This essay was written by me, Brandon Nolet, in the context that there are a lot of people who will step over one another in business for whatever reasons including power, money, and fame.
This one usually revolves around personally making more money rather than helping others or the organization make more money. This sometimes takes the form of clock-punch precision. That is, people punching in and out at the precise times and not doing any work more than is demanded of them.
I find this to be a selfish way to work. Perhaps it’s not backstabbing, but it’s certainly pedantic and probably proves to be less productive than not doing this.
Another form of this is clock-punch imprecision. That is, checking in at times that are greater than demanded of you without actually increasing the amount of work you do. This could be punching in a half hour after you’ve actually finished or it could even mean just entering your time worked incorrectly on your timesheet on purpose.
In this case, you’re backstabbing your employer. This is more commonly seen in environments where work is performed unsupervised such as being on call.
Backstabbing for fame can involve money, but more typically backstabbing for fame involves taking credit for something that you never did and/or that someone else actually achieved. Oftentimes this takes place in projects involving many individuals, some of which don’t care much for the fame anyway.
I think that admiration is what is actually saught after in the context of the enterprise, however fame is a result of that admiration.
The most prevalent of the backstabbing in enterprise situation involves power. More power usually comes with more money, but when it comes to backstabbing, it’s all about the power and cushy benefits that the more powerful position comes with.
So many times I see someone blame someone else for a problem when it’s actually their fault. That’s backstabbing. I see someone mouthing off about another person because they had a bad experience with said person. That’s backstabbing.
This quest for power doesn’t end once the power previously desired is achieved though. In order to continue keeping said power, you have to continue to backstab because that’s the only way you’ll stay afloat. If you didn’t deserve the position, then how do you expect pure “hard work” to suffice to keep you there?
The result of all this backstabbing makes for a very politically charged and hostile environment. You can’t say too much to the wrong person or what you said might make it to the wrong person. Your words can damage egos and be your detriment, especially when they’re words about those who backstabbed just to get in their position.
Another result of this hostile environment is the tendency to “pass the buck” or “wash your hands” of issues that are entirely in your control. There’s so much more I wish I could say, but it pertains to the enterprise I work for and I’d rather not say the right words to the wrong person. Lest there be someone from my job who reads this post ;)