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Shaming, Threats, Ingratiation and Promises: Contentious Tactics in the Workplace

Shaming, Threats, Ingratiation and Promises: Contentious Tactics in the Workplace

It was at the tail end of another long, hard day in the office when I received an unexpected call from head office in South Korea.I picked up the phone and heard an angry male Korean voice. “I’m fed up with your sloppy work. Why can’t you get your act together! You should be ashamed of yourself!” With no prelude or explanation, the unnamed man launched into a tirade about performance, presumably mine. Before I could squeeze in a word in my defense or ask for his credentials, he hung up. It was as if I got hit by a workplace sniper attack; the perpetrator gunning down morale from across the globe and remaining incognito. I imagined him perched on the ladder of corporate hierarchy, looking down

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