The 1999 comedy film “Office Space” depicts the working life of three main characters at an IT firm. The film has gained a cult following and many of the scenes and lines from the movie have become ingrained in the popular culture. The movie “Office Space” is comprised of several character types and situations that are familiar not just to workers in the field of Information Technology, but across the spectrum of the work world, especially the office environment. Several scenes will be examined here in detail and analyzed in regard to the I/O principles of motivation and leadership.
“Office Space” is a 1999 film by Mike Judge that lampoons the corporate office environment. The film’s protagonist, Peter Gibbons, is a software programmer at IT firm Initech. whose mind-numbing primary duty is to comb through untold lines of the company’s existing computer code to upgrade their software to be “Y2K” compliant. Peter is joined in his workday misery by his two friends, Michael Bolton and Samir Nagheenanajar. Bolton endures constant irritation of people asking him if he’s related to the famous singer. Samir can’t understand why people can’t pronounce his name correctly, a running joke throughout the film. Most of the film revolves around the interactions between Peter and his condescending, out-of-touch boss, Bill Luhndberg, who spends much of the film wandering the maze of cubicles with his coffee mug in hand, reiterating meaningless policy edicts. Making continual brief appearances throughout the movie is Milton Waddams, a shy, reclusive employee who was laid off some years prior to the events of the film, only nobody told him and an accounting error caused him to continue to receive a paycheck. A main source of stress for the employees of Initech is the introduction of consultants Bob Slydell and Bob Porter (“The Bobs”), who are conducting an efficiency study that (rightly) leaves many employees worried about the prospect of layoffs.
Problems at Initech
One of the first scenes of the film depicts Peter Gibbons at his desk. As Peter stares at his computer in frustration we are introduced to his boss, Bill Luhndberg, who approaches, coffee cup in hand, to smarmily scold Peter for failing to put a newly required cover sheet on a report. Peter respectfully replies that he had simply forgotten the directive, at which point the clueless Luhndberg repeats the question, asking “Did you see the memo?” Peter grows ever more frustrated when his explanations seem to have no use. Luhndberg merely repeats that the “new cover sheets” must be on the “TPS reports” and tells Peter that he’ll ensure that Peter gets another copy of the policy memo, despite the fact that Peter actually is holding the memo as he explains that he merely forgot to put the cover sheet on the report and that he would add the cover sheet since the report had not actually been sent out yet. Shortly after Luhndberg’s admonition, yet...