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Last Updated : Jul 25, 2018 08:28 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Do your colleagues steal office supplies? Here's what could have sparked the practice

People often indulge in pilfering office supplies as it can be an outlet for expressing discontent at the workplace.

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All of us at some point of our working lives must have intentionally or unintentionally taken that pen, those sets of tissue papers, or that notebook for personal use from work. However, when employees habitually indulge in taking office supplies out of office, be it staplers or even mugs, it could be an indicator of a larger issue troubling them. (Image: Reuters)
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All of us at some point of our working lives must have intentionally or unintentionally taken that pen, those sets of tissue papers, or that notebook for personal use from work. However, when employees habitually indulge in taking office supplies out of office, be it staplers or even mugs, it could be an indicator of a larger issue troubling them. (Image: Reuters)

When people feel snubbed by their organisation over not receiving something they felt was rightfully theirs, like a more flexible work schedule, holiday, or a pay hike, they act out by stealing office supplies as a means of counterbalancing the "injustice" meted out them. This sort of behavior could be a projection of the victim's perception of the employee. (Image: Reuters)
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When people feel snubbed by their organisation over not receiving something they felt was rightfully theirs, like a more flexible work schedule, holiday, or a pay hike, they act out by stealing office supplies as a means of counterbalancing the "injustice" meted out them. This sort of behavior could be a projection of the victim's perception of the employee. (Image: Reuters)

According to report in Mint, psychologists said that such behavior is different from Kleptomania, which is an irrational impulse to steal things without the intention of profit. Often, when people are indulging in pilfering office supplies, they are wholly aware of their actions, and it can be seen as an outlet for expressing discontent at the workplace. (Image: Reuters)
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According to report in Mint, psychologists said that such behavior is different from Kleptomania, which is an irrational impulse to steal things without the intention of profit. Often, when people are indulging in pilfering office supplies, they are wholly aware of their actions, and it can be seen as an outlet for expressing discontent at the workplace. (Image: Reuters)

While trivial on the surface, stealing office supplies could indicate that the employee feels that they have been wronged by the organization and have given up on the shared values that it stands for. They take it up on themselves to breach of the social and psychological contract implicitly followed in the workspace, as revenge for the wrongs carried out against them. (Image: Reuters)
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While trivial on the surface, stealing office supplies could indicate that the employee feels that they have been wronged by the organization and have given up on the shared values that it stands for. They take it up on themselves to breach of the social and psychological contract implicitly followed in the workspace, as revenge for the wrongs carried out against them. (Image: Reuters)

The reports state that before any intervention from upper levels of management, it would be more prudent for colleagues to hear out the employee carrying out the thefts. Aside from monetary compensation, people work and stay on in organisations for a certain sense of fulfillment, and an honest dialogue will help in understanding where the person is not receiving it. If left unchecked, this behavior gets acceptability from others and ultimately, harms the trust, morale and productivity at the workplace.
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The reports state that before any intervention from upper levels of management, it would be more prudent for colleagues to hear out the employee carrying out the thefts. Aside from monetary compensation, people work and stay on in organisations for a certain sense of fulfillment, and an honest dialogue will help in understanding where the person is not receiving it. If left unchecked, this behavior gets acceptability from others and ultimately, harms the trust, morale and productivity at the workplace.

First Published on Jul 25, 2018 08:28 pm
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