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  • Writer's pictureDiksha Joshi

Workplace Manipulation



Workplace Manipulation…

Workplace manipulation is the act of controlling or directing events, people, or information in a work environment to bring about a specific result, frequently at the price of the welfare of individuals or the general well-being of the company. It can appear in many different ways and be both sneaky and overt. Workplace manipulation can have a variety of negative consequences on both individuals and the organization as a whole. Individual and organizational variables might combine to cause workplace manipulation.


1. Power and Control: Individuals who seek power and control over others may resort to workplace manipulation as a means to achieve their goals. Manipulation allows them to influence decisions, outcomes, and people's behaviors in their favor.

2. Insecurity: People who feel insecure about their abilities or positions might resort to workplace manipulation to protect themselves from perceived threats or to maintain a sense of control and security within themself.

3. Fear of Consequences: Employees may manipulate situations to avoid bad outcomes like disciplinary proceedings, negative feedback, or being assigned uninteresting work because they are fearful of suffering negative consequences. This fear of negative outcomes may motivate people to manipulate others to protect themselves and avoid circumstances that could otherwise result in failure on the job or in their personal lives.

4. Pressure to Perform: Within a workplace environment, the intangible pressure to excel due to irrational performance standards or toxic ethics that prioritize outcomes regardless of consequences can propel individuals toward workplace manipulation. In such scenarios, individuals might resort to manipulating situations as a means to achieve the mandated goals, even if it involves employing deceptive tactics or compromising ethical boundaries.

5. Cognitive Biases: Individuals are vulnerable to cognitive biases in the context of workplace manipulation, which can influence their decision-making. Manipulators might use these biases to their advantage to further their goals. Manipulators can intentionally manipulate circumstances to their advantage by making use of these innate mental inclinations, even if this requires fabricating information, influencing perceptions, or finding weak points.


Manipulation at work has negative effects that spread throughout organizations. It erodes morale, causes disagreements, and destroys trust between co-workers. Employees who are the target of manipulation go through increased stress, which affects their productivity and well-being. Additionally, manipulation encourages a negative atmosphere, hinders creativity, and restricts effective communication. Job loss a damaged reputation, and decreased overall organizational performance are some of the long-term implications, highlighting the need for quick action to mitigate manipulation's negative impacts.


Beyond Performance Matrix
Beyond Performance Matrix

How Employee Manipulation Sparks Organizational Downfall:

Employee manipulation entails deliberately affecting their beliefs or actions, potentially endangering their well-being and changing the dynamics of the workplace. Think about a circumstance where a manager purposefully conceals important information from team members to increase their dependency on their manager for guidance. This hinders employee growth, causes a power imbalance, and limits teamwork. Such manipulation restricts the achievement of both individuals and organizations by weakening trust and preventing a collaborative atmosphere. To combat manipulation, ethical leadership that promotes openness, gives employees power, and maintains a positive workplace culture is necessary.


The collapse of the once-reputable energy giant Enron Corporation as a result

of manipulating employees serves as an instructive illustration.


Leaders at Enron used coercion to get their staff to engage in unethical behaviour, which included manipulating financial records to inflate earnings and deceive stakeholders. The organization's dishonest culture resulted in a lack of openness, ethical failings, and ultimately the company's insolvency. The erosion of confidence among stakeholders, employees, and the general market was mostly caused by staff manipulation. The effects of Enron's collapse were felt throughout the business, showing the disastrous effects of staff manipulation on corporate integrity and longevity.


In addition to creating an unpleasant work atmosphere, manipulating people also prevents collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Teams that are the targets of manipulation lose motivation, which lowers engagement and productivity. Employee dissatisfaction often grows as manipulation accumulates, causing rapid turnover and a damaged reputation for the business.


Organizations must place a high priority on open communication, ethical leadership, and transparency in order to avoid such situations. Organizations can reduce the dangers of employee manipulation and guard against the potential repercussions by building a culture that values honesty and empowers workers.


Navigating Manipulators With A Smile
Navigating Manipulators With A Smile

How to put a manipulator in their place

Addressing a manipulator in a business context requires a strategic professional approach. Here is how to put a manipulator in their place while considering the dynamics of manipulating employees.

● Keep a record of every instance of employee manipulation that you notice. Keep track of relevant discussions, dates, and activities. While formally addressing the

manipulation concern within the organizational framework, the gathered data becomes crucial. In order to effectively address the problem, reinforce accountability, and promote a work environment based on openness and honesty, concrete evidence is necessary.

● Maintain your professionalism at all times, regardless of the outcome. Maintain a professional tone when interacting with tricked-out workers. Whatever the outcome of the event, give priority to establishing a positive workplace culture and cultivating open communication. Your dedication to these principles strengthens a supportive work environment, mitigates the negative impacts of manipulating employees, and promotes a more productive and cooperative environment.

● Establish your anticipations clearly, outlining the importance of respectful conduct and transparent communication when dealing with manipulating employees. Stress that adhering to these expectations is vital for nurturing a work culture that is constructive and collaborative. By articulating these standards, you cultivate an environment where manipulation is discouraged, and employees are encouraged to interact with honesty and integrity, ultimately bolstering the overall workplace atmosphere.

● Organize a confidential conversation addressing the issue of the manipulating employee. Address your concerns in a composed and unbiased manner. Employ concrete instances to demonstrate the impact of their behaviour on the work environment. By engaging in a private dialogue with the concerned authority, you provide an opportunity for open communication and offer insight into how their actions are influencing colleagues and the overall atmosphere.


In a business context, addressing manipulating employees requires a tactful approach. Begin by gathering evidence of their behaviour, and documenting instances of manipulation. Schedule a private discussion to express your concerns calmly, using specific examples to illustrate how their actions impact the workplace. Set clear expectations for respectful conduct and emphasize the value of a positive work culture. By taking these steps, you’ll know how to put a manipulator in their place and it will also empower you to counter manipulation, promoting transparency and ethical behaviour while safeguarding the organization's integrity and productivity.

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