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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Is Dilbert Bad For My Employees' Morale?

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Not only are you familiar with Dilbert as a member of the business world, but as a boss in the business world, you probably even think that Dilbert is sometimes funny. After all, these cartoons are not making fun of you, right? But then again, this firm self-assuredness can quickly evaporate when you start seeing Dilbert strips tacked up on cubicle walls. Sure, it seems silly to be concerned about the effect that these cartoons might have on morale, but you also probably start to think about the fact that you have, after all, read articles that talked about how Dilbert cartoons create a negative environment. And so the question becomes, are Dilbert cartoons bad for employee morale?

First off all, one must remember that humor and laughter is good for morale. Certainly, these cartoons are posted on people's walls because they induced a laugh, so this is a sign in the right direction.

But the issue, of course, is the fact that most of these laughs are induced by taking jabs at corporate culture. And when you see a cartoon tacked on an employee's cubicle wall wherein the boss is made fun of, it is difficult to keep yourself from wondering why they chose to post this particular strip. But before you jump to conclusions and ban these cartoons from the walls of cubicles, consider whether the solution is so simple. After all, it is unlikely that banning these strips would have any effect except to make employees think that you are out of touch with the way they feel.

A better form of action is to look at the strips yourself instead of ordering that they all be taken down from walls in the office. Many of these strips are funny because they poke fun at the way businesses are run; if your employees think that these strips are applicable enough to be tacked on their cubicle wall, the problem might not be with the strip itself. The problem might be with the way your company itself is run!

While this discussion might seem somewhat trivial on the surface, it is important to note that many companies actually have banned Dilbert from cubicle walls. Every boss wants to improve morale around the office, but instead of banning humor and hoping it will do anything but alienate employees, you should aim to improve employee morale by improving all the ways in which your business itself is run!

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