Summary of How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back My Fingerprints Are On the Knife?

And Other Meditations on Management

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How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back My Fingerprints Are On the Knife? book summary
If your organization is making you depressed, here’s how to fight back.


5 Overall

4 Applicability

5 Innovation

6 Style


Jerry B. Harvey, a professor of management science, offers a series of essays on various management topics, such as backstabbing, betrayal, deception and work environments. To make his points, he uses a kind of discursive, reflective approach that includes a mix of stories, fables, metaphors and considerations of language usage. Some might find his approach a refreshing narrative, complete with the feel of discovery you’d get from reading someone’s diary. Others may find that the essays ramble and repeat themselves. getabstract agrees more with the first line of thinking. However, we do post the cautionary note that - although Harvey raises some generally unmentioned, intriguing issues in the politics of management - he does need to be more concise. In other words, perhaps he could have used that knife in his back to trim his prose a little.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How victims play the role of co-conspirators in their own demise;
  • Why employees must feel some sort of emotional attachment to their bosses; and
  • Why the “covering your behind” mentality is so prevalent in today’s organizations.


Check Assumptions and Ask Questions
Jerry B. Harvey became aware of the need to challenge assumptions and ask questions one day when he was walking on the beach. He saw a heavy, bald-headed man in a bathing suit digging a huge hole in the sand with a plastic bucket. Nearby was a fat, male...
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About the Author

Jerry B. Harvey is a professor of management science at George Washington University. He is the author of The Abilene Paradox and Other Meditations on Management He has been a consultant for business, government, various health care services and the nonprofit sector and has published many articles concerning organizational behavior and education.

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