I have been the victim of severe neglect! No, not from the doctors at the hospital; my lobotomy worked out just fine. I mean from my teachers at business school.
I never understood why the Art of Sabotage is not taught by any business school. While studying I searched in vain for any mention of deliberate strategies to unseat your opponent, apart form the occasional doffing of the hat to the impenetrable text of Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’.
This would be like enrolling in a school of wizardry and witchcraft that didn’t teach you Defence Against The Dark Arts, indeed where they told you blithely that the ‘Dark Arts’ don’t exist, even though you as a speccy kid with a scar on your forehead shout “But the Dark Arts killed my parents!!!”
Are they scared of creating a ‘One-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’, a Saboteur Extraordinary? (This reminds me of a Frank Herbert sci-fi novelette, set in a future where bureaucracy ran so smooth a governmental Bureau of Saboteurs was required to keep things operational)
But we all know there are countless ‘Companies-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ that are at this very moment ripping the eyes out of any competitor. While kicking them in the nadgers.
On a more personal scale you may have noticed this yourself (I shall claim not to have met any such characters personally); the nefarious schemers (Weasels of Dilbert) undermining each other to get a raise. And simple economics suggest that as long as office politics are arranged as a tournament, where the best performer gets rewarded, this will continue. Because one sure way of making yourself appear the best performer, apart from doing any actual hard work, is to make your colleagues appear dumber by comparison.
Logical enough. But why don’t we see this mentioned anywhere? I guess it’s because business studies are for business managers, who haven’t any answer to the conundrum of arranging work so that everybody contributes, while getting just reward.
And we sure don’t want to endorse sabotage as a viable option.
I suppose it’s a subset of the question of morality, and whether doing the right thing can be counterproductive to an individual. As Nietzsche said, some morals were created by man to hold back superman from acheiving what he could.
Is sabotage the unspoken truth? The elephant in the room? Is it a fact of business, nay life, that goes unmentioned but hovers around in the background like the smell of last night’s kebab, permeating everything with its odour?
And more importantly, is there money to be made writing a book called the Art of Sabotage…? 😀