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Power And Politics At Play In A Company Christmas Party

1007 words - 5 pages

I will never forget the company Christmas party of 1994. My ex-husband worked for a very successful cancer treatment center; so successful, they had built a new multi-billion dollar facility that year and the five physician partners who owned it had rewarded themselves with Villas in France, ranches in Wyoming, new cars that equaled a nurse’s pay for maybe ten years, etc. Instead of having the Christmas party at their usual lavish location, it was held in the reception area of the new Cancer Center.
Every year, Christmas bonuses were given out to all the employees at this Christmas party. There were a number of employees who depended heavily on these Christmas bonuses to provide decent Christmases for their families and even the employees that made more money used the bonus to pay off their credit cards for their Christmas purchases. Even with the common knowledge of huge company profits, the display of their financial successes with the new facility, and the well know recent purchases of the partners, one of the partners had the nerve to stand up at the party and say that he hoped everyone had a wonderful time at the party – and then lowered the boom. No Christmas bonuses this year. No excuse. Just no bonuses. Needless to say, the tone of the party quickly went from one of joyous celebration to devastation and many people left soon after the announcement. It was a well know fact that a lot of the employees quietly returned the Christmas gifts they had purchased the next day and their families had meager Christmases.
Why would a group of doctors so blatantly successful do such a cruel thing to the people who actually did all the work – who helped them to make their lucrative profits? Because they can.
The story we were to read for this assignment sounded so familiar not only in this case but in so many cases I had witnessed when I was in the workforce. Not just for Christmas but for other occasions. The picnics, pool parties, charity activities where attendance was required by the employees. The business owners received all the accolades – the employees received nothing but another day away from their families, a wasted day off.
In this case of the Christmas party, politics and power plays were abundant.

1. “Although it was held after hours on the Friday before Christmas, attendance was required. “
What would have happened if some employees had refused to come? Would they have/could they have been fired for choosing to spend their time with their families? Would this not have been a means of taking back some of their own power by refusing to let a party that is not in their job description interrupt their family life? “But the person giving the command has no power over the other until she or he accepts the first person’s right to dominate (Conrad & Marshall, 2012).
Also, being forced to socialize with each other outside of work as...

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