Charity begins at work

THE REPORT was devastating. The working environment at the organisation was described as “toxic”. There was widespread bullying of staff and a bunker mentality among senior management; 39% of employees developed mental or physical health issues as a result of their work. An investment bank or a technology firm in Silicon Valley? No. This was Amnesty International, a human-rights charity. Five managers have just left the organisation following the report’s findings.

Workplaces create their own hierarchies, regardless of whether the aim of the operation is to help people or make money. Two female partners at KPMG, an accountancy group, recently left out of concern at the behaviour of a male colleague. Coming from a family of teachers, Bartleby can attest that school staff rooms are beset by bitter rivalries. Universities are famous for their internecine disputes, as captured in the adage that “academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”

At Amnesty, the problem was not with staff motivation. The report, by the KonTerra group, a consultancy, makes clear that many employees regarded their job as a “vocation or life cause” that provided them with “a compelling sense of purpose and meaning”. But that commitment proved to be a double-edged sword.

First, in the eyes of workers,...



via Business Feeds

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