Welcome to the Office Tribal Council

If you take care of her, I’ll take care of you.- Rob Mariano on Survivor.

Is the workplace turning into high school, or even Survivor, with employee cliques instead of good, hard work becoming the ticket to success?

Maybe so–at least that’s how we interpret this Wall St. Journal article, which describes a company that is crowd sourcing its employee stock options–letting employees vote anonymously on who they think should get the most shares in the stock-option jackpot.

They can’t vote for themselves, but there’s nothing to stop scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours deals from forming.

But even without such blatant abuse, this system smells like a garbage dump on a hot summer afternoon.

Because we’re all human.

Who do you think will get the most votes? Assuming you have too much integrity to make a deal, who would you vote for–the quiet guy in the corner whose name you always forget (though he may be a diligent, honest worker with good ideas)?

Or the gal who always has a ready smile and an encouraging word for you?

Let’s face it, we all judge each other subjectively, mainly by how the other person makes us feel.

This system was created with the thinking that employees could be more objective judges of one others’ performance than the boss.

But in fact, they are less objective.  They are all indirectly, and sometimes directly, competing with one another. They can choose ignore this awkward aspect of reality most of the time and work together in relative harmony.

Until a system like this comes along and turns the workplace into Survivor.

At least, that’s how Domesticus sees it.

But maybe we’re old fashioned. We  have the same sort of problem with 360-degree feedback. Which was developed, by the way–We are not making this up!–by the Nazis. Really. Read the history section in Wikipedia.

What do you think? Is crowd sourcing a good way to award money to fellow employees, or does it worsen the competitive atmosphere?