Breaking Down the 3 Bosses from the Movie ‘Office Space’

Stapler from Office Space

Evaluating the bosses from ‘Office Space.’ Mmmmmm, yeah.

The American workplace has evolved since the inception of Office Space in 1999, much to the joy of workers in the professional industry. Here is an in-depth analysis of the probable management issues that come with bosses in Office Spaces. To achieve this, we will be considering situations of different Office Space bosses who have, in one way or another, failed in their responsibilities towards their employees.

The first boss on the list is Stan, who has an employee – Joanna’s Chotchkie. He is committed to having his employee occupied while delivering excellent customer service and without struggling with her personalities. However, his incompetence at providing Joanna with the necessary feedback has left his expectations hard to meet. Thus, when working as a consultant, the best form of feedback is one that is properly calibrated, specific and direct to probable consequences.

By being direct, it means that Stan is expected to share his views on how keen the Joanna is towards work. However, when he decides to express his views based on how stylish the Joanna is, there is a loophole in the expected synergy between his expectations and the employee’s view.

In the case of specificity, Joanna may ask her boss if he would like her to be more elegant, but the response of Stan only requests her to be more expressive. While enhanced aptitude is recommended, it is not an outright requirement for success. Thus, the failure of Stan to be more precise about his expected standards is enough makes this feedback inadequate, as regards specificity.

In calibrated feedbacks, Stan’s tone depicts more of a disappointment than anger. Thus, Joanna is uncertain about her chances of keeping her job by upping her aptitude, or what the implications could be if she does not.

Consequently, we can say that Stan has failed due to his hesitation to offer a direct, calibrated, and specific feedback. Most times, managers prefer to dwell on the irregularities that can easily be discussed, instead of facing the foundational problems. Apparently, Stan is not comfortable with the attitude of his employee, but by dwelling more on her elegance, he has failed to show her his reservations about her personality. In the end, Joanna will most likely lose her job.

Now let’s examine the second hypothetical situation. Here, the Office Space boss, Bill, is classic and well-grounded in passive-aggressive corporate discussions. Likewise, he has at his disposal, every material requirements a boss requires to function, although he chooses to stick to language in exercising his power like a modern-day boss.

Bill’s speeches are clear indicators of his inadequacies, thus making it easy for the consultants to pinpoint his shortcomings. Also, he couldn’t meet the 80/20 golden rule of consulting, which believes that the last 80% of analyses, work, or words adds just 20% of the value. Furthermore, the dodgy utterances of Bill are enough to establish a spirit of bitterness among his employees, instead of keeping them organized and focused.

For bosses like Bills, their words do not usually match their actions, and they deviate from the policies of their organization. Consequently, such speeches offering little or no motivation to the employees. It is important to know that real drive is only possible when motivational words are combined with real incentives.

Here is a quick look at another situation—the third on the list. How about Peter, a protagonist employee that is already acting like a boss when he doesn’t even have employees under him? For Peter, it does not matter what his eventual employees offer or how he manages them, and this ultimately makes him unfit as a boss. Bosses like Peter would most likely manipulate their subordinates emotionally into participating in programs, against their will.

And when things are not going so smoothly, Peter tends to shift the blame to his subordinates. As a boss, whether Peter-like or not, the best way to gain or lose your employees’ loyalty is whether you own up to your wrong directives or you do not.

Isn’t it ironic to learn that the idea of being an individual boss is not the best management instance when it comes to Office Space? Rather, the concept of “upward management” remains the strongest and most valuable management in Office Space.

Upward management entails how an employee can convince the boss to tailor his decision towards achieving their preferred definition of a work environment, without making it seem like it is their idea. Interestingly, you do not have to be an Office Space worker to master this positive management lesson, as evident in cases of Stan, Bill, and Peter. 

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