Sunday, December 23, 2007

A scapegoat isn't as good as a solution to the problem.

I am frequently asked why I started this blog and, to date, I have generally responded by sharing my concern about the direction the District is heading. Since the departure of Dr. Robertson, conditions have gotten progressively worse.

They were so bad, in fact, that upon the District's removal of my work assignments, I couldn't just casually sit around without the distraction of productivity. I couldn't let my eyes drift to the suffering of others, or to the dismantling of organizational accomplishments.

Another significant factor, was my concern about becoming a scapegoat. Without a doubt, someone in the District (or in the State Auditor's Office) would stumble upon a string of peculiar transactions and start asking questions. While mounting a defense, certain people (okay, a single person) would redirect the responsibility for these poor choices upon former employees with the meaningful terms in their titles, like "Property Manager", "Director of Property Management", or "Planning and Property Management Specialist".

Political/sociological scapegoating
Scapegoating is often more devastating when applied to a minority group as they are inherently less able to defend themselves. A tactic often employed is to characterize an entire group of individuals according to the unethical or immoral conduct of a small number of individuals belonging to that group, also known as
guilt by association.

"Scapegoated" groups throughout history have included almost every imaginable group of people: adherents of different religions, people of different races or nations, people with different political beliefs, or people differing in behaviour from the majority. However, scapegoating may also be applied to organizations, such as governments, corporations, or various political groups.

In industrialised societies, scapegoating of traditional minority groups is increasingly frowned upon.

Mobbing is a form of sociological scapegoating which occurs in the workplace. From At The Mercy Of The Mob A summary of research on workplace mobbing by Kenneth Westhues, Prof. of Sociology University of Waterloo, published in OHS Canada, Canada's Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, Vol. 18, No. 8, December 2002, pp. 30-36.

"Scapegoating is an effective if temporary means of achieving group solidarity, when it cannot be achieved in a more constructive way. It is a turning inward, a diversion of energy away from serving nebulous external purposes toward the deliciously clear, specific goal of ruining a disliked co-worker's life. ... Mobbing can be understood as the stressor to beat all stressors. It is an impassioned, collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish, and humiliate a targeted worker. Initiated most often by a person in a position of power or influence, mobbing is a desperate urge to crush and eliminate the target. The urge travels through the workplace like a virus, infecting one person after another. The target comes to be viewed as absolutely abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities, outside the circle of acceptance and respectability, deserving only of contempt. As the campaign proceeds, a steadily larger range of hostile ploys and communications comes to be seen as legitimate."

Scapegoating in psychoanalytic theory
Psychoanalytic theory holds that unwanted thoughts and feelings can be unconsciously projected onto another who becomes a scapegoat for one's own problems. This concept can be extended to projection by groups. In this case the chosen individual, or group, becomes the scapegoat for the group's problems. In other words, blaming another person or thing, for your own problems.

If the scapegoating pattern continues into early adulthood, development towards healthy personal
identity is likely to be compromised, with strong likelihood of histrionic, compensatory narcissistic, and/or obsessive-compulsive, as well as passive-aggressive traits. Fully-criterial personality disorders are likely, leading to severe, ego-protecting "affect management behaviors" including alcoholism, drug addiction and other substance and behavioral process disorders.

Editorial: Portions in blue came from Wikipedia.


Anonymous said...

AMEN! Well written!

Anonymous said...

I can see why kids are leaving this school district look at our leader! Step down Nick for the love of god. I think you should please!

Anonymous said...

Mobbing. Exactly what occured in this case. Starting with the office manager making remarks inappropriate to her job description ("I'm SO disappointed in you!" as if her opinion of educational elements in the school was of prime importance) to Ken Limon signing a "no trespass order" 2 years later using distorted "facts" and trumped up logic (AFTER the objects of the order had been forced from their jobs by the bullying and moved to the other side of the state). Kick 'em while they're down; great example to be setting for the students of the district, Ken and Tam.

Anonymous said...

WHAT IF I, called the national NBC news & they said, we like this story. Where would I start? Please help.

Anonymous said...

I've observed the scapegoat effect for years in this district. People, the scapegoats, come and go at the whim of the district. So sad we have lost many great employees but kept the nasty, mean bosses. They are not leaders! said...

I thought the monkey riding the scapegoat was an appropriate image. It conjures up several mental images, most of which involve management as the monkey.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could respond to the person asking about contacting a news station; where are you/we with this? I have e-mailed Ken Schram @ KOMO. said...

Please email me directly. I will explain in my response.