A Guide to Dysfunctional Management and the Evil Workplace
August 5th, 2012 by William

The Trouble with Business? People

The following post is an independent review of my book done by Jon Rutter, staff writer for the Lancaster PA Sunday News Aug 04, 2012. To see the actual review link here.

There’s a reason the corporate world described in William Bouffard’s book is larded with sociopaths, sycophants, blabbermouths and the just plain idiotic.

Corporations mirror society.

“We are by nature evil beings” motivated mostly by ego, writes Bouffard in “Puttin’ Cologne on the Rickshaw: A Guide to Dysfunctional Management and the Evil Workplace Environments They Create.”

It’s a funny but savage indictment of humanity and its vaunted money-making organizations.

Funny because of Bouffard’s blunt, strip-the-clothes-off-the-king delivery.

Savage because the author has a relentlessly dark take after 40 years of toiling for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s.

As Bouffard related by phone from his home in San Diego, Calif., he began his career as a machinist and industrial engineer and gradually ascended to “dog-eat-dog” operations management in the defense industry.

“As I grew more cynical,” he says, he started sharing top-brass anecdotes with his employees. “I had a number of people say, ‘Jeez, Bill, you should write a book about this.’ ”

Now, as a 65-year-old retiree, he has. He’s also published it himself; the 394-page paperback is available for $29.95 at Amazon.com.

The evocative title is borrowed from a witticism from a colleague and refers to any insincere attempt to make grunt work sound sweet.

Bouffard proposes no panacea in these pages, though he does call for companies to forgive mistakes more readily and encourages employees to at least “pick up on these [corporate] behaviors and find humor in them and move on.”

Nor is the book a tell-all.

Bouffard, an independent consultant –– and self-confessed former “job hopper” with 23 companies in his rearview mirror –– doesn’t name names or describe specific real-world scenarios.

“I was trying not to crucify every company,” says Bouffard, who acknowledges that some enterprises are relatively free of dysfunction, especially ones that haven’t been around long enough to institutionalize and petrify.

He dives instead into corporate psychology, citing copious sources from Plato to cartoonist Scott Adams of “Dilbert” comic strip fame.

“I reflect back on what drove my behavior every day,” Bouffard says, namely not getting blamed for somebody else’s screw-ups.

Face saving and “constant fretting” about short-term profits to the detriment of long-term survival is in a nutshell the executive mindset, he contends. Bobbing to the top are the typically extroverted, risk-taking “pyros” and “sociopaths,” perceived to be uber-achievers often as not because of the noise they generate rather than any innate talent.

(Interestingly, Bouffard brands workaholics as sociopaths because they often bully more centered workers into matching their needlessly grueling work “ethic.”)

Much of the potential of average employees, meanwhile, gets trampled by rigid corporate hierarchy.

All eyes are diverted from the real prize, effectiveness, to a bogus one, efficiency, Bouffard says. That oft-praised ideal, “teamwork is doomed because bringing together intelligent people into a group takes real work to effect.”

Bloating the vacuum are pie charts and parsings of every sort, including the much-reviled performance review.

Bouffard positively loathes performance reviews, writing that their sole purpose is to build a case against workers a company might have to ax.

But he’s not excusing all underlings and shy guys. (He considers himself an introvert who tried to empower his team but nevertheless sometimes fell into the very behaviors he criticizes.)

The typical unsung worker can accomplish much with scant oversight, he says.

Others are indeed lazy and conniving and must be managed in “command and control” mode.

But that’s human nature.

“Do people and their lunatic behaviors forge the workplace environment,” Bouffard asks in his book, “or does organizational life beget the lunatics? … The answer, of course, is both.”


23 Responses to “The Trouble with Business? People”
  1. Anonymous says

    I love the way you wrote this article. This is wonderful. I do hope you intend to write more of these types of articles. Thank you for this interesting content!

  2. Anonymous says

    I’ve been meaning to read this and just never obtained a chance. It’s an issue that I’m really interested in, I just started reading and I’m glad I did. Youre a excellent blogger, 1 of the very best that I’ve seen. This weblog absolutely has some information and facts on topic that I just wasn’t aware of. Thanks for bringing these things to light.

  3. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We grabbed a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such magnificent information being shared freely out there.

  4. Birdie Caldero says

    I discovered your blog using google. I must say I am floored by your blog. Keep up the good work.

  5. Anonymous says

    Thanks that’s a great post. I have bookmarked your blog

  6. Pamula Farrah says

    Thanks for sharing. Great info.

  7. Carmelia Pettersen says

    You got a really great web site, I observed it via yahoo….

  8. Anonymous says

    Great work! This is the type of information that is meant to be shared around the internet. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this publish higher! Thank you =)

  9. Keren Mordue says

    Glad I noticed this on google .

  10. Ana Natcher says

    Enormously educational thanks, I do believe your visitors will probably want further blog posts such as this. Maintain the excellent effort.

  11. Anonymous says

    I agree. Thanks a lot for posting this. I’ll come again to find out more and tell my neighbors about it.

  12. Merrill Ridel says

    Your place is valuable for me. Thanks!

  13. Ima Guske says

    Hello,I’d love to read more on this topic. Thank you for writing The Trouble with Business? People | PUTTIN’ COLOGNE ON THE RICKSHAW.

  14. Catherina Nevers says

    Hey there, this is actually a good article. You get my vote for The Trouble with Business? People | PUTTIN' COLOGNE ON THE RICKSHAW and I am going to bookmark your blog right now.

  15. Rosario Brunzel says

    You are sheer interesting.

  16. Anonymous says

    Great blog you have got here. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  17. Hi, I’m looking forward desperately for the next post of yours. This is a good post, indeed a great job. You must have done good research for the work, I appreciate your efforts. Looking for more updates from your side. Thanks for the FANTASTIC post! This information is really good and thanks a ton for sharing it.

  18. Mikki Laverty says

    I just love checking out your posting, you display the perfect form.

  19. Raelene Bourlier says

    I enjoy your writing form.

  20. Edison Peele says

    Extremely good web site. Thanks so much for the time in writing the posts for all of us to learn about.

  21. Anonymous says

    Its superb as your other blog posts; regards for posting.

  22. Anonymous says

    I always was interested in this subject and still am, thank you for posting.

  23. Lori Annis says

    That is very attention-grabbing, You’re an overly professional blogger. I have joined your feed and look ahead to your fantastic posts. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reload Image