dramatic rise in the scapegoat phenomenon among their workforces. Paul Harvey, an assistant professor of management at the University of New Hampshire, says people who create workplace problems are more prone to point the finger at a co-worker. An obsession "with assigning blame in our culture" actually increases during uncertain economic times as people try to absolve themselves by making someone else a scapegoat, especially if job cuts appear likely."
The management lesson? Take the blame game with a grain of salt. Don't automatically assume that one of your team members is just making excuses when he defends himself; it could be he's been set up as a scapegoat by a less-scrupulous coworker.

And if you think you're being scapegoated, stick to the facts when making your case. Explain to your boss that someone is blaming you inappropriately and present the reasons why it wasn't your responsibility, it was out of your control, or other factors contributed to the problem.

(image by mindfulness via Flickr, CC 2.0)

CC Holland

CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for and writes regularly for and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.

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