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21 Dirty Tricks at Work

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21 Dirty Tricks at Work

How to Beat the Game of Office Politics


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Protect yourself from office manipulations by learning what happens outside the boardroom and around the water cooler.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Thinking that the only thing you have to do at the office is good work is naïve. Every company has people who will stop at nothing to further their own agendas. Hiding your head in the sand (or behind your computer screen) only makes you an easy target. Instead, learn about the common dirty tricks played in offices and protect yourself from becoming a victim. To outmaneuver the manipulators, getAbstract recommends reading this clever, short introductory course on office politics. Organizational experts Mike Phipps and Colin Gautrey have done the research for you, identifying the most common and insidious dirty tricks, and outlining strategies for putting up your defenses or, when appropriate, confronting the attackers. Oftentimes, simply exposing the trick reduces its potency and sends the perpetrator scurrying back into the shadows.


Dirty Tricks

Do you dream of working in an organization that is totally devoid of office politicking, maneuvering and Machiavellian managers? Alas, such a workplace simply does not exist. Every person is vulnerable to “dirty tricks” of one kind or another. Office politics, lies and tricks cost organizations money, divert focus and energy away from business, and turn bright, enthusiastic employees into cynical, tired clock-punchers. However, if you can learn to recognize common workplace dirty tricks, you can diminish their power and deal with duplicitous behavior to gain an advantageous outcome. For a maneuver to be a dirty trick, these “conditions” must prevail:

  • The belief that honest behavior will not produce results.
  • A “player” feels it is his or her right to exploit someone else.
  • A prize is on the line or a circumstance is ripe for manipulation.
  • Information gets deliberately distorted or misdirected.
  • Selfish motives masquerade as helpfulness.
  • Self-interest trumps the interests of the organization.
  • The situation has a loser or victim, and a winner or protagonist.

If you are the victim of a dirty trick...

About the Authors

Mike Phipps and Colin Gautrey co-founded a company that helps individuals and organizations develop necessary political skills. Phipps has consulted with some of the world’s largest corporations. Gautrey is a business professional, trainer and coach.

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    A. E. 8 years ago
    Not impressed either by summary or content of the book. Hard to distinguish
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    A. A. 8 years ago
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    G. C. 9 years ago
    This is a horrible summary. It explains all the problems and gives a few platitudes that anyone using Google could find out....'be true to yourself!'...what? We're are the 21 that are promised or that resolve the problem scenarios in the summary. Truly disappointing.