Is your corporation a cult?
By Paul Luke, Vancouver Province
Maybe you're worried because your workplace often gives you more love, more understanding and a stronger sense of purpose than you get at home.You should worry. Your soul may have been swallowed by a corporate cult.
Organizational cults are on the rise as employers try to boost productivity by operating as "one big, happy family," management professor and organizational expert Dave Arnott writes in Corporate Cults: The Insidious Lure of the All-Consuming Organization (Amacom, $23.95 US).
Every company carries a certain level of cultishness, he writes. But many wrap their arms around employees so passionately that workers lose their sense of identity outside work.
In corporate cults, crushingly long hours, extra days, weekend retreats and business functions choke off ties to family, church and community, Arnott says.
The top three traits Fortune calls the hallmarks of a great place to work are a sense of purpose, inspiring leadership and knockout facilities. The main characteristics of a cult: devotion, charismatic leadership, and separation from community.
"All employees will relate to some level of work-as-family," he writes. "It starts with a refrigerator in the lunchroom . . ."
Arnott prefers a "cold and contractual" workplace because it forces employees to meet their emotional needs at home and in the community.
This smart book includes a corporate cult test and tips on how to escape cults and restore balance to your life