Guilt tripping in working life

Guilt trips are a form of verbal or nonverbal communication in which a guilt inducer tries to induce guilty feelings in a target, in an effort to control their behaviour. As such, guilt trips are a clear form of psychological manipulation and coercion.

There were several interesting topics in a lecture, but we found David Graebers guilt tripping theory especially interesting. Before lecture we all watched a video about mortgages in Spain. This video was one really good example about guilt tripping and power relationships. We realised how big problem guilt tripping is and how wide its impact is on people’s behaviour and life’s. We all have our first guilt tripping experiences when we are small kids.

We were also discussing about guilt tripping in working life. Supervisor and employee relationship offers an interesting view to that. In practical working life there might be (especially in big companies) some extremely demanding supervisors. Nowadays the culture of doing business is getting more serious and you should be reached around the clock. It might be that the supervisor is a nice person, but he or she expects the employee act like others, even though it’s not what agreed in the contract. For example an employee has many tasks to do and a supervisor assigns some more (not his/her normal tasks). When they have the discussion about the tasks and individual performance at work, the solution what supervisor offers is that the employee should work outside working hours (24/7). The supervisor uses especially the argument that everyone else is working at least 6 days in a week and also every evening. After this the employee feels guilt but most importantly not motivated at all. In our group discussions we came into the conclusion that guilt tripping kills the motivation at work. Furthermore it might be also very hard to fix. In this case supervisor’s goal might be to get employees work effectively and according to equitable principles (because everyone else is working, you should be working). But the truth is that the employee’s efficiency gets even worse when he/she is not motivated.

That’s why it’s very important to recognize guilt tripping messages in working and also in other life. As we saw in video, it really can have harmful causes to people. If guilt tripping happens in working life, it can cause fatigue, exhaustion and even depression for employees. And that has of course impact also to people’s other life. So to sum; this is a subject which can be hard to recognize and identify. That’s why especially in working life people has to be aware of it.

/Group C